Home > Book Club, Humboldt Bay, Humboldt County > JULY BOOKCLUB PICK: Night Crossings


The Humboldt Herald book club is on, kids.  Fetch your reading glasses and adjust the light.  Unless you can download this local book on your doohickie you’ll have to find a copy with actual pages.

The first book for the newly formed — and first of its kind — Humboldt County blog-based book club is Night Crossings by Jon Humboldt Gates.  The book jacket describes its contents thusly:

At night, a harbor entrance becomes a dark and unpredictable corridor.  One of hte most dangerous harbor crossings in North America is the entrance to Humboldt Bay.  for years, mariners have traded tales of shipwredks and narrow excapes on the bar.  The five stories retold here are the recollections of sailors who survived the shifting winds and treacherous waters.  In 1933, two teenagers pilot a small sailboat on a midnight adventure.  Forty years later, Christmas Eve turns into a nightmare for the fishermen aboard the LADY FAME. Theirs are two of the voices that evoke the haunting uncertainty of a night crossing.

The official discussion will be in the middle of July, to give readers time to find and read the book, if they haven’t already. Hit up your local bookstores, library or the Humboldt County Historical Society for a copy.

  1. Mike Buettner
    June 12, 2011 at 3:48 pm

    Great choice.

  2. skippy
    June 12, 2011 at 3:59 pm


  3. June 12, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    That’s a good one.

  4. Seageezer
    June 12, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    One of my favorite books….. :-)

  5. walt
    June 12, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    Liberry has six copies, two in EKA. They open at noon on Tues. Proof you’re NOT Heraldo is required.

  6. skippy
    June 12, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    Both Booklegger and Eureka Books each have 2 new copies at $12.95.

    Humboldt County Historical Society also has copies for the same price, and slightly less ($11.65) for members.

  7. June 12, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    I must be doing something wrong; with work, school, kids & kayaking I can’t put an hour together to read a book. Oh, wait! If I stopped spending those few extra minutes every day reading this blog, among others; then I would have the time….Hmmm? Prolly not.

  8. Anonymous
    June 12, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    Have you ever actually been in a boat that crossed our bar? I would be interested in comments about that. I have, in a 16 foot runabout and didn’t notice a thing. Of course, I was 12 years old. I guess it gets really prickly and stressful!

  9. Ron Kuhnel
    June 12, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    A great book and made even more enjoyable by one of the stories being about some people I know.

    Superb choice.

  10. Percy
    June 13, 2011 at 7:50 am

    Depending on various factors but mainly the ocean swell hight and frequency and the tide cycle it can be downright undoable in a small boat. Luckily our local socialist NOAA weather station supported by our hard earned tax dollars supplies us with lots of tools and information to make a reasonably informed decision on weather or not to cross the bar or stay in one.

  11. June 13, 2011 at 7:51 am

    I know 2 people who have gone in the water crossing the bar, both survived with the assistance of the coast guard. thank god for the coast guard…

  12. Plain Jane
    June 13, 2011 at 7:59 am

    Many of us know people who have capsized crossing the bar, some lucky and some not so much. I’ve never crossed the bar in anything approaching dangerous conditions and wouldn’t on a bet.

  13. Anonymous
    June 13, 2011 at 8:04 am

    I’ve heard Rob Arkley doesn’t like this book.

  14. Kubla
    June 13, 2011 at 9:57 am

    Humboldt County Library has six copies, but only four are available to check out. One copy is reference only and I just put a hold on one of the copies.

  15. 69er
    June 13, 2011 at 10:11 am

    Have crossed the bar many times, in my 12′ aluminum, various other small fishing boats and in several commercial boats. Felt the safest in my 12 footer powered by 7 1/2 horse merc. Many salmon brought in with that little boat.

  16. Not A Native
    June 13, 2011 at 11:00 am

    Why now? This seems like a reaction to get on a bandwagon, inspired by the book club revealed in the Lovelace emails. Imitation the sincerest form of flattery.

  17. Plain Jane
    June 13, 2011 at 11:42 am

    On the contrary, Nan, this has been suggested many times over the years (several times by me). Do you ever put your negativity away and just enjoy something?

  18. Not A Native
    June 13, 2011 at 12:38 pm

    I asked only: why now?(and made a speculation of the answer) Whatever suggestions were made years ago obviously weren’t acted on. And they weren’t referenced now. So I doubt anyone other that you remember about it, PJ. I’m not negative on the idea of reading books, I read alot of them. Just asking about this idea’s inspiration. Not much different than asking the reasons why a particular law or regulation is being proposed or enacted. Isn’t wondering how things have come to be a good and positive thing?

  19. Plain Jane
    June 13, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    Your speculation that it was “jumping on the bandwagon” and “imitation” is the negative part, Nan.

  20. Not A Native
    June 13, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    Well, the only book club of recent notoriety was the one of notables, mentioned in the Lovelace email. There as a mini-stir about it due to endemic small town interest in social networks and cliques.

    What other news has appeared on local book clubs recently, pj? Maybe the lurkers can now assume none of the people in the Loveless book club are H. And maybe H. just saw the library Summer read-a book challenge for school kids and is reverting to his/her childhood? Hows that for ‘positive’? sheesh!

