In The Dolphins Wake by Harry Bucknall
How many times can you listen to or read a book before getting sick of it? Well, I can’t count the number of times I’ve listened to Harry Bucknall’s In The Dolphins Wake audiobook. Because if I’m missing travel, or missing Greece, or just kind of bored –In The Dolphins Wake gets put on. It has kept me company on a hellish 11 hour drive from Exeter to London – which by rights shouldn’t have taken any more than 4 hours at a leisurely pace, has kept me sane at my hideous office job, and has enhanced my “To Visit” list exponentially.
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Cost: £7.99 paperback or you can get the audiobook free when you sign up for a free trial with Audible – UK, US, AU
Size: 12.7 x 1.5 x 20.3 cm
Hours to read: 6 hours (8 hours 27 on Audible)
Watching the water off the back of the ferry to Santorini was my favourite thing about those long journeys. ? Have you been on a Greek ferry? ⛴ • • • • #greektourism #beautifulphoto #waterphotography #bluewater #agean #aegean #greekferry #visitgreece #athens #athena #santorini #santorinigreece #greekblue #greece?? #greekblue #colorsofgreece #coloursofnature #oceanblue #nikoneurope #nikond7000 #tamronlens #nikongreece #topgreecephoto #abstractphoto #artphotography
What is it about?
Have you ever wanted to disappear for six months, go chill on a beach, eat delicious food and drink amazing wine? Well, Harry did exactly that.
Harry narrates his journey over 36 islands via 57 sea passages on 35 ferries, 4 landing craft, 3 hydrofoils, one caique, a sea plane, 11 buses, 2 trains, 1 Land Rover, and a 1961 Morris Oxford. We follow him though the ins and outs of that kind of long term but fast travel. The Greek ferry system, timetables and lack thereof, travel agents and ticket vendors. In short – everything that makes travel in Greece stressful, annoying, and innately wonderful. Not to mention that we seem to agree on Greek food – except I love seafood and Harry definitely does not – and that the best method of transport in Greece is without doubt the ferry.
Travelling the Mediterranean by boat is, as Harry states, the way it has been done for millennia and is superior to other forms of travel in many ways. It’s often cheaper (especially in summer),there’s decent food, you can wander about the deck, and look at the incredible scenery of Greece. My favourite thing on a ferry is just sitting back and enjoying the incredible colour of Herodotus’s wine dark sea.
The book addresses lots of things about travel in Greece: amazing restaurants and winerys to find when you visit, cautionary anecdotes about maps and cliff edges, things that some of us will never get to see like Mt Athos. Bucknall discusses history of the country, the church, and the people he meets – from the ancients to modern day conflicts. Additionally though In The Dolphins Wake covers some genuinely important issues that face modern Greece. While on Zakynthos the reader is educated about Caretta Caretta and the worthy work to help these lovely turtles by Archeleon. Bucknall does the maths – during a single summer season the local and tourist population will use and throw away over 16 million plastic water bottles – not including other beverages or fast food. He highlights that recycling is not a common practice in Greece and that this has a huge impact on the environment. Bucknall also talks about depopulation of the smaller islands, and lets us meet the small insular communities that live there. This is travel for me, not just lovely beaches and overwhelmingly delicious food but also the people and struggles they face.
Don’t worry though – it is definitely not all doom and gloom and there are plenty of laughs and unique characters to meet, food to be jealous of, and islands to write down on your “To Visit” list!
In The Dolphins Wake provides some of the best armchair travel in my library, only problem is it makes me hungry every time – and miss Greece all the more!
Did I like it?
Absolutely. Whether you have never been to Greece or are an avid yearly visitor, In The Dolphins Wake is an excellent choice.
Harry Bucknall’s writing is funny, sarcastic, and he is not afraid to poke fun at himself which makes him a perfect travel companion – even in book form. I know I keep talking about him like I know the man, I really don’t! I have mentioned him on twitter a few times and he sent me a reference for one of the historical anecdotes he tells in the book. But I, very weirdly, feel as if I know him because I feel like I’ve travelled with him along with The Spaniard, Jane and Lucinda, and Father Martinianos.
I am impressed by Harry Bucknall’s writing because he is able to communicate the scene and the atmosphere of a situation. He does tend towards overly descriptive introductions of people– “the voluptuous Maria at reception; the uniform blue that dazzled and sparkled with blinding passion; the ripped torso that was the DJ” – but you feel that he is being honest rather than judgemental –Maria was voluptuous, the light indeed passionate, and the DJ genuinely very muscular.
If you are an absolute perfectionist I recommend the book rather than the audio because there are a few editing issues – a few sentences repeated and a few self-corrections. Additionally if you have issues with accents I’d say go for the written book as Bucknall speaks with a crisp British lilt.
Have you read it? What did you think??