Memoir recounts high jinks on high seas

“Sea Travels” is the kind of memoir that sails smoothly along in the first person as J. Holger Christensen recounts such events as taking President Harry 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.

Thanks to Christensen’s nephew, Vaughn Sherman, of Edmonds, these tales actually became a book because of Sherman’s foresight to audiotape his seafaring uncle in the 1980s before the uncle died.

Those tapes became transcribed into the book “Sea Travels: Memoirs of a Twentieth Century Master Mariner,” a memoir of hard times, history and high jinks on the high seas, as experienced by Christensen.

Sherman, a retired CIA officer, will make a presentation about the book at 6 p.m. Feb. 4 on behalf of the Marysville Historical Society at the Marysville Library, 6120 Grove St.

Heeding a request from his wife, Christensen ended his career as a merchant mariner 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.

Though he respected his wife’s request, 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.”

For more information about “Sea Travels” or Vaughn Sherman go to or

Herald staff

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