Finished September 26
Archipelago by Monique Roffey
This novel begins a year after Gavin's home was hit by a destructive wave of water during a storm, damaging the home badly and dealing a debilitating blow to his family. As the rainy season begins again, Gavin's six-year-old daughter Océan begins having nightmares about the events that changed her life, and Gavin finds himself still stuck in the depression that has been with him since that day. He makes a spontaneous decision to take his old sailbook Romany and head west from his home in Trinidad with Océan and his dog Suzy. He has no real destination at first, just moving away from the source of his and Océan's sadness, but his old dreams of sailing to the Galapagos Islands begin to surface.
Gavin regains his old comfort with sailing gradually, and for one difficult stretch advertises for someone to help, bringing a young Swedish woman, Phoebe, into their lives, and breaking into their protective aloofness. Océan's comfort with the sea increases as the trip progresses, and the two find that the sea encourages them to ponder their sadness, which has followed them, and interests them in their lives once more.
The trip takes them from Trinidad first to the Venezuelan Margarita Island, on to Los Roques, and from there to the ABC islands of Bonaire, Curacao, and Aruba. Then a long open sea stretch over to Cartagena, on to the San Blas Archipelago, through the Panama Canal and on to the Galapagos Islands.
It also exposes them to fascinating creatures on land and sea, to a wide variety of people and ways of living, and to more sadness and loss and to joy. This is the story of a father and his daughter healing together, discovering together, growing closer, and finding a way to move on. Roffey's writing is easy and flowing, bringing the world around these travellers to life, along with their feelings.
The only criticism I found was towards the end, where I felt the plot manipulated to bring about the ending.