author:  Between two harbors  &  five weeks to jamaica


By Online Book Club

Five Weeks to Jamaica by Doug Oudin is a book in the fiction section. It traces the journey of the passengers from the coast of Mexico to Jamaica, aboard the cruise ship, Explorer.

Five weeks of non-stop fun and adventuring at the sea? Definitely yes! Kurt Decker, his girlfriend Madison, his brother Larry and their friend, Marcos, thought they were getting a good deal when they bought their passage aboard the luxury cruise ship bound for Jamaica, for five hundred dollars each. However, their vacation seemed doomed even before they set sail. Some of their fellow passengers opted out of the tour, when they saw that the ship definitely did not qualify as a ‘luxury’ cruise ship, along with some other issues. Despite their disappointment, Kurt and his group elect to go ahead with the tour. Thus begins their journey on the ‘ship of fools’, where the ship’s inhabitants slowly become a close group of friends, as they bond over their discomfort, troubles, romances, joy, and the breathtaking wonders of the ocean.

The book is written in third person, covering the individual stories of the passengers which are effortlessly intertwined with central theme of their tumultuous but exciting journey across the ocean. The author has penned down a story with rich and colorful descriptions, which leave a strong visual imprint on the reader’s mind. Such as this description of the sunset aboard the ship, “Ahead of the ship, the undulating surface of the sea absorbed the rainbow colors of the sky, turning the glistening surface into a surreal stratum of brilliance. Where the sea met the sky, colors danced about like the interior of a kaleidoscope.” The vivid detailing of the journey makes the story come alive for the readers, and gives a very realistic feel to the tale.

The author has sketched well-developed characters for the readers. The characters display the complex human emotions fairly well. The emotional turmoil faced by some of the characters and their ensuing troubled romances, are captured nicely by the author. There is an air of believability about the characters, especially how they slowly come to trust each other and overcome their inhibitions. The struggles of the group and their determination to enjoy the trip, despite the troubles, dangers and a few mishaps, have been portrayed very well by the author.This book will appeal to all the readers who love the sea. It will also appeal to those readers who love traveling, if not the ocean.

By MARIA SILK:  July 2016

This book is a collection of memoirs from decades of time spent working on the water in Catalina. Having already read the author's fiction book, 5 Weeks to Jamaica, I was interested to learn more about island living from a non-fiction point of view. There is so much in this book that it is hard to condense it all in a brief review, but readers can expect to learn a lot about boats, storms, marine life, the rescue process, pros and cons of island living and what it was like to raise a family there. The author is very real, and these stories include a little bit of everything: the adventurous, intense, beautiful, scary, and downright awe-inspiring (swimming with an oarfish!). I enjoy reading biographies of those who have seen and done enough to fill multiple lifetimes, and this does not disappoint. The biggest thing I have come away with from this book is the utmost admiration and respect for harbor patrols, Baywatch, and the Coast Guard, and their combined rescue attempts that have saved so many.

By Robert Murcott: May 2015

​I found Five weeks to Jamaica to be a great read! I was hooked just from reading the Preface. I have been a licensed Yacht Delivery Captain for almost thirty years and have been to many of the locations described in the book (very accurately by Doug Oudin). The whole premise of a group of people from many different walks of life, willing to take that leap of faith on a far from pristine yacht, with a questionable crew and ship on a dangerous and uncertain journey staggers the imagination! This cruise would be filled with possible problems and mishaps with the best of ships and crews and to venture out of the harbor on that ship was obviously going to be the start of a wild and uncertain ride. All aspects of this voyage was masterfully written by Doug Oudin. He brought all the characters to life and put you in the middle of this wild ride. I read the book in two days and cannot wait for his next one! 

By Dan Tackernoff:  

​Just finished reading Doug Oudin’s book, “Five Weeks to Jamaica”. I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it. Knowing Doug and overseeing the editing of his work for over 20 years (The Log, Catalina Islander Newspaper), I did not think he could step away from non-fiction. “Between Two Harbors, Reflections of a Catalina Harbormaster”, was easy for him. It is an amazing account of boating life, seamanship and tragedies on our little island off the coast of California. But for him to crossover to fiction, at first, I had my doubts. Boy, was I mistaken. Doug’s ability to render this story in a captivating, flowing style proved me wrong. It is fascinating and his knowledge of boats and harbors down the Pacific Coast and through the Panama Canal is spot-on. You felt like you were sitting there having drinks with the characters of the book under that palapa in the Caribbean. I was familiar with many of the harbors, which made it special for me. I enjoyed the journey, thank you Doug. Your writing has matured considerably and I look forward to your next effort.