View Full Version : The Time A Guy And His Wife Sailed Across The Ocean In An Amphibious Jeep

01-03-2013, 10:57 PM
I think I just found me a new book that I need to read...

The Time A Guy And His Wife Sailed Across The Ocean In An Amphibious Jeep

They had spent 14 days in darkness. Late on the morning of the 15th day, December 2, 1950, light finally peeked through a crack in the curtain that hung over the passenger-side window. Ben lifted the curtain and looked outside. The sky was blue, and the sun, as big as a dinner plate, shone brightly. The storm clouds had retreated to the horizon. Ben took a dirty tissue from his shirt pocket, swabbed his eyes, and lifted himself from behind the steering wheel.

It had been four full months since Ben and his wife, Elinore, steered the tiny amphibious jeep they called Half-Safe into the frigid waters of Halifax Harbor and headed east toward Africa. It was the first time anyone had tried to circumnavigate the world by land and sea in a single vehicle, let alone one that was eight times smaller than any motorized boat that had ever crossed the Atlantic. It was a harebrained scheme, and the Carlins knew it. That was the point.

Adventure for its own sake had first attracted Ben, an engineer from rural Western Australia, to Elinore, an American Red Cross nurse, when the two met in India at the end of World War II. And there could be no more outlandish adventure than an attempt to "drive" across the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans and actually drive across the continents in between in an automobile. Especially this automobile-a converted 1942 GPW (General Purpose Willys) amphibious jeep built by Ford for the U.S. Army. It looked like a cross between a 4x4 and a rowboat, with a stubby pointed front, a square rear end, and a five-by-ten steel box on top. It was half car, half boat, and entirely ridiculous. The GPW amphibious jeeps were designed to putter through shallow streams for a few minutes at a time and usually failed even at that; they had proved so useless in the field that the Army canceled production. They were never intended to be used on the ocean.

Helpless and lost in the middle of 41 million square miles of open water, Ben and Elinore realized that their comic little adventure was quickly becoming a suicide mission. Both were in their thirties, but looked as though they had aged decades in just a few weeks. Elinore, famished and vomiting anchovies into a tin mug, had gone from voluptuous to skeletal. Ben looked worse. His skin was pale, a delta of stress lines spread across his forehead, and his eyes were baggy and bloodshot. His face was caked with exhaust soot, engine grease, and sweat. But now, weeks into their Atlantic crossing, the Carlins had no choice but to suck it up and keep following the compass east, toward the coast of the Spanish colony of Western Sahara, toward solid ground and safety. Ben squinted out Half-Safe's back hatch and looked at the deck. The jeep was sitting dangerously low in the water. Waves washed over the windshield and side windows, threatening to swamp the cabin. The cloth sea anchor, designed to drag in the water to stabilize the vehicle, floated behind Half-Safe in tatters, shredded by the storm.

More of this story can be found here:

And the book can be purchased here:

01-03-2013, 11:00 PM
I was looking for something to read next. Thanks for posting this!!

01-03-2013, 11:10 PM
Well, it's only 57 pages long but, I bought it anyway. :yup:

01-03-2013, 11:24 PM
Looks good. It's only $.99 without the pictures.

Did you watch the little video? I wonder if that was that the Queen Mary in the background at the end?

01-08-2013, 07:45 PM
Finally got a chance to read this short book and enjoyed it very much. I definitely would recommend it.