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by David Fisichella

April 2010

My world at the moment was a white porcelain cave with smooth walls and a lake at the bottom. The toilet bowl felt cool under my chin. I had never been so violently ill. But even though my head was in the toilet, my life had been out of one for a couple of years now.

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In 1995, a mechanical engineer whose career and heart are adrift meets a blind oceanographer who spends much of her life at sea. Sailing the Arabian Sea as Amy's eyes, David Fisichella watches her adapt to progressive vision loss while he finds his own bearings, confronts the mysteries of ocean currents, survives an armed pirate attack, and learns what it means to be working for, and dating, the chief scientist.

Fisichella describes the Woods Hole crew's research in clear, straightforward language, and enlivens his account of their shipboard lives with gritty details, humor, and a refreshing sense of wonder about our oceans.

“When Fisichella meets Amy, an oceanographer with rapidly deteriorating vision, he is trapped in a crumbling marriage, stuck in an unhappy career with a defense contractor, and looking for a way out of both. He finds it when Amy invites him to take a research cruise with her at sea. Wondrous observations about the world’s oceans, encounters with Somali pirates, and most of all, the story of one woman’s devotion to her scientific career despite enormous obstacles are woven together with skill and empathy. A memoir that will entrance anyone looking for a second chance at life and love.”
Library Journal

"A lost man finds his calling, and an oceanographer with dimming eyesight illuminates the dark sea. A dissatisfied engineer, David Fisichella, stumbles upon a life at sea. As Amy Bower, a scientist at a highly respected oceanographic research institution, loses her eyesight, her research increasingly reveals the workings of the ocean. An inspiring story of dedication, perseverance, courage, and love."

--Deborah Cramer, author of Great Waters: An Atlantic Passage and Smithsonian Ocean: Our Water Our World.

"Fisichella shows a genuine appreciation of the everyday struggles faced by a blind professional.... His humorous accounts are mixed with poignant recollections as his wife's vision slowly but steadily deteriorates... He understands that a reluctance to rely on others is not a lack of trust but a fear of losing control."

--Judith M. Dixon, National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress

"A fascinating and open window into the life of an ocean scientist. If you like sea stories with pirates, exotic ports of calls and unforgettable characters, this book is for you. If you want a page turner that will have you laughing out loud one minute and on the edge of your seat the next, block out a couple of hours before you begin, because you won't stop. If you appreciate good writing and descriptions that put you right in the picture, this book will come alive for you. If you want to be inspired by one woman who faces the challenges of disability and the glass ceiling and triumphs every day and every time, you will love this book. Amy Bower, an SEA alumna, shows us that vision is far more than eyesight and limits are just an horizon that beckons. And if you want a love story that shows the best of human nature, get this book. The ocean covers seven-tenths of the planet, but in Dave Fishichella's wonderful story you will find ten-tenths of a good read."

--John K. Bullard, president, Sea Education Association


A LeapSci Book

ISBN 978-1-935248-10-1
228 Pages

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