The Bight Before Christmas

Posted by Darrell Nicholson at 10:39AM - Comments: (1)

Being a lover of both boats and books, I'm always on the lookout for good stories about the sea. And being a father, I'm always happy to see a fun children's book that reminds us of our connection with the ocean. If you have any favorites, please let me know. Here's one that arrived recently at our office—just in time, it seems.

Will Swagel, the engaging publisher of Sitka, Alaska’s classified ad circular, The Sitka Soup (motto: Hearty Ingredients-Tasty Leftovers—A Dash of Silliness), has given the Christmas poem “The Night Before Christmas,” an Alaskan twist. Illustrated by former fisherman and local Sitka artist and musician Colin Herforth, "The Bight Before Christmas" replaces reindeer with coho, hootchies, and humpies—and a glossary that explains what all of these are. It also introduces the bellyfish, which according to Swagel, is “a made-up word because we needed a rhyme for jellyfish,” which gives you an idea what kind of fun he and Herforth have with the original.

If you’ve done time in Alaska, are a closet fan of the 90s TV series Northern Exposure, or appreciate the idea of orca and cod towing around a scar-faced old tar in a skiff full of toys, then you’ll enjoy Swagell and Herforth’s take on Christmas. And if you like it, your kids will probably like it, too. The locally published book is sold online at Find more information about Swagel here.

If you're still looking for some last-minute holiday gifts for the readers in your family, don't forget we've got gift subscriptions to Practical Sailor, along with a some new e-books covering everything from life rafts to boat waxes. These are a great idea for new subscribers who'd rather not sift through the online archives for a selection of articles on a broad topic. Right now, we've got packages on "Survival at Sea" and "Marine Cleaners." Upcoming e-books include sail-buying advice and man-overboard prevention.



Comments (1)

The write-up and link to Will's info do not do either him or the book justice, both are leagues greater than described. Both are fascinating parts of the Sitka culture and legend.

Posted by: JAMES M | December 15, 2011 1:11 PM    Report this comment

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