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Deep Water Passage

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  237 Ratings  ·  53 Reviews
This engrossing adventure and . . . story of spiritual awakening and inspiration (Publishers Weekly) tells the true story of Ann Linnea, the first woman to circumnavigate Lake Superior by sea kayak.
Paperback, 240 pages
Published March 1st 1997 by Gallery Books (first published September 1st 1995)
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Jul 17, 2009 rated it did not like it
This book was so bad on so many levels, that the only thing spiritual about it was the way in which self-flagellation would have been preferable to reading the entire thing. Now, what you are no doubt asking yourself right now is "if it was so bad, why did he finish the damn thing?"
Well, pull up a chair son, and I'll tell you a tale. My relationship with this book went through 3 stages. From the very beginning, it was apparent that the prose was amateur and that the ostensible subject of kayaki
Jul 17, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book was so bad on so many levels, that the only thing spiritual about it was the way in which self-flagellation would have been preferable to reading the entire thing. Now, what you are no doubt asking yourself right now is "if it was so bad, why did he finish the damn thing?"
Well, pull up a chair son, and I'll tell you a tale. My relationship with this book went through 3 stages. From the very beginning, it was apparent that the prose was amateur and that the ostensible subject of kayaki
Mar 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Deep Water Passage: a spiritual journey at midlife by Ann Linnea
I read this book at 2 different levels, with the author leading the way. At 43, which is my current age (not anymore), the author went on a journey in a kayak around Lake Superior in search of her own selfhood. For me it was fun to read of her physical travels, having followed a similar route, although on land. Who knows, I may have been one of the tourists she waved to or conversed with. I've experienced the same extreme cold Lak
Jan 06, 2015 rated it did not like it
Oh, my aching paddling arms. Oh, my aching Psyche. Paddling around the entire Lake Superior Shore is no doubt a daunting feat and to have returned to the original dock is an accomplishment worth writing about.
There are things to be learned (via arm-chair-paddling) about the physical aspects of The Lake, the tasks at hand of each day, and I'm certain that no-one understands the mental determination, emotional roller-coaster that must occur over the course of a 9 week journey.
However. . . Note to
Apr 01, 2012 rated it liked it
I do love a good "woman-on-a-journey" memoir, whether the journey be spiritual, a physical challenge, an emotional passage, or some combination thereof. What leads me to impatience, however, is when, after setting off full of determination and confidence, the author promptly and ongoingly succombs to self-doubt and second-guessing, saying things like, "What ever made me think I could do this?", "What a crazy idea, after all." OK ... so our journies are often risky and we all have moments when ou ...more
Cara Achterberg
Mar 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
I think I gave this book four stars because I found it so fascinating. When I tried to think of what I learned or what great lesson Ann Linnea was trying to convey I came up empty. But I truly enjoyed the book and found her experience of paddling a kayak around the perimeter of She-Who-Is-Biggest (Lake Superior) amazing. She wrestles with grief, her own self image, and making a huge change at midlife, but beyond that the sheer adventure of living in the wilderness, facing dangerous situations, a ...more
Aug 25, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fict
You know, my expectations for this book and what the book turned out to actually be, were different. That always sets you up for an interesting experience as you're waiting for the book to be one thing, and it's marching in a completely different direction. I expected more "adventure" and more about the travails of the trip itself. It wanted to be more about a spiritual journey and "deep dig" into the author's grapples with grief, inadequacy, and other emotional challenges. Neither is a bad thin ...more
Jun 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, favorites
Though written in 1995, my memories of this wonderfully adventurous and soulful book remain. Ann Linnea writes of her daring and inspiring journey by kayak around the whole of Lake Superior. The day after her 43rd birthday she set off from Duluth, Minnesota on a 65 day journey in search of the unknown, the unresolved, and more than anything, herself. Beautifully written, full of danger at every turn, yet filled with the glorious bounty only Lake Superior can provide. Will she make this ...more
Apr 11, 2013 rated it liked it
I read this book before a Lake Superior kayak trip, and I found it interesting but frustrating. Linnea paddled the lake in the worst possible conditions, and I admired her persistence although I felt she should have given it up. The story borders on self-absorption as she struggles with the death of an adventure-buddy who she loved dearly. It's clear, too, that she's preparing to leave her husband. I'm not sure what I wanted from this book, but I felt it just didn't quite measure up. Her descrip ...more
Linda Robinson
May 23, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are a lot of superlatives in the description of this book, and there is no doubt the journey was daunting, dangerous and deeply transformative. It just doesn't translate to these pages. I'm reminded of my mother taking a series of 8-12 shots of a panoramic scene and then assembling the snapshots when she got her pictures. It's nearly impossible to relay the majesty of such scenery. As a paddler, I honor Ann Linnea's courage and tenacity: as a reader, I wish the dangerous, quixotic, freezin ...more
May 24, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book in a day which means it was a fairly easy read but, also, it sucked me in and I didn't want to put it down. The physical aspect of her kayaking around Lake Superior was inspiring and exciting. But the spiritual side of it and her insights into life, living, and overcoming fear was especially thought-provoking. Very Mother-Earthy. I checked it out from the library but enjoyed it so much (and want to write notes in the margins) that I'm going to purchase it. Some passages could be ...more
Katharine Holden
Apr 20, 2012 rated it it was ok
It always embarrasses me when white people offer tobacco to the Spirit, etc. I want to shout at them, "Oh, stop it. You're Lutheran. Stop playing Indian." The cringe-worthy New-Age-y spirituality irritated me, and distracted me from the story. Also, the author is not adept at writing. Her trip probably had moments of exhilaration, anxiety, fear, exhaustion, despair. But the author's writing style conveys none of this. A drab read about an exciting premise.
May 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Journeys are always both inner and outer, and this one is no exception. In navigating around Lake Superior at the age of 43, Linnea leaves her family for the summer and undergoes a midlife ritual of reappraisal. It's an often terrifying journey, and her honesty about her doubts and griefs is as courageous as the ten-feet waves she often encounters. I finished it feeling stilled, encouraged and reaching for my paddle...
Jan 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
This author made me realize that I could do anything I put my mind to. It gave me strength to get into shape to speed-walk a 1/2 marathon. Being that the setting is in my backyard, I could relate to all the places, the smells of the lake, the damp, the cold--all of it. My dream is to bicycle around Lake Superior--not quite as dangerous as kayaking but, I'm sure it would still be as strenuous. I do feel like I'm running out of time though!
Aug 08, 2013 rated it liked it
I read this while on a recent trip to the shores of Lake Superior - picked it up at a small shop in Grand Marais, MN because I was needing a book to sink into. The writing is mediocre - the passages of "dialogues" were tedious and annoying. Despite this, I enjoyed the parts that gave details of the paddle, plus I am one who likes reading books about women on emotional/spiritual/physical journeys. It doesn't measure up to other books I've read within this genre, but it was an ok read.
Barbara P
Aug 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Two people kiacked around Lake Superior and this book tells their story. It took them 3 months and they faced every kind of weather and once nearly died in a storm. At the end of each day they when to shore and set up their tents, ate their meals and slept. About every 3 weeks they met a friend or family member who brought them fresh supplies. It is a wonderful story of true adventure and spiritual applications.
M. Lynne
Sep 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who likes adventure stories
I really loved this book. I love the Upper Peninsula but so far have only been to the southern shore of Lake Superior. I could relate to so much in this book as woman. Although I could never physically do anything like this, and could never get into so much of the mystical stuff, I appreciated reading such emotional honesty.
Jan 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, spirituality
This book reminded me of Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love. Ann Linnea, with her good family friend Paul spend one summer circumnavigated Lake Superior. Tested physically, spiritually and emotionally, she questions all aspect of her life including her relationships, perceptions and understanding of life as she has lived it in the past.
Sep 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book and many others make me wonder, what is it about our culture and society that makes certain people "wake up" and respond to really unusual calls to accomplish amazing physical or mental feats in order to find meaning and direction in their lives.

