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The Motion of the Ocean: 1 Small Boat, 2 Average Lovers, and a Woman's Search for the Meaning of Wife

3.69  ·  Rating Details ·  754 Ratings  ·  136 Reviews
The humorous true story of a woman who abandons her tidy life to honeymoon across the Pacific on a leaky, old boat—only to find that sailing 17,000 miles is easier than keeping her relationship off the rocks.

“Somewhere fifty miles off the coast of Oregon I realize the skipper of this very small ship is an asshole. He also happens to be my husband.”

While most thirty-somethi
Paperback, 336 pages
Published June 2nd 2009 by Touchstone
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(showing 1-30)
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I really enjoyed the sailing aspects of this book. However the point of the story was the author finding the meaning of "wife". On some occasions she made some really great points that showed insight and growth. However a good majority of the 2 year sail seemed to be spent with her brooding and over analyzing( A habit she openly admits to.) To the reader though, it got old. I started to feel bad for her husband who seemed to be the type who wanted to soak in the adventure and exotic locations. T ...more
Nicole R
Aug 16, 2013 Nicole R rated it it was ok
I really enjoy travel memoirs, I like hearing other people tell tales of their crazy adventures in distant lands and their meshing with local culture. Combining that with my recent crazy work schedule and I thought this book would take me on a mental trip away from my 15 hour work days and into the clear blue waters of the Pacific. It did and it didn't...

The first part of this book was GREAT! I would award 4 full stars to the story of Janna Cawrse as she describes how she and her husband, Graeme
Jan 11, 2010 Shannon rated it did not like it
Shelves: nonfiction
I would surely have quit reading this book even before page 100 if it hadn’t been a book club selection. (I have a 100 page rule that if I don’t care how a book is going to end by the time I’m on page 100, I don’t finish it.) My chief complaints are that it isn’t terribly well-written and the author spent far more time complaining – about her husband, her life, her situation – than saying anything the slightest bit positive. This wore on me as the reader. I’m not a happy-go-lucky kind of girl, s ...more
Linda Hollingsworth
Aug 19, 2012 Linda Hollingsworth rated it it was amazing
Janna and Graeme finally decide to wed and decide to kick start their new life together by quitting their jobs and taking a two year honeymoon voyage across the Pacific on Dragonfly, an old beat-up sailboat. Nothing reveals the strengths and weaknesses of a relationship like living in a confined space totally dependent on each other for 17,000 miles. This riveting book allows the reader to tag along on a heartfelt and sometimes dangerous adventure that many dream about but never attempt.

"Over t
Jun 16, 2009 Jessica rated it it was amazing
This book came along at just the right time for me. My husband and I have been married just under a year, and we've been hitting exactly the same kind of issues (well, not exactly... we aren't at sea together:)). Thank you, Janna, for this wonderful book! I can't wait to read more of your work.

Dec 23, 2009 Beth rated it really liked it
This author was really funny! I laughed out loud repeatedly! I'll be looking for more books by her!
On my way home last month, on my first of two flights, I was seated next to one of those couples who snipe. She whined when he offered to take her bag. He grumbled that he didn't have enough space (to be fair to him, the legroom was seriously inadequate for someone of his height). They argued about who had the camera and whether or not they had good enough cameras and so on and so forth. I buried my nose in my e-reader and did my best to ignore them.

For a while, reading this, I wondered whether
Jessica King
Oct 02, 2016 Jessica King rated it liked it
Cute book. I love her husband's view on love.
Lacey Louwagie
I never knew before I worked on Big Waves, Small Boat, Two Kids: A Family Sailing Adventure that I apparently am drawn to sailing memoirs. I've got another, Sea Change: Alone Across the Atlantic in a Wooden Boat, waiting for me on the shelf, too.

As someone who is prone to motion sicknesses and also somewhat risk-averse, I don't think I'd ever be able to live on the water for an extended period of time. But I'm sure glad other brave souls have written about it so I can experience it vicariously!
Apr 14, 2010 April rated it it was amazing
My husband & I have sailed together for three weeks at a time and this is a great account of what it is like to be alone with your spouse discovering new places and spaces! I loved this book. There is a fabulous quote in the middle of the book, you'll know it when you read it.
Here are some reviews:

