While we’re waiting to see if summer really does arrive on the 5th of July, an interesting post by Charles Doanne on Joshua Slocum before he circumnavigated.

Before Joshua Slocum could become the man we remember today–the one who invented bluewater cruising by sailing around the world singlehanded in a rebuilt oyster smack named Spray–his prior life first had to be unmade. Identifying such turning points is sometimes an arbitrary business, but in Slocum’s case there is little doubt about when his world was first turned upside down. The date most certainly was July 25, 1884, when his first wife, Virginia, age 34, died after a brief illness aboard the family’s 138-foot bark Aquidneck in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Slocum had met Virginia Walker in Sydney, Australia, 14 years earlier when he was a young, up-and-coming commercial sailing-ship skipper. They married after a short whirlwind courtship and she at once joined him at sea, living with him aboard his commands and, in one instance, in the jungles of the Phillipines after he accepted a commission to build an inter-island trading ship. They were more than just partners. Their life together was an adventure and a love affair, and when Virginia died, as their youngest child Garfield later described it, Slocum became “a ship with a broken rudder.”

You can read the whole post on Doanne’s site here.