South Sea Vagabonds by John Wray

I am reading a great book called South Sea Vagabonds by a Kiwi called John Wray.

image of the book cover of south sea vagabonds by john wray

1977 Edition

It’s a simple tale full of ingenuity, common sense and daring do, as it tells the story of a young man who decides, (after being sacked for too much daydreaming) to make the dream a reality by building a boat.

But he is nearly broke and the boat grows from a mish mash of scrounged and found materials with a lot of help (and kegs of beer!) from his friends.

The story then simply describes their exploits as they sail around the tropical islands, not quite always staying out of trouble.

Early on in the journey, John comments;

“We learned later that throughout the South Seas there are very few clocks in evidence. No one knows what the time is. No one cares.” John Wray (1939)

Time, where does it go?

Offers anyone?

It got me thinking, what a great goal, to live without wearing a wristwatch. Eating when you are hungry, waking and going to bed when you body tells you too. Being free of work induced unnatural constraints on your natural rhythms.

Alas, I can’t see it being a goal that I can achieve any time soon with at least 4 points in my day which involve me being somewhere definite at a very specific time!

Maybe I could experiment with not wearing a watch at the weekends and see how it feels!

Who knows, maybe one day, there will be a very used and battered Oyster watch for sale on Ebay……….

Incidentally, John Wray’s South Sea Vagabonds was leant to me by another resourceful Kiwi, my friend Warren, who by strange coincidence, also doesn’t wear a watch…………lessons learnt, perhaps?

I imagine that John Wray would have got on with Warren very well indeed.

What about you? Do you watch the clock?

Stay well

About Ian

Handyman, humanitarian, inventor, blogger and finally a house husband looking after Cecilia, Julia, William near Hvalstrand in Asker, Norway.
This entry was posted in Books, inspiration, life and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to South Sea Vagabonds by John Wray

  1. Ian says:

    Yes, I always keep a keen eye out for the setting sun!
    Thanks for stopping by Mark!

  2. Mark Jonas says:

    I have just finished “South Sea Vagabonds” – great read – but when googling to find out more about the author, I came across this – interesting talk about watches!

    I myself have not worn a watch for a good ten years and enjoy it immensely! To clarify this, I am in essence a programmer – so the time is always in the bottom right hand corner, and there are a variety of software methods to remind one of meetings etc, so during the week I mostly know the time. At the weekends – who cares about time. Sure, you miss the odd event, but young children normally keep you in check for mealtimes. And when out sailing – tide is more important than time – so you can see it! and lastly – for pub opening hours – there’s always the sun!!


  3. Ian says:

    Hi Henk,
    I sure hope that kids today still hit Europe properly (i.e NOT via ryanair)!!
    I fear that some of the ‘youths’ I know seem to be rather fascinated by ‘wiggling their thumbs’ on some game on the TV!
    Bring back the ‘grand tour’ I say, what!
    Stay well

  4. henkholland says:

    Hi Ian, nice observations.
    Back in my hippy days (40 years ago for this wordpress enduro rider) I hitchhiked through the warmer parts of Europe. As we all did after finishing our studies. And yes, without a watch. I remember leaving it at home deliberately (I think) 🙂

I'd love to know what you think...