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Den Helder



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Den Helder by Frank Ridgley
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Life is a finite series of events; some events are more significant than others. As a young man on his first professional tour, American merchant mariner Tony Kirkland experiences Den Helder, a coastal village in Holland, for the first time. The lasting impression and impact on his life is profound. Tony believes the ocean to be the finest mystery on earth and he is drawn to the sea almost in the form of an obsession. As more of an introvert, an observer of life, he attends college in Galveston as a marine biology major; he wants to be the next Jacques Cousteau. Elaine, his high school sweetheart in San Antonio, decides early that she is going to marry him. She joins Tony in Galveston and they wed while he is still in school. She is his rock and he loves her dearly. Tony had the perfect life; the adventure of sailing the seas and the finest wife/lover/friend a man could ever want. Everything in his life was calculated and each day unfolded as planned; until one day, the unforeseen occurs and he is devastated. His conflict begins in the summer of 1981 while on a research ship in the North Sea. Far away from family and friends, he sails into the port of Den Helder when, after a terrible storm at sea, an angel holds him afloat. Anika Dekker, a recent business graduate from the University of Amsterdam, was working as a barmaid in her hometown of Den Helder waiting for the right career opportunity. Her daily contact with overbearing and infatuated sailors offered amusement, but she easily kept them at bay - until, in a moment of solicitude, she suddenly realizes she has fallen in love with a sailor - the very type she avoided. Her heartache turns to misery as he is already taken.Following separate paths, sixteen years pass, as does their youthful exuberance, with Anika in Holland and Tony in America. In the summer of 1997 they are reunited in Den Helder; but with the promise of any future together fading, Tony and Anika must overcome the years of disillusionment to rediscover their vision of youth. Den Helder is a story of passion, of man's infinite capacity to love, and of how we cope with life after tragedy has struck. It also is an adventure that gives the reader a chance to experience life at sea. Den Helder was my first professional port of call and it changed my life. This story was inspired by that three month tour.
Release date Australia
August 1st, 2006
Country of Publication
United States
Outskirts Press
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