Eight Men and a Duck

Eight Men and a Duck : An Improbable Voyage by Reed Boat to Easter Island

3.75 (83 ratings by Goodreads)
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Nick Thorpe was innocently travelling around South America with his wife, Ali, when he came across an American adventurer planning to sail from Chile to Easter Island on a Bolivian boat made of reeds. Inspired by the great Thor Heyerdahl, Phil Buck had recruited seven men to join him on this experiment to discover whether it might have been possible that Polynesia was first settled from South America rather than Asia. But when one of them dropped out a place in the crew became available for Nick. What followed was a somewhat bizarre expedition undertaken by a rather makeshift vessel, a couple of ducks (one of which could have only guessed at its fate) and a group of men, who, when all was said and done, weren't quite sure how to sail a boat...Brilliantly told, EIGHT MEN AND A DUCK is a feel-good, hilarious tale of storms, amateur seamen and the occasional shark.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 320 pages
  • 126 x 201 x 22mm | 230g
  • Little, Brown Book Group
  • Abacus
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Section: 8
  • 0349114544
  • 9780349114545
  • 1,976,504

About Nick J. Thorpe

Nick Thorpe, an experienced British journalist based in Edinburgh, spent 14 months in 1999/2000 travelling through South America He writes for a variety of national newspapers and is a contributor to the BBC World Service 'Outlook' programme. This is his first book.show more

Review Text

Award-winning journalist and travel writer Nick Thorpe was journeying through South America on a bus when he overheard a stranger discussing about an improbable scheme to sail 2500 miles to Easter Island, on a boat made from reeds. Intrigued by this eccentric expedition and fired-up by thoughts of a Kon-Tiki style enterprise, Thorpe volunteered his services to the team and found himself signed up for a voyage into the unknown. Only later did he discover that his travelling companions would be seven untrained crewmates and a duck named Pablo. So began a venture marked out by ineptitude, enthusiasm and the unexpected. Every step of the way is dogged by threats from storms, fast-moving freighters, sharks, lack of navigational skills and a whispering campaign initiated by a disgruntled rival explorer. Yet this is also a true story about how triumph can overcome disaster and about the type of friendship that can only flourish in tight-knit groups bound together in hazardous circumstances. Even a half-hearted reception from the locals on the group's triumphant arrival at their destination cannot dampen their pride in their achievement. Nick Thorpe writes with a voice that is both vibrant and original and he is, at all times, refreshingly candid about his own fears and mistakes. His account of this trip-of-a-lifetime is often hilariously farcical, but it is also underlined by a couple of serious messages. Firstly, that sometimes taking risks can be worthwhile and, secondly, that fear should guide, not rule, your decisions. This is definitely not a blueprint for how to carry out a successful scientific mission - despite the inclusion of instructions on how to build a reed boat. But only a hard-hearted cynic could fail to be inspired by the example set by this group of men in search of adventure. (Kirkus UK)show more

Review quote

Thorpe's imagery is exquisite (and) the account of Viracocha's voyage is so funny... If you enjoy chuckling during your armchair travels, my advice is: Rush and Reed Tim Severin Thorpe is an accomplished storyteller. He chronicles the voyage of the Viracocha with an easy, unforced humour... Thoroughly entertaining DAILY TELEGRAPH Thorpe may be a poor sailor but he is an accomplished storyteller... he chronicles the voyage of Viracocha with an easy, unforced humour. It's hardly surprising that it's an inspiring story. TELEGRAPH An exciting, involving read. INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAYshow more

Rating details

83 ratings
3.75 out of 5 stars
5 19% (16)
4 45% (37)
3 30% (25)
2 5% (4)
1 1% (1)
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