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Bull Canyon: A Boatbuilder, a Writer and Other Wildlife

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  92 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
Internationally famous with her husband Larry for their sailing adventures and expertise, Lin Pardey turns here to an adventure on land - the four years that the couple spent far from the sea, building the boat of their dreams in California's remote Bull Canyon. First there were the rats in the pantry, then the floods, then the fires, then the visiting cougar . life in Bul ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published June 1st 2011 by Paradise Cay Publications (first published April 22nd 2011)
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Feb 10, 2011 Natalie rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: sailors, sailor's wives, californians, anyone who loves a good memoir of a life well lived
Lin Pardey's picture as she's painting Taleisin's name graces an interview about her memoir titled Bull Canyon in SAIL magazine's Sept 2011 issue.

Photo published in SAIL, courtesy Lin Pardey.

Lin and Larry Pardey lived and built their 29-foot engine-free Taleisin in Bull Canyon, California. A more unlikely place for two life-long blue water sailors to build a boat would have been pretty hard to find!

I thoroughly enjoyed Lin Pardey's memoir of how she and her husband Larry Pardey made their home
Heaven is a bookstore
Mar 05, 2011 Heaven is a bookstore rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
Let me preface this by letting ya'll know that I won this book from GoodReads. Out of 814 people, little ol' me received one of 25 copies. And let me say, that feels pretty darn good.

Ahem, sorry just thought you should know. It T'IS truly the little things in life. Not to mention, also enclosed was a letter from the author which just made the winning that much sweeter. When I become an author, please remind me how much it means to the reader to receive those small touches. I am currently ridding
Mar 08, 2011 Joan rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
The book/story is captivating at first. I was a bit turned off by references to people working for "the man"-- a reference to resisting authority. Everyone gets paid by someone else. Some people get money for working, others get money when they don't. Most people pay taxes on the money they earn & those taxes go to give money to those who don't earn enough of a living. Also, the part about illegal immigrants and how they "had" to come here illegally to find work and then the hypocrisy of say ...more
Melanie Coombes
Mar 05, 2011 Melanie Coombes rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
Bull Canyon is the story of Lin Pardey and her husband Larry. Both are well known for their sailing adventures. In 1980, after sailing for 11 years, they decide to come to California to find a spot for Larry to build a boat and for Lin to work as a writer. What follows in this book is the tale of nearly four years in Bull Canyon, an area sixty miles from the sea. The house is a fixer upper with no electricity or phone lines, and the neighbors are all quirky characters.
They battle rats, bugs, fr
Mar 18, 2011 Donna rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
If you are looking for ribald adventures and swashbuckling steamy sailors, this is not the book for you. It is a memoir, not for life at sea, but a marriage, a canyon with its characters, and building a boat. While I am not much of a seafarer, having only been sailing as many fingers as I have, I still found the content engaging, informative, and applicable to anyone's life, not just those whose passion is sailing. Pardey makes the canyon (and the boat) come alive with her descriptions of beings ...more
Jun 02, 2011 J.R. rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir
Who builds a boat in the desert?

A sailor (sailors in this case) who needs cheap digs with few distractions.

If you’ve read any of her sailing books or articles you already know Lin Pardey can write. This particular book is about Lin and Larry Pardey’s four years ashore in the 1980s while building Taleisn, a new boat.

Their respite, chosen primarily for the sake of economics, was an abandoned stone cottage sixty miles from the sea and most conveniences. Lin tells with a mix of joy and pride how the
Ruth Ann
Feb 09, 2011 Ruth Ann rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I knew a bit about Lin and Larry's cruising adventures from their articles in sailing magazines. Did you know that I was an avid sailboat racer on the Chesapeake Bay and on smaller lakes? Anyway, I was excited to win this book in a Goodreads giveaway. Lin's engaging story details their life in Bull Canyon as they take a break from sailing to write and to work on building their 29-foot sailboat, Taleisin.

Bull Canyon is about 50 miles from Los Angeles and subject to long periods of no rain with p
Kaci Cronkhite
Aug 23, 2016 Kaci Cronkhite rated it it was amazing
Among ocean sailors, there are few couples who have shared their love for each other, sailing, and wooden boats over more ocean miles than Lin and Larry Pardey. In Bull Canyon, Lin changes tacks - taking us onto land - into a dry, dusty canyon in California with more a cast of characters among the neighbors that many of us who've lived in remote places will recognize, sort of. It's a lovely story about the hard work and tedious attention to detail these two bring to every boatbuilding project, w ...more
Linda Dao
Apr 14, 2011 Linda Dao rated it really liked it
I loved Lin’s book! I was absolutely thrilled to see her lifestyle described in such a way that make the book more than a memoir but a journey of adventure and love. Bull Canyon showed the hardships of Lin and her husband, Larry’s life. They chose to live on land after their many years at sea. The canyon had presented its challenges each testing the couple more and more, but it still was a place for their dreams and aspirations. Their love for each other and dedication for their work was amazing ...more
Stephanie Macdonald
Mar 05, 2011 Stephanie Macdonald rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
What an adventure! Lin really does a great job at pulling the reader right in! This book is craftily worded and makes for such a smooth read. While I am not into sailing, this book will capture anyone who picks it up! The stories are incredible, one can only dream of experiencing so much out of life and it is so beyond inspirational what these two love birds have been through together. I can only imagine what this kind of living has done for their relationship, amazing. Certainly would push any ...more
Linda Robinson
Mar 18, 2011 Linda Robinson rated it it was amazing
An interesting story about living a life like no other. There is no frame of reference for what Lin and Larry did: build a big boat far from water in a seasonally-adjusted dusty or rain-soaked canyon. I liked the arrival in Bull Canyon much better than the leaving Bull Canyon. What was most fascinating to me was the relationship. Living in extraordinary circumstances for so many years helped the couple learn problem-solving at home, but I was intrigued by how Lin handled some his/her situations ...more
Oct 13, 2011 Sjm rated it really liked it
Bull Canyon by Lin Pardey was a terrific read....This is a true story, yet it reads like the best of fiction. I learned a little about boat building, life in a secluded canyon without the amenities I take for granted, and what it meant to this couple to have the freedom to set sail to any destination of their choosing. What I enjoyed most about this story was the sense of adventure, bravery and optimism it portrayed...

