Happy Hour in Paradise by CoralBeach

Happy Hour in Paradise
iUniverse (2009)
ISBN 9781440157950
Reviewed by Olivera Baumgartner-Jackson for Reader Views (06/10)


Many of us have certainly looked at a nice sailboat or other vessel in an exotic port and daydreamed about life on one of them. Few of us ever do it though, and for those who are brave enough to even attempt it, Coral Beach’s “Happy Hour in Paradise“ should prove to be an invaluable book to read before they even think on embarking on such an adventure.

“Happy Hour in Paradise” is a true story of a married couple, Buford and Jerry Beach, who decided to follow such a dream. Although they were first-time sailors, they decided to build a sixty-foot trimaran, Beachouse. They left Galveston, Texas in 1985 and spent the next 12 years living on the Beachouse. The book was written by their daughter, Coral, who has often joined them on board during those twelve years, and who reconstructed their fascinating journey with the help of many letters and journals her parents have written throughout their journey. Excerpts from letters and journals are linked together with pleasantly informative narrative, which makes following their journey easy and rewarding.

What I enjoyed most about this book was the great mixture of wide-eyed enthusiasm the Beaches had for the places they’ve visited and the people that have met, and the hard-core realism of the day-to-day grimness of the boat life. If you’ve ever doubted the old saying about a sailboat being “a glorified hole in the water into which one keeps pouring money,” as one of my old friends has described his lovely yacht, this book will convince you that repairs and maintenance on a boat are never ending. There is no sugarcoating of this particular issue, and Beaches described the shoddy work performed on their vessel, the wrong and faulty parts, the incredible frustration of endless waiting for work to be performed and the perennial “what-is-wrong-this-time” exasperation brilliantly. Jerry also managed to convey the abundance of daily tasks that had to be done on board, whether one liked that or not, and in conditions much less pleasant and comfortable than in one’s home on land. On the other hand they also managed to express the wonder of meeting incredible people in wondrously exotic locales, and the joys such encounters brought to them. While not everything was always heavenly in paradise, I believe the Beaches truly enjoyed the twelve years sailing the seas of this world and having each other’s company.

I have greatly enjoyed reading this well-balanced and thoughtful true-life story, “Happy Hour in Paradise,” as would, I believe, any reader who enjoys a good travel story and a well-written adventure.

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