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Red Sea

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176 pages
Fourteen-year-old Libby didn't want to go on a year long sailing adventure with her mother and her stepfather, Duncan, and she isn't about to let them forget it. Traveling through the Red Sea, Libby causes them to be late and make a dangerous crossing alone. When modern-day pirates attack, Duncan is killed and Libby's mother is left seriously injured and unconscious. Libby is left alone on a crippled boat to find safety and help for her mother. Libby must call on all her strength and face some hard truths about herself if she is to survive and reach land. A thrilling tale of one girl's struggle for survival against the elements and her inner demons, Red Sea is adventure writing at its best.
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RED SEA DIàE TUŝO
Orca฀Book฀Publishers
Text copyright ©  Diane Tullson
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by any information storage and retrieval system now known or to be invented, without permission in writing from the publisher.
National Library of Canada Cataloguing in Publication Data
Tullson, Diane, 1958-Red Sea / Diane Tullson.
ISBN 1-55143-331-1
I. Title.
PS8589.U6055R42 2005 jC813’.6 C2005-903271-5
First published in the United States, Library of Congress Control Number: 
Summary:Aer being attacked by Red Sea pirates, fourteen-year-old Libby is le alone on a hostile sea, far from home, to fight for survival.
Orca Book Publishers gratefully acknowledges the support for its publishing programs provided by the following agencies: the Government of Canada through the Book Publishing Industry Development Program (î), the Canada Council for the Arts, and the British Columbia Arts Council.
Design and typesetting: John van der Woude Cover photograph: Getty Images
Orca Book Publishers  ô Box  Station  Victoria,  ç Canada  ŝ
Orca Book Publishers  ô Box  Custer, à ûŝà -
www.orcabook.com Printed and bound in Canada
     •      
For Brendan
anks to the usual suspects, Shelley Hrdlitschka and Kim Denman, and to Susan Goguen for their help with the manuscript.
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O N E
TÉ ôà ô É çî is paved but dusty, and my san-dals atomize small clouds that si over my pant legs, my shirt, my chin and nose and eyebrows, then every strand of my hair until I’m dun-colored and faceless. I can taste it, Djibouti dust. It’s like particles of people and animals and African desert as old as anything is on earth, mixed with crumbling plaster and car exhaust. I draw attention; anyone new or different draws attention in these places, especially a girl, alone. Not that it bothers me. Guys here are not much different than guys at home. I know it bothers my mother that I’m alone, and that’s reason enough to do it. It’s the
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only time I have to myself, living on a sailboat with her and Duncan. I’ve seen walk-in closets bigger than our boat, but it could be theQueen Maryand still not be big enough. Below me, along the seawall, the sailboats jostle at the dock lines, not so much from the breeze as from all the activity on the boats. It’s pre-passage frenzy: crates of fresh food from the market stacked three-high by the boats, jerry cans of water and diesel line the seawall. We’ve waited here three weeks for the right weather for this Red Sea passage. Duncan’s boat is moored near the end of the line. I can see him and Mom on the deck of the boat fussing with the mainsail. I can tell from the bony hunch of Duncan’s shoul-ders that he’s stressed. At his age, he should think about his heart. Mom stands next to him, trying to look like she knows what she’s doing. She has more experience sailing than I do—about five days more. She took a crash course, so to speak, when they decided to take a year off from their college teaching jobs and fulfill Duncan’s later-than-midlife crisis. Two boats over, Emma is scrubbing the deck of her boat with a long-handled brush. She looks up, sees me and waves. It’s not actually her boat. She and her brother, Mac, are delivery skippers. I like Emma. She’s younger than most of this sailing crowd, twenty-eight, and she looks younger than that. She’s wearing a ball cap, backward, and a bikini, her standard attire when she’s working on the boat. Unlike the other women on these boats, Emma can actually wear a bikini. Slipping off my daypack, I rummage for the can of beans I’ve found for her, then wave it over my head. She