Visit Cookie's Book Club to read more of my review as well as an interview wit
Beth Cooper
Feb 24, 2013 Beth Cooper rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book, particularly because I just met Lin and Larry in New Zealand. Lin is as feisty in real life as she appears in her book. I appreciated her honesty and candid descriptions of their life in Bull Canyon. Lin writes of the obstacles they overcame, the interesting characters in Bull Canyon the hopes and dreams she and Larry shared. Even though I am a sailor I appreciated this land based tale.
Mar 05, 2011 Marie rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I won this as a first read giveaway. Lucky me! This book is about a couple (who travel the world in their boat)staying in a stone cottage in a Canyon with no electricity, telephone or running water while building a boat for their next adventure. I found it very interesting to see how they transformed their physical environment and the type of relationship they have. Wouldn't mind reading some of their other books. :)
Mar 03, 2011 Lori rated it liked it
Won this book and am happy to add my signed copy to my book shelf. You don't have to be interested in sailing or boats to appreciate this truly inspiring memoir. Lin Pardey does a fantastic job of keeping your attention through their experiences in Bull Canyon. Neighbors, wildlife, visitors, and the lack of electricity and running make for constant adventures. Best of luck to Lin and Larry as they set sail in the Taleisin. I look forward to reading of their tales at sea.
Mar 16, 2011 Jenn rated it really liked it
I won an advance copy of Bull Canyon from Goodreads and was so excited to receive it not long after my husband and I returned from a sailing vacation. I truly enjoyed the book and have great respect for the author and her husband. They had a lot of obstacles to overcome as a result of their unique choice in a home and their goal to build a boat. I'd love to meet them some day!
Aug 04, 2011 Eva rated it it was amazing
I won this book from goodreads and thoroughly enjoyed reading it. The main charaters, who were the boat builders, were such interesting people. All the craziness of living in the canyon while building a boat up there was amazing. Lin and Larry were truly free spirits and lived life their own way. How many people can truly say that? I didn't want their adventures in the canyon to end!!!
Heather Maire
Mar 05, 2011 Heather Maire rated it liked it
This book is truly lovely. It's a story of Lin Pardey's life. And she does a wonderful job pulling you in. It may not be for everyone, but if you enjoy a good life story then definitely pick it up! She's lived quite a life!
Feb 17, 2013 Chris rated it really liked it
Easy, enjoyable read - most of all I liked gleaning a bit more about the off-water lives on Lin and Larry.
Mar 05, 2011 Stephanie rated it liked it
I'm not normally a fan of memoirs, but I did enjoy this book. Lin is a talented writer and easily keeps the reader involved.
Mar 05, 2011 Karen rated it liked it
A nice story that personalized their adventures and depicted their fun loving and hard working passion. So wonderful to have a shared passion!
Kate. Shea
Nov 15, 2013 Kate. Shea rated it really liked it
Loved this book. An easy read about adventure and goal setting in life. Even if you are not a sailor this book is great! It is full of little stories that make you laugh out loud!
Mark Brand
Mark Brand rated it it was amazing
May 21, 2014
Naomi rated it liked it
Feb 06, 2013
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Jan 31, 2017
William Dashfield
William Dashfield rated it really liked it
Sep 05, 2015
Donna Simons
Donna Simons rated it it was amazing
Mar 24, 2014
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Dec 19, 2012
Grace Foubister
Grace Foubister rated it liked it
Jan 19, 2016
Melissa Sparks
Melissa Sparks rated it it was amazing
Oct 09, 2014
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Lin Pardey (aka Mary Lin Pardey) is famous internationally for her expertise and experience in small boat sailing. Together with her husband Larry Pardey she has been sailing and writing for many years.

Lin's (& Larry's) sailing records speak for themselves:
Smallest boat to have circumnavigated contrary to the prevailing winds around all the great southern capes

Only couple to have circumnavigat
More about Lin Pardey...

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“Thing about boats is, you can always sell them if you don't like them. Can't sell kids.” 18 likes
“I had come to worry about those women who were full-time mothers and homemakers by choice. Did other, more career-minded women have the right to devalue them . . . ? Maybe it was time to slow down and look at the role restrictions imposed not only on women but the men around them, to search for the balance that could promote self-sufficiency . . .” 11 likes
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