Close to the Surface

Close to the Surface
A Family Journey at Sea
Bethany Lee
Fernwood Press


Preorders ship in May

For years, Bryan and Bethany Lee dreamed of traveling by sailboat in the Pacific Ocean. They spent a decade preparing along with their two young children and finally, when their kids were in middle school, they crossed the Columbia River Bar and headed south.

They survived their first treacherous night in the ocean and sailed under the Golden Gate Bridge, through the Channel Islands of California, and on into Mexico.

When their hand-built dinghy went missing on the coast of Baja, they hammered together a new one in a Cabo San Lucas parking spot and carried on with their journey.

Again and again, the Lees were welcomed into the lives of those they met on the way and buoyed by the generosity of strangers who became friends.

In Close to the Surface, Bethany recounts her family’s story, her own uncertain pilgrimage, and the ingenuity and courage it takes to sail over the horizon and find your way home.

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to scoop up your young family and leave the safe harbour of home behind to chase adventures in a sailboat, Bethany’s vivid, honest, and thrilling account will inspire you vicariously. If you can’t possibly understand why anyone would ever do this, Bethany will show you why. Stories of adventure are rarely just travelogues; they also pull you into an inner journey, demonstrating how humans can unfurl and evolve in stunning ways when they’re taken out of the status quo and into a life of novelty and extremes. A well-written and compelling read for wanderers, wonderers, and armchair travellers.

Torre DeRoche, author of Love with a Chance of Drowning and The Worrier's Guide to the End of the World

Close to the Surface is a rare combination of a true story and good writing. It's typical for books to have one or the other, but when someone can write about their own experiences in a way that keeps you reading and keeps you emotionally invested in the story, it's worth taking note. The world of people who live at sea is very different, and Bethany presents it with detail and eloquence.

Melanie Sunshine Neale, author of Boat Kid

Sink into Bethany’s invitation (to sailors, dreamers of the sea, and lovers of poetry) to journey with her year at sea. You may notice the unfurling of your own soul as you sail away with her, meet yourself in the challenges, and arrive home changed.

Lisa Graham McMinn, author of Dirt and the Good Life and To the Table

Bethany Lee

lives and writes in Lafayette, Oregon, drawing inspiration from her travels by sea, her experiences as a hospice harpist, and her work as a composer, collaborative pianist, and Quaker minister. She makes a home at the edge of the woods with her husband Bryan, with whom she has two grown children.

Value Package


Buy Close to the Surface and get The Coracle and the Copper Bell at an additional 34% off our everyday low price.

Total Price: $46.00
Price for the Bundle: $36.82

This Item: Close to the Surface
The Coracle and the Copper Bell


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