I sent a copy of "Coasting" to a contemporary of mine who was at sea, on different ships to me, in 1975. He rang me yesterday and spent almost an hour on the phone telling me how exactly I'd captured the era and how much he'd enjoyed the story. "I felt I was sitting there watching it happen,"he said. "I remember the ship you based the Dargo on and the number of times I cursed that damned control air system."
We chuckled together about remembered incidents at the "Breckie Creek" hotel and at "Cleo's" in Fremantle, reliving our relative youth in its more madcap moments.
When the call ended, I sat for some time, grinning my pleasure at the compliments he'd paid me in enjoying the book so much and thinking it so true.
It was what I'd set out to do in 1972.