Vaughn Sherman of Edmonds had the foresight to audio tape stories told by his seafaring uncle in the 1980s before the uncle died.
Sherman has since transcribed those tapes into a book of hard times, history and high jinks on the high seas, as experienced by his uncle, called “Sea Travels: Memoirs of a Twentieth Century Master Mariner.”
Sherman, a retired CIA officer, will make a presentation about the book at 6 p.m. Nov. 5 on behalf of the Marysville Historical Society at the Marysville Library, 6120 Grove St., Marysville.
“Sea Travels” sails along in the first person as told by the uncle, J. Holger Christensen, who recaps such events as taking President Truman salmon fishing on Puget Sound.
There are tales of terrorism and snippets about a sometimes unsavory crew as Christensen works his way from family deckhand to a man licensed to operate any merchant vessel worldwide.
In one section Christensen talks about one shady crew member:
“When we docked at New Orleans there were FBI agents waiting for the German sailor. During the two days they held him there I talked with the marshals, learning that this sailor was a Nazi who had been watched by the FBI for some time.”
Christensen ended his career as a merchant mariner for the sake of his wife after World War II. The couple went on to own a hardware store and construction company on Bainbridge Island, then a hotel in Port Townsend.
Christensen told his nephew toward the end of his life:
“Through all those years since 1947, I’ve kept current on my master’s license. … There was always the thought in the back of my mind of someday returning to the sea.”