Buoy – Home at Sea

I think it was 2006 when I met Bruce Balan.  He and his then-girlfriend (now wife) Alene were cruising the Sea of Cortez on their big red tri, Migration, and just happened to have a nifty computer projector aboard that I could use for my talk on hurricane prep at LoretoFest that year.  We crossed paths with Bruce, Alene and Migration a few more times that summer and then headed our separate ways as they headed off across the Pacific (they’re now in Thailand).

But in the time we spent together, I learned that Bruce had written a number of children’s books — quite good ones, in fact.  One of them, Buoy: Home at Sea, particularly appeals to cruisers . . . and not just the kids.  We’ve kept in touch over the years and I recently learned that Bruce re-released Buoy as an ebook.  He kindly gave me a review copy as I hadn’t read it before — I mean, we don’t have kids at home, so why would I have read it?

I was captivated.  Yes, technically it is a children’s book, but it’s one that adults will enjoy too.  Sort of like the A.A. Milne (author of Winnie the Pooh and others) books or Jonathon Livingston Seagull, it’s a story simple enough for kids yet complex enough — and charming enough — to intrigue adults.  It’s won a number of awards, but more than that, it’s just a perfect book for boating kids and those who are intrigued by grandparents’ (or other relatives’) lives afloat.

Buoy: Home at Sea is the story of a sea buoy and his life at sea — guiding the ships away from danger, a visit from a sailboat, a green flash and more.  And Buoy has friends — a seagull and a seal — as anyone who’s passed one knows.

I see it as a great read-aloud book — 54 pages in 16 chapters that are each little slices of Buoy’s life with his friends in the sea.  A couple of chapters each night under the stars, sitting in the cockpit, making a perfect end to a day afloat.  Okay, I’ll admit it, after reading it myself, I read it a chapter at a time to Dave as we sat under the stars.  He was captivated, too.  Can’t wait to repeat it when the grandkids come to visit!

You can get a copy in print or ebook in a number of places (I’m sure I’m leaving many out):

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  • Sheryl Shard
    Posted at 14 September 2013 Reply

    Sounds like a really special book. I will check it out.

  • Sailing with Totem
    Posted at 18 August 2014 Reply

    this looks so sweet!

  • Alene D. Rice of s/v Migration
    Posted at 30 November 2016 Reply

    An update: Migration is currently in Japan (2016), and Buoy was translated into Japanese. It’s been fun sharing Bruce’s book with our Japanese friends.

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