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Stories Lost and Found: "The Voyage of the Yacht, Dal: from Gdynia to Chicago, 1933-34"

Mar 26, 2020

In these unusual days where we can spend less physical time with our family members due to social distancing, but maybe have more time to spend on personal pursuits, why not reach out to family and friends and ask them to tell you a story.  We all have stories to tell, and if we don't pass them on, many will be lost to passing time.

One Ottawa resident managed to save one of his family stories last year and what an adventure story it was! Mr. Keith was cleaning up some papers in his study when he came across a copy of an old book his stepfather, Andre Bohomolec had written in the 1930s.  The only problem was that the book was written in Polish, and nobody in Mr. Keith's family could read the language.  Mr. Keith reached out to Ottawa resident Irene Tomaszewski, a Polish historian, who agreed to translate the work.  The book was published in English for the first time in 2019.  It tells a thrilling story of Andre Bohomolec's sea voyage, in a rather unsuitable 8.5 metre long yacht, from Gdynia, Poland to Chicago for the World's Fair in 1933.  The boat and its three crew members survive a hurricane that sank dozens of other vessels, and with little navigational ability, made it to Bermuda where they spent months repairing damage to the Dal.  The book also gives readers a portrait of a remarkable man who was not only an intrepid sailor, but also a commando, writer, diplomat, Polish hero and Alberta cattle rancher.

Rockliffe Park Library arranged for Mr. Keith and Ms.Tomaszewski to give a reading and slide presentation at several seniors' residences in the city, as well as to the public, thanks to funding from the Rockcliffe Park Residents' Association Spring Book Sale. While awaiting future public presentations, you can listen to the CBC interview with Mr Keith and Ms. Tomaszewski here, and read about the adventure in an english-language newspaper published in Poland here.

The library has physical copies of the book The Voyage of the Yacht, Dal: from Gdynia to Chicago 1933-34.

Here are some downloadable seafaring adventures to check out now:

Sextant  A Young Man's Daring Sea Voyage and the Men Who Mapped the World's Oceans Barrie, David

Near Death on the High Seas  True Stories of Disaster and Survival

Sailing Alone Around the World Slocum, Joshua, b. 1844-

Fast Track to Sailing  Learn to Sail in Three Days Colgate, Stephen

And videos to stream now:

Red Dot on the Ocean  The Matt Rutherford Story, Solo, Nonstop Around the Americas

Abandoned  Sea of Terror

Blog post contributed by Martha from the Rockcliffe Park Branch