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shades her eyes to see, then gives me a thumbs-up. Emma likes beans for breakfast. She’s British. She calls us Cana-dianscolonists. Smiling, I head down to her boat. She’s dropped her brush and meets me on the plank suspended between the stern of her boat and the seawall. When I step toward her, she holds up a hand to bar me from the plank. I say, “I’ll take my shoes off.” She shakes her head. “You’re all dust, Lib. You’ll make mud.” “Well, I guess you don’t want the beans very badly.” With a sigh she says, “Alright. But brush yourself off.” I do as she says, kick off my sandals and climb into the boat. Under the cockpit awning, the shade is cool refuge. I settle onto the cushioned bench and peel off my hat. “Why are you washing the decks when tomorrow they’ll be cov-ered in salt?” Emma drinks from a water bottle, then tosses it to me. “I always clean the boat before a passage.” I empty the bottle. I never used to drink water at home. “So, it’s some sailors’ superstition?” Emma flops down across from me. “Maybe. It’s been lucky so far. Main reason though is that cleaning the boat is a good way to check things over. So, you found me some beans?” I lob the can to her. She says, “Where did you find it? No, don’t tell me. I don’t care.” She blows the dust off the top. “No bulges, no rust. Bonus.” “You’d probably eat them anyway.” She laughs. “Mac would.”
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We met Emma and Mac in Australia. Duncan bought his boat there, and Emma and Mac were picking up this one to deliver to Tel Aviv. In Djibouti we joined up with a couple of other boats to travel north, up the Red Sea to the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean. Mom wants to sail in Italy, the Isle of Capri and all that. Italy is still a long ways away. I say, “Where’s Fanny?” Emma thumbs toward the side of the boat. “Feline ter-ror. She dumped my basil plant last night, so we threw her overboard.” She laughs at my reaction. “Put your eyebrows back, you know we didn’t. She’s sleeping. I rigged her up a basket hammock that she quite likes. Hopefully, she won’t get seasick.” Fanny is a seawall kitten Emma and Mac adopted from here, one of hundreds that live off the town garbage. You never see an old seawall cat. I would have brought home a dozen by now except Duncan says he’s allergic to cats. Right. “Can I go see her?” Emma feigns exasperation. “Who do you really come visit, the cat or me?” “I brought you beans, didn’t I?” She shrugs. “I don’t suppose you found chocolate?” “On the next shipment from Paris, not that I could afford it anyway. I’d have to marry a Somali general and bear him ten brown babies.” “Steep price to pay even for chocolate, Lib, and it would only melt.” She gets up and heads through the small door to the companionway below. “Come on, you can help me plot our course for tomorrow.”
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I follow her down the steps into the boat. “at sounds too much like school.” “Have you done any schoolwork today?” “No, Mother.” Inside, the boat curtains are drawn against the heat of the sun. I blink as my eyes adjust to the dimness. “Although I did find an Internet café and read two newspapers from home. It’s snowing there.” Emma shudders. “It always snows in Canada.” “Technically, somewhere, like the polar ice cap maybe. Not in Vancouver, even in winter. In Vancouver when it snows they close the schools. It’s like a gi.” “And you checked your e-mail?” I know what she’s asking. She’s asking if Ty has written me. It’s almost three months now I’ve been gone. I e-mail him every day when we’re in port. I say to Emma, “I heard from my friend Jesse and she says Ty is moping.” Actually, what she said is that school is boring and Mr. Waring, the É teacher, is up on charges of sexual misconduct and that she has a new boyfriend, like that’s news. “Ty is probably too sad to write.” e gray tabby kitten is curled asleep on a scrap of tow-eling in a round basket that Emma has suspended over the seating area. Emma rocks the basket gently. “She has the best berth in the boat.” Reaching in, I gather the kitten into my hands. e kitten startles, then stretches and yawns. I cradle it under my chin. Emma says, “Fickle thing likes you best.” e kitten purrs as I stroke it. Some of the seawall kittens