  21. tra
    June 13, 2011 at 1:30 pm


  22. Plain Jane
    June 13, 2011 at 2:23 pm

    The book club came up this time in the discussion of Rex Bohn when a poster said he always wants to know which books candidates read in the last year, NAN. You participated in the thread, remember?

  23. Anonymous
    June 13, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    book club, yup, heraldo’s a chick.

  24. Not A Native
    June 13, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    Is Rex Bohn in a book club pj? News to me. Moving in that thread from ‘what have you read’ to ‘book club’ is a long stretch. Very different activities. Unless of course, ‘book club’ is already in mind from other recent events. Again, it was H. who first used the club word. BTW, misspellings abound but I don’t love less Mr. Lovelace.

  25. Decline To State
    June 13, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    Really, a book club??? This blog has veered off in an unexpected and strange direction…I found “Crossing the Bar” to hardly be what I would call “provocative.”

  26. tra
    June 13, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    Decline to State may have a point here — there may not be all that much to “discuss” about this book. Then again, given how argumentative many of us are, we’ll probably find something to talk about.

  27. Walt
    June 13, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    DTS 3:05. . .The book is “Night Crossings”

    “Crossing the Bar” goes like this:

    Sunset and evening star,
    And one clear call for me!
    And may there be no moaning of the bar,
    When I put out to sea,

    But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
    Too full for sound or foam,
    When that which drew from out the boundless deep
    Turns again home.

    Twilight and evening bell,
    And after that the dark!
    And may there be no sadness of farewell;
    When I embark;

    For though from out our bourne of Time and Place
    The flood may bear me far,
    I hope to see my Pilot face to face
    When I have crossed the bar.

    Alfred Lord Tennyson (NOT LOCAL)

  28. Anonymous
    June 13, 2011 at 7:29 pm


    I like to read and talk to friends about books, but that’s not what I come to the Herald for. What happened to “provoking the community”?

  29. Plain Jane
    June 13, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    There is no reason to expect that a book discussion will in any way interfere with other discussions of a more provocative nature, especially when we are discussing political and / or economic books. I think it will be interesting to see how people of different political persuasions process information from the same source rather than disparate and contradictory sources on the same subject..

  30. Anonymous
    June 13, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    PJ, I’m sure you are right that a book club discussion would not interfere with the topical posts on this site, as long as they are given their own section.

    I understand why people jumped on the idea, especially for the first selection, of a local book. However, I agree with whoever posted before that I would prefer to see books put forth that were more directed to the subjects/views debated here. Just seems more “in line” with the purpose of this blog. Provoking! Let’s not lose sight of that.

  31. Walt
    June 14, 2011 at 5:41 am

    Is “provoking” just about “Why don’t you and him fight?” and “You’re a poopoo head!–You’re a BIGGER poopoo head!!”? Does it have to be testicular (or ovarian) rather than cerebral?

  32. June 14, 2011 at 8:27 am

    Ok, time to jump in on this before it descends into the usual name-calling. I haven’t been able to read for pleasure since I went back to school, yeah I know; Boo Hoo for me. Anyway, the discussion of “Pulp-Fiction” type reading has got me thinking about books in the past that actually had some impact. Not a mean feat for the “Jackyln Susanne” type of books that are printed by the millions in America.
    In the far distant past I read Kings: “The Shining” (Don’t get me started on King. Number one symptom of a failed US publishing industry of the recent past.) Anyway, I read the book during Washington’s coastal version of a Hurricane. The lights went out; so reading by lantern the back door of the mobile-home flew open with the wind and my two brave great-danes attempted to crawl under the three-inch space under the couch. So I have to admit, King has the ability to give a fright. but the conditions have to be just right.
    My worst ever authors:
    Jacklyn Susanne
    Joan Collins
    Stephen King
    John Saul
    JK Rowlings
    There are many others, their books are usually published by the billions and dominate the corporate bookstores upon their release and quickly climb the New York Times Bestseller Lists. It’s like junk-food for the intellect.

    I wonder if anyone has crossed the bar in Kayaks? I have seen boats cross during high waves with more than half the length of the keel sticking out of the water like a surfer.

  33. June 15, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    John Humboldt Gates, the greatest, I like Falks Claim too.

  34. June 15, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    Movie Dad, I crossed navigational locks in a Kayak, they made me go attache to a boat with a motor, which I fetl was far more dangerous, but it was still a rush. Owl

  35. Bar hopper
    July 15, 2011 at 10:04 am

    I have read the book and found it a great read. I have also crossed the Bar in all kinds of conditions. My mom has 200′ of dock space in King Salmon. During the sport salmon season the seas are typically at their least dangerous. That’s when you see 14′ boats coming and going over the Bar. Fog is the biggest hazard.I have friends that have saved lost fisherman while surf kayaking the North Jetty. I have also seen people loose their life crossing the Bar. In one instance I saw a 24′ sailboat explode under the weight of a 20′ plus wave. The largest floating part left after the wave crushed it was the beer cooler. I have seen friends tow surf into equally killer waves.The Bar is a great subject and I think Gates does a great job telling the stories

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