A man’s Dream

Reckoning At Sea: Eye-to-Eye with a Gray Whale

Max. J Young, Jeff March and Marti Childs


This is one outstanding collaboration that you have to read and experience the journey along with the authors:


 Imagine traveling all the way around an island, continent or our entire planet. Max J. Young, circumnavigator circumnavigated many islands, continents and countries to fulfill his life long dream to sail around the world in his sailboat: Reflections. With the sky as his roof, the horizon as his guideline and the sea as his road Max J. Young set many courses visiting many countries in order to fulfill his lifelong passion and sail around the world. Reflections: the name of this sailboat quite appropriate as the author reflects, remembers and shares the many experiences, people and journeys he encountered and ventured on within a ten-year period. Relating the requirements for being part of his crew and what happens when someone does not adhere to his rules and guidelines allows readers to experience and undertake the experiences along with the author and his crew. With his wife Debbie and daughter Janelle, Max takes on the raging sea, the difficult weather and finally a journey that would impact his life forever as he combats Reckoning At Sea a whale that would destroy his sailboat, sink it thousands of feet to the depths and bottom of the ocean, put him front and center in the headlines and create a fear in most people to never sail again. But, our author relates his journey, the rescue and his feelings as we take the trip from the start and meet the people of the many islands, countries, cities and places he visited and join him and his family at the fairs, the dinners, the shopping areas and more narrated by author Max Young.


A family voyage that included his wife and daughter and her experiences that were priceless being homeschooled by her mother and visiting and learning about the amazing countries around the world rather than learning about them from a textbook. The first chapter begins with the end of his journey as Max flashes back to that fateful date: June 12, 2012 when his life would change forever. As you read Chapter One you will hear the author’s voice and understand his involuntary memories as he shares his experience with a professional and readers. The experience comes alive within the pages of this chapter as you hear his voice asking for help, he relates what happens when this whale attacks his sailboat and the dramatic rescue. But, every journey has a beginning and his began on May 8, 200 when he started his trip sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge, weathering a storm and arriving in Maui.


How often does anyone travel the world and see the amazing sites first hand? From Cook Island to Ngaputoru Island Max and his family saw so many breathtaking sights as documented on page 43 from Debbie’s journal. Trading with the natives, learning more about Janelle and her essay for college admissions the author engages the reader every step of the way on his journey and makes you feel part of it. New Caledonia sounds like a place everyone would love to visit and then Australia.


The vivid descriptions of the sandy beaches, the coastlines, the color of the Pacific Ocean and Moolooaba appeared lukewarm and clear. The fishing he states was amazing and the lobster definitely worth it. The descriptions of each island and the people they meet will make anyone want to visit this amazing country and never leave. Chapter 6 he continues his circumnavigation and is greeted by storms, squalls, misinformation and even pirates. This chapter will make you shudder, question whether you would venture out and do the same thing and know just what a risk taker this man really is. Phuket Province and Thailand sound amazing and he trip is chronicled in Debbie’s journal. Besides the food, the people and the sites I would have loved to join them on their shopping jaunts, their mani and pedi day and enjoy sitting on deck. Thailand to Maldives Islands takes up Chapters 8 and 9.

The bribes he paid to the many officials and others to get into the countries and his next stop from Yemen to Egypt where he reminds readers about the U.S.S. Cole.



The research alone makes this not only a book about his man sailing experiences but a resource for helping students, adults and educators learn about the many ports, countries and people throughout the world. His visit to Israel was quite compelling and visiting the special temple where Jesus was nailed to the cross and his feelings when touching the exact spot would make anyone want to visit each of the 12 stations and experience it the same way he did. The trip to Greece visiting both the north and the south and then his exciting visit to Italy where he not only saw the house where his mother lived but found a whole family he never knew he had. The outpouring of kindness from everyone he met gives readers a warm feeling that people around the world are truly special and that we can learn so much from each other if we give others a chance. The one couple that spoke very little English and insisted he have dinner at their villa it is too bad he lost contact with them. Traveling around the world with different crews and leaving both Janelle and Debbie at home shows that Max has an undying passion for the sea, traveling around the world and is guilt-ridden when buying treasures for both Janelle and Danielle to bring home when he does return. You can feel his restlessness when he is home too long and the release of his tension and his excitement when meeting different people, paying to get into the harbors and dealing with so many different authorities from so many countries.


Sailing alone was his primary passion and on June 12, 2012 his life would change forever. Madeira Islands to Bermuda, the Caribbean and the last leg the Panama Canal round out his journey but the most heartfelt and memorable one what would haunt him forever had yet to come. Imagine a gray whale coming at your sailboat and doing so much damage to the boat and itself that the end just might be yours too? As the scene unfolds the author will describe just how he engaged help, what saved him, how just a little information imparted to his wife would set off a chain reaction of events that just might be the answer to his prayers. The final outcome and what happens to reflections you have to experience for yourself when you read Chapter 24 and then the epilogue. The memories he shares the visions that came into his mind and the feelings he has for the sea and travel priceless. Read Reckoning at Sea and take the 12 year journey along with Max, Debbie, Janelle and the numerous crew members and learn what happens when you never give up and you as quoted on page 272: Johann Peter Eckermann’s Conversation with Goethe: “It is not enough to take steps which may someday lead to a goal, each step must be itself a goal.” Well said!


Imagine being alone with the choppy swells 60 miles off the coast of Baja California, Mexico setting sail for San Francisco and 490 miles short of completing his 12 year journey of 36,660 mile   circumnavigation around the world as a gray white landed hard on the port side of Reflections and the rest you have to read for yourself. The pictures the descriptions and the research contributed by all three authors serves as many lessons for young adults, adults, would be travelers and a great resource and guide to learn about the many countries and cultures around the world.


Fran Lewis: reviewer