Introduction – An Unlikely Passage

Foreword – Prelude to Adventure

Chapter 1 – Preparations and Non–Preparations

Chapter 2 – Getting Underway

Chapter 3 – Raking Past Horsburgh

Chapter 4 – At Sea At Last!

Chapter 5 – Slow Boat to Borneo

Chapter 6 – Borneo Landfall

Chapter 7 – The Santubong Channel

Chapter 8 – Kuching, Sarawak

Chapter 9 – The South China Sea

Chapter 10 – Mr. Dorado Arrives

Chapter 11 – Mr. Dorado's Luck

Chapter 12 – Sea Turtles and Waterspouts

Chapter 13 – A Pirate Scare

Chapter 14 – Mr. Dorado's Trials and Tribulations

Chapter 15 – The Death of a Swift

Chapter 16 – I catch a Tuna Fish

Chapter 17 – Easter Calms and More Hitchhikers

Chapter 18 – Manila Interlude

Chapter 19 – A Slow Passage through the Philippine Islands

Chapter 20 – San Bernadino Strait

Chapter 21 – The Pacific

Chapter 22 – A Dream–a Premonition

Chapter 23 – More Ominous Signs and the Exercise of Poor Judgment

Chapter 24 – A Typhoon Called "Olga"

Chapter 25 – Olga Comes of Age

Chapter 26 – To Yap or Not to Yap

Chapter 27 – Last Leg – Guam at Last!


33 Years Later


Semangat, the Adventure


© 1979–2009 by William R. Carr, all Rights Reserved


     In geological time a half century is a less than a blink of an eye, but seen from the standpoint of three score and ten it's a pretty fair slice of time and certainly worthy of reflection. Anyway, I've known William R. Carr, hereafter referred to as Bill, since the late 1950s. The first time I saw him was on the school bus. He was dressed in dark clothing. At first glance I knew he was an unusual character.
    Visiting a more wrinkled, more worldly-wise Bill Carr only yesterday, I realized that first impression was correct. Not once in our fifty year friendship, a span of time marked by vigorous discussions about politics and other pressing matters, have I seen so much as a hint Bill is anything but his own man. That is meant as a compliment.
    A quarter of a century ago Bill, Ken Mitchell and I started a local magazine. It was around that time that I read Semangat in manuscript. All these years later certain passages still resonate: the dance of the dolphins prior to Typhoon Olga; Bill's  decision to brave the weather knowing the risk of typhoons; and, finally, and perhaps most amazingly, his ability to go to sleep while in the very grasp of one, knowing he might awaken to greet a watery grave. These things I remember vividly, yet there is so much more that would easily come to mind were I to read it again, as I most certainly will when it appears in print.
    Let me say, memory indicates reading the manuscript of Semangat was time well spent. Is is great? I don't know. After all, my reading about the sea is mainly limited to Melville, a bit of Conrad, plus a bit more of Stevenson. Just enough reading to know Bill knows far more about the world's oceans than a landlubber like me will ever learn from books. Another thing I know is this is more than a simple sailing narrative – for there is a personal human interest story behind the adventure which makes it particularly unique.
     I do know, though, Semangat deserves a wider audience than it has received so far, and furthermore, if that crystal ball whirling around in my head is any indication, it will get it. My wish is that it will finally appear in printed book form so that I might revisit it as I might revisit Conrad or Stevenson.
    Sadly, many of you will not have the opportunity to get to know Bill Carr, to breathe in the aroma of his pipe or hear him talk about topics having nothing to do with the sea.
    Get to know him as best you can by reading Semangat.

Gary DeNeal
24 May, 2009

Gary DeNeal is a writer and a poet. He is the author of A Knight of Another Sort – Prohibition Days and Charlie Birger, and is the editor/publisher of "Springhouse Magazine."


Bewilderment, loneliness and a keen sense of adventure are potent ingredients in a heady cocktail.
     I boarded The Semangat with the author in Singapore at the beginning of the book and disembarked with the last chapter.
     The author has written with passion, humour and candour. I found myself sharing his quagmire of emotions: frustration and impatience when progress gets slow, joy and humility as he becomes one with the environment, awe and respect as he battles with the pent-up fury of Nature and his final triumph as he reaches his destination, bodily battered but unbroken in spirit. 
     The Semangat has been worthy of its name which means vital force or energy in Malay.
     This book is why we seek adventure: to be transported and emerge transformed.

M. Ryan, Calgary, Canada (6/1/09)

AUTHOR'S NOTE: At this time (May 13th, 2009) the final editing of this book for this site is ongoing. The whole manuscript in a single file may be viewed and read at this link: SEMANGAT. The full edition will include several photos, maps, charts, and other illustrations, none of which are currently in the file.


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