"Equipped with nothing but an old boat and a new marriage, Janna Cawrse Esarey recounts her two and a half years at sea with wry humor, keen observations, and descriptions vivid enough to satisfy e
Dec 28, 2016 Jen rated it liked it
Better than OK, but didn't love it - the travel bits were good, but I got a little tired of all the whining about the marriage bit. This would have been a much more enjoyable read for me had it been more strictly a travelogue and less of a relationship rundown.
Claudia Taller
Feb 01, 2016 Claudia Taller rated it it was amazing
I loved The Motion of the Ocean. For me, Janna Cawrse Esarey’s book about “1 small boat, 2 average lovers, and a woman’s search for the meaning of life” was really interesting because it was partly a travel memoir, partly the story of a marriage, and mostly about the journey of a young woman into maturity. Janna’s a bit narcissistic and self-absorbed, but that’s the way memoirs are. I liked her honesty about what was going on with her, and I could relate to it even though she’s twenty years youn ...more
Apr 29, 2010 Melody rated it did not like it
This wasn't at all what I was expecting when I picked it up, and it's difficult to review it for what it actually was, rather than what I wanted it to be. Had I read the notes on the back of the book, I'd most likely have stayed away.

I wanted a travelogue, an adventure tale, a story of what it's like to cross the ocean in a sailboat. What I got was a lot of navel-gazing, a lot of detail about the author's marginally unhappy marriage, backstory about the relationship, and more than I ever needed
Pjs_books Sather
Aug 31, 2012 Pjs_books Sather rated it really liked it
Three and a half stars really. I've been learning to sail with my husband, so I was interested in what a big deal trip really looks and feels like from the inside. This book delivered for the most part--calmed some of my fears about long passages (though I'm still unlikely to ever attempt one), yet is inspiring some B-HAG soul searching nonetheless. I found the descriptions of the cruising life informative and mostly entertaining, though I would have enjoyed more technical detail about the saili ...more
Jul 04, 2011 Linda rated it really liked it
This is a smart, delightful read about newlyweds that decide to follow their wildest dreams, take a couple of years off from work and sail to foreign ports on their honeymoon. It’s a moving memoir that reads like fiction. Although it’s an adventure story about sailing, the heart of the story is about love and marriage; the passion as well as the doubts that live within any relationship. Janna Cawrse’s writing style is clear and unhindered as she allows the reader a glimpse into her inner most th ...more
Maudeen Wachsmith
Jun 09, 2009 Maudeen Wachsmith rated it it was amazing
This book is more than just a memoir, more than a travelogue, it is a story of the beginning of a marriage and all that entails - but instead of beginning it in a home in an up and coming neighborhood as many newlyweds do, Janna and Graeme decide to take a two-year honeymoon from Seattle to the Galapagos and on through the South Pacific islands to Hong Kong. Their journey is threatened by everything from pirates to typhoons, but the real threat to their happiness lies in themselves.

I so enjoyed
Nov 30, 2010 Catherine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Newlyweds, Janna and Graeme head out on the high seas for an extended (two-year) 17,000 mile honeymoon voyage. The book is part sailing, part travel adventure, and part relationship examination.

Cawrse Ersay writes with a lot of humor. I would venture a guess that several laughs could be attributed to her funny quips that flowed throughout her story. I enjoyed reading about the couple’s sailing adventures, even though I’m not a boater myself, and the many exotic locales visited on their journey.

Dec 10, 2011 Anne rated it liked it
This true story is about a woman who tells people in college that she's going to live on a boat. Living in Washington state, I wouldn't think that would be a big deal. But this person has never even been on a boat before. Fast forward through college, girl meets boy, girl loses boy, girl finds boy again and marries him. He has grown up with boats and, at some point, they decide to take off in said boat and sail to the Far East.

It is nice to read a book written by a woman who actually knows somet
Feb 02, 2011 Jen rated it it was ok
I'm not the target audience for this book. I picked it up because I am planning on a year-long sailing trip with my family and thought I might glean some insight on the cruising life from this memoir. Unfortunately, as the book wore on (and on, and on), sailing became less and less of a topic and relationships became the sole focus. I guess I have more in common with the guys, because I find talking about relationships a total bore, especially when it involves over-analyzing a brand-new marriage ...more
Mar 31, 2010 Nellie rated it liked it
This book gets three stars for being entertaining but a little fluffy (not that it pretends to be more). It reads like an embellished blog or journal of her trip across the Pacific. I most enjoyed reading of this couple's experience crossing the Pacific Ocean in a 35' sailboat as that is something I will never do (especially now). I found the sailing and traveling more engaging than the relating of their courtship and marriage but can forgive some of that for the Anne Morrow Lindberg quote she h ...more
Tom Burns
Jun 21, 2010 Tom Burns rated it it was amazing
Perhaps I was expecting a “chick-flick” literary piece when I first learned of this book – boy, was I wrong about that!

Janna Cawrse Esarey’s wonderful sea-going tale, "The Motion of the Ocean" provides an engaging - then captivating - and sometimes scary - "Odyssey" across the Pacific in a 35 foot sailboat. She is a most talented and insightful writer - and I was unable to put her book down until I had consumed every last page.

