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Review | How to Read Water

Whilst I am not a fisherman, the section about fly fishing and the passion which drives people to appreciate the artistry behind the pastime, provides a wonderful insight that I had never previously considered: the fisherman is often not worried at all if he (or she) never catches a fish. Indeed the term of dry fly-fishing dates back centuries as a way of understanding water, the techniques, the weather and the environment in general.

You will find a newfound interest in ponds and lakes and look beyond the water to how they were formed: man-made or with mans assistance, glacial or through tectonic activity. This provided a new perspective and the history and geology is extremely interesting.

In the chapter which relates to the colour of water: whilst we all know (or should know) that the sea is actually clear (and not blue or grey!), it goes deeper than merely how the sky affects its hue. The wind, light, reflection, depth - and sand, stones, rocks and plants - all have an impact on the colour we see.

Surfers, wild swimmers and sailors should delight in the chapter about reading waves. Never before have I read so much detail, clear explanation and expertise about the structure of a wave, the Beaufort Scale (wind scale, speed and description = probable wave height and sea state), wave energy and types. This is a large chapter and all the better for it.

I also took great interest in the chapter about the coast and further on, another which is specific to beaches and thereafter, currents and tides. This is a good reminder of tidal rises and falls, wind and the moons gravitational pull on the Earth as it orbits. Here we find physics, geography and thorough explanations on spring and neap tides, including useful diagrams to explain further.

I encourage you to purchase this book, if you have any interest in water, whether you use it recreationally or professionally; or perhaps you simply have a general interest in the natural world and want to learn more.

The chapter about shipwatching is unexpected and of particular interest as my home faces towards the Bristol Channel. I love to watch the various vessels sail by: smaller craft, fishing boats, yachts and gigantic transportation ships which are so familiar, as they regularly travel the Devon and Welsh coast on their journey to and from foreign shores.

The penultimate chapter is about rare and extraordinary phenomena such as Tsunami and Kelvin waves, whirlpools, waterspouts and rouge waves and thereafter our final chapter leads us into uncharted water, where Tristan's journey ends.

Tristan has led expeditions in five continents and is the only living person to have both flown solo and sailed single-handed across the Atlantic. His knowledge and expertise is clearly evident in this well-written, concise and practical book.

I love that it seems so traditional in its appearance; something of a boys-own manual for an older generation, rooted so deeply to our natural environment, with its definitive concentration on navigating water which makes it such an interesting read.

It seems then that no stone has been left unturned in the authors relentless wish to inform, educate and captivate his readers. Highly recommended.

To find out more about this Natural Navigator and to purchase your copy of How to Read Water: Clues, Signs & Patterns, from Puddles to the Sea, visit http://www.naturalnavigator.com/books-and-library/how-to-read-water.

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