This story in particular is worth a read. As a kayaker, I can't comprehend how Ann Linnea survived this journey. You go girl!
Apr 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this book as I could really relate to it in the fact that it's about a 43 yo woman who kayaks around Lake Superior. I'm not THAT old (: but I did hit a milestone bday this year and I LOVE Lake Superior....easy to read, some might find it boring but it was a good read for me at this time in my life. (:
Aug 03, 2015 rated it liked it
There was something about this voyage that put me off. It was this sense of self-absorption I got from the author. I think this is probably not a true perception, but I could not shake it. I felt worried for her and her family and that it was unfair of her to take such risks. My own prejudices revealed.
May 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
It's been a few years since I read this, but it's down as one of my favorites. I loved her description of the amazing adventure. Since Lake Superior has been a vacation destination on many occasions for me over the years with my late husband and children, I have been on shore of may of the spots she describes which makes it extra special.
Sep 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I loved and totally connected with this book. The writing was spectacularly brilliant and her journey, both the physical and spiritual, was conveyed to the reader in clear and understandable language. Her life experience was so meaningful to me and I applaud her for her bravery and willingness to share such a personal journey. Highly recommend this book.
Feb 16, 2015 rated it liked it
[A]ll we're really here for is to help one another out.

The cycle of grief has its own timetable. Until that cycle is honored and completed we are moving along life's path with an anchor down.
Oct 19, 2015 rated it liked it
There is a connectedness to nature that I enjoyed. I have to agree with some other reviewers that it just didn't come together. The juxtoposition of physical endurance and spiritual journey never seemed to mesh.
Aug 01, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an interesting memoir. I liked how Ann's story incorporated a lot of the traditions/wisdom that I've heard about from my First Nations friends. I could have done without the few swear words and implied 'sensuality', but they weren't deal-breakers for me.
Oct 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Joyce by: Jacque Nelson
This is a story of one womans quest to find her value in life. She is a mother and wife, but now that she is in her mid-life she feels the need to find out more about herself. In the challenge to claim her spirituality, she sets out on a quest to conquer the tracherous waters of Lake Superior.
Apr 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: haveread
I always learn something(s) about myself when I read a book. That is why I would recommend reading this one. Phil and Jeanee gave it to me. I thought of Phil each day I spent reading this book because of his canoeing and the kayaking in the book. A peaceful book. Now I will pass it on to Lee.
Oct 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone of a certain age who wonders what they are capable of
Recommended to Marcia by: Elsie
This book was about a woman who kayaked around Lake incredible feat....but it was really about her challenges, both physical (which were amazing), spiritual and psychological. Her journey inspired me and i was unable to put the book down. This one will stick with me for a long time.
Jul 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I loved every word, line and page of this book. The writing is superb, and having camped along the north shore of Lake Superior in Ontario in 1985, I had vivid memories of the beauty of that rugged coast. I can't recommend this book highly enough.
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“My deepest adult friendships have always bubbled up from the spring of shared enthusiasm over mountains climbed, sunsets watched, or lakes paddled. The lessons of the wilderness have not always been easy, but they have been profound.” 1 likes
“...I won't ever again allow doubt to come in and dissolve my ability to live life as fully as I can.” 1 likes
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