As a land-locked sailor in the Pacific Northwest, I have often fantas
Victoria Allman
Feb 03, 2011 Victoria Allman rated it it was amazing
Janna Crawse Esarey may have had reservations about setting sail with her brand new husband on a two-year odyssey across the Pacific, but she was fearless in her writing about the journey. Her honesty of the good AND the bad, in a smart and still funny manner, will have you feeling like you were there in the small space aboard Dragonfly with her and Graeme. She has held nothing back. You will want to voyage with Janna through the pages of this book. I couldn't put it down and was routing for thi ...more
Dec 11, 2010 Mike rated it it was amazing
Janna Cawrse Esarey writes an autobiographical tale about falling in and out of love, getting married, and going off on a two-year honeymoon sailing across the ocean on a very small sailboat with her new husband, who she had known for 10 years off and on before they wed. She writes with a lot of introspection and great humor. If you like sailing, or adventure, or marriage, or love, or just peeking into others’ lives as they sail the ocean, sometimes blue (as is her language sometimes), you will ...more
Shelby | Double Up Books
This is my favorite book that I've read all year. I actually got down to the last 100 pages and put it away for a week because I didn't want it to end. This non-fiction book is about a newlywed couple who quit their jobs to sail 17,000 miles around the globe from Seattle to Hong Kong. Part memoir, part travelogue, part relationship book, it had me laughing out loud and enjoying both the trip and the destination. I absolutely love Janna Cawrse Esarey's (she does tell you how to pronounce her name ...more
Georgia Hunter
Jul 06, 2010 Georgia Hunter rated it it was amazing
Not only did I love this book, I loved getting to know the author, a fellow Seattlite, at our book club meeting! Esarey's book tells the story of her two-year honeymoon sail across the Pacific from Seattle to Hong Kong. A sailing story, yes, but even more so a story about friendship, love, marriage and the challenges you can imagine a couple of newlyweds would face spending two years crammed onto a tiny boat. Laugh out loud funny at times and heart-wrenching at others, I enjoyed every bit of thi ...more
Mar 06, 2011 Kathy rated it it was amazing
This book had everything I look for in a book...true travel adventure, relationship issues, out of the ordinary descriptions of nature's glory plus a lot of humor. Janna & Graeme have been in and out of a relationship for years when they decide to get married and travel 17,000 miles in a sailboat from Seattle to the south Pacific to Asia. Sometimes along the way, this seems like a good decision. Sometimes it seems like the worst idea they've ever had. Janna details the trip and their relatio ...more
Oct 01, 2012 Susie rated it liked it
The corniness of this title heralds all kinds of corniness (oh, and the puns!) throughout this memoir about a woman who sails the Pacific with her husband on a "Honeymoon Tour." Perhaps because the seas are mostly uneventful, she turns to self-reflection and relationship-reflection. JCE's take on her relationship seems sometimes straight out of "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus," though at other times she has it all right. Eventually I sort of fell in love with her. For all her corny puns ...more
May 27, 2010 emily rated it liked it
My dear husband inundates me with sailing books, (which I don't read, or haven't gotten around to reading yet) and I bought this one after hearing the author read from it at a women and boating seminar. Janna did a good job at the reading....I'm not loving the book, but have started to enjoy it more....but what i did learn, is that it is okay to read 2 books at the same time....and think that this will be the approach I take with the next sailing book I read....I think part of my problem is that ...more
May 16, 2010 Audry rated it really liked it
So I was very intrigued when I saw this book on the shelves. I got bored about a third of the way into the book, but I can't NOT finish a book unless I really HATE it. So I kept going, and I am so glad that I did. I think like this girl, I think that I am a combination of her and her husband. This is a true journey and a very real reflection of what we go through in a real relationship. It was refreshing, comforting, nerve-wracking, depressing, and just so true to life. The ending of this book m ...more
Aug 21, 2011 Annabelle rated it it was amazing
My husband I have love sailing. We have never had an adventure quite like the one in this book but we've come close (kinda). We read this book together and that was an adventure in it's self. I have to say I loved the book. I think it helps that we love sailing. Janna does whine alot about her marriage, it didn't ruin the book for me. Arguing over the baby to be's name for so long was a little tidious, but it deffinately didn't over shadow all the hilarious, adventurous parts. I could really rel ...more
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Janna Cawrse Esarey (rhymes with "banana of course yesiree") is the author of The Motion of the Ocean: 1 Small Boat, 2 Average Lovers, & a Woman's Search for the Meaning of Wife (Touchstone 2009), the humorous, true story of a couple that chases love across the Pacific, only to find that navigating the world is easier than keeping their relationship off the rocks. Janna writes for sailing ma ...more
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