Norwegian Captain Terje Andersen sailed around the globe in the mid- to late-1800s, among the last generation to pilot wooden ships powered by the wind. Braving wars, deadly storms, scurvy, unscrupulous merchants and South American revolutionaries, Andersen and his crew carried saltpeter from Iquique, salt to Oslo, coal from Newcastle, wool to Liverpool, and much more -- part of an evolving global trade network in the early days of the Industrial Revolution. Andersen explored diverse cultures at a time when few people traveled the globe, recording his keen observations in places like the American South soon after the abolition of slavery, the tiny volcanic island where Napoleon was exiled, Haiti, South Africa, Indonesia and other far-flung locales. In his first-hand account, Andersen provides meticulous records of the daily life of a sailor; documents the geography and weather that shaped their fate; and reflects sometimes humorously, sometimes broodingly on his own existence as a Norwegian man of the sea.
This is a lightly edited English translation of Andersen's own writings, along with contextual material from Norwegian experts, of interest to anyone fascinated by maritime history, the legacy of shipping in Norway – "Europe's first seafaring nation" – or simply a thoughtful man's reflections on his life and the wide world around him.