Title: Seven-Tenths: Love, Piracy, & Science at Sea by David Fisichella
Publisher: Leapfrog Press
Seven-tenths, the percentage of the earth covers the earth, is also apparently David Fisichella's magic number. On the verge of divorce, frustrated with his job, and looking for something new, David Fisichella is confused by how to change his life and move forward. He answers an ad for sight guides for blind sailors and begins the second chapter of his life.
At a reception for the Carroll Center for the Blind and one of its Outward Bound programs, he meets Amy Bowers, an oceanographer. She has macular degeneration - a disease which is gradually taking her eyesight. They start a relationship and Amy invites him on a voyage. After their first voyage, the couple gets married. As Amy's vision worsens, David gains more knowledge and experience and essentially becomes her eyes.
The first voyage was pretty much by the book. Nothing eventful happened. During the second voyage, they cross the equator and are "hazed" into club for those who've crossed the equator. They also endure a pirate attack that gets pretty scary. Still reeling from the pirate attack, the entire ship is devastated to hear of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Overall, I loved the fact that David was willing to take his life in his hands. He disliked the way his life was going and took actions to alter all the things he disliked. He was willing to embrace new challenges and roll with the punches. For me, part of the charm of this book is the fact that he's not a professional writer, but rather a man who has had some extraordinary experiences and wants to share them.
Minor irritations – He expresses disappointment that Durban, South Africa is more like San Francicso, ie a major cosmopolitan city than a jungle or war zone, which fits his idea of Africa. The safari they take feels like the truer Africa to him. On the second ship, he characterizes the Jamaican mate's accent of the Raven as a “ganja-mon accent.” Really!!!! However, after coming ashore on September 12, 2011 and being confronted by a group of Djiboutian men, he seems to realize the amount of privilege he has as an American.
**This review was based on a reader copy provided by the publisher.**