Paul and Sheryl Shard have been exploring the world under sail together since 1989. Along the way, they decided to use their television backgrounds to create a travel-based series called Distant Shores. The show launched in the late 1990s and today, it airs internationally on The Travel Channel, on WealthTV in the United States, and on DVD. Each 30-minute show combines entertainment and education to showcase a different destination: from the pubs of Ireland to the fjords of Norway, the canals of Par to the Rock of Gibraltar. It will be only a matter of episodes before you’ll want to cast off your lines and follow in their wake. In each episode, the Shards integrate history and fun facts with sailing and travel tips. They survey local ports and water-based activities, and then go ashore to talk to locals and embark on tours. They cover a wide spectrum of cultural topics, including art, music, cuisine, flora, social gatherings and even the unique ways in which different sailors tie up in different local marinas. In season seven they first visit Sweden, where they learn the local way to prepare crayfish, and then continue on to Panama, where they learn about molas, a traditional woven fabric often worn as a shirt. Season eight begins in a pub on the southeast coast of Ireland, and continues with a tour of the country’s lock systems. Nice work, if you can get it!
Production quality is impressive, considering Paul and Sheryl film almost everything themselves. They rig cameras everywhere, from the top of their mast to their bow pulpit, and integrate music, photos and maps to help illustrate their experiences. The two are naturals in front of a camera, visibly thrilled by all they’re doing and seeing, and their enthusiasm can’t help but infect viewers as well. Don’t be surprised if after watching a couple of episodes you find yourself trying to figure out a way to go cruising yourself.
DVDs are available at www.distantshores.ca for $24.95 a season or Seasons 1-7 for $99.