Equipped with his cheerful optimism and a pith helmet, this Odysseus in a dinghy takes you with him from the borders of north Wales to the Black Sea - 4,900 kilometers over salt and fresh water, under sail, at oars, or at the end of a tow rope - through twelve countries, 282 locks, and numerous trials and adventures, including an encounter with Balkan pirates.
A.J. Mackinnon was born in Australia in 1963. He got hDiploma in Education and a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature, Linguistics and Anglo-Saxon from the University of Adelaide. His teaching career started at Westminster school, Adelaide, where he taught English and Drama for four years. AFter this time he traveled overland England by yacht, hitch-hiking, river-canoe and even horseback-spending a brief time in a Chinese prison after accidentally swimming into China and being attacked by Komodo Dragons, amongst other experiences.
In England he taught at Sherborne and Cheltenham before becoming Head of Drama at Ellesmere College, Shropshire, where he also taught English. From Ellesmere he launched his unlikely voyage aboard his dinghy Jack de Crow. He is currently teaching English and Drama at Geelong Grammar School in Australia where he also coaches sailing.