Haven’t finished your last-minute shopping? Don’t forget the lovely little book “One of My Nine Lives” by Lucius (the cat loved by Anna Tomlinson). Any cat lover will adore this treasure, now available at Bramhall & Dunn. All proceeds go to the Animal Shelter of Martha’s Vineyard.

Joan Druett, the maritime author and my good friend, lives in New Zealand. She has a new book coming in January, “Tupaia, Captain Cook’s Polynesian Navigator.” It’s a fascinating story. From the moment Druett introduced the young native child, I was entranced with Tupaia. [Too-PAY-ah]

As a baby on the island of Raiatea he could swim before he could walk. By the age of six he was taken on voyages, learning that the ocean was a web of busy seaways. The boy was taught to keep a mental ship’s log, keeping details of the course, the wind and the weather in his mind, an amazing feat. And he lived a life of adventure.

Thousands of Polynesians signed on for European voyages, but Tupaia was special. He was a gifted linguist and well-respected on Tahiti. He was a master navigator, skilled in astronomy, and an expert on the geography of the Pacific. He also made Capt. Cook’s success possible.

Read about his exploits and the fascinating world he inhabited. While his world seems strange to us, Druett helps you understand what was going on in the native population as well as with the European explorers. One reviewer says Druett “puts a well-deserved dent in the legend of Capt. James Cook.” I can promise you it is a good tale.

On her blog at joan-druett.blogspot.com the author has a wonderful “behind the scenes” tale about the three boys adrift in a dinghy for 50 days in the huge ocean beyond New Zealand. Remember? They were miraculously saved from a watery grave by a New Zealand tuna boat which was sailing hundreds of miles off her normal course.

As Joan says, the three young teenagers were on a remarkably silly venture. They sailed from a small island October 5, in a stolen boat and, fueled with booze, heading for a tiny atoll and love. It was just a day’s boat-ride away, and they had a couple of sacks of coconuts, a crate of beer, and a spare fuel tank. But the motor broke down. They drifted about 800 miles.

On their home island, the families waited, lost hope, and held a memorial service. In the atoll where they were headed, a pretty young girl thought she had lost them “forever.” Her name is Anita Iasona and “her story is as classic as a legend from ancient Greece.” The lad she had in mind was Filo. They had connected at an inter-island sports event and spent the sports week “talking — and kissing.”

No wonder, says Joan, that Filo and his friends had stolen the dinghy to be with her. Filo and his mates, island-hopping since their rescue, courtesy of various authorities, have now got as far as Samoa and are waiting for the next inter-island freighter to Tokelau. Meantime, they are connecting with Anita by Facebook.

In another tragedy at sea, William Thorns died November 11 on a trip to Bermuda with his daughter Amanda and Islander Dennis White. They were rescued 12 days later by a passing oil tanker. Amanda’s mother is Stephanie Wayland. You may remember that Stephanie was the music teacher at the Tisbury School for many years.

Our own Nancy Gardella’s trip to visit her son Chris Clark in Illinois was so delightful that she got some names of the in-laws wrong. We can’t have that!

The Thanksgiving party at Chris and Lilly Clark’s home included Lilly’s parents, Rey and Pat Garza, and her three married sisters and their families. Chris and Jamie Orlowski are the parents of Austin (5) and Autumn (3). Joy and Richard Anderson came with their son Ian (16). Cheryl and her husband Tim Funk were also there. Cheryl is a talented artist who makes beautiful bracelets. She gave Nancy a lovely green one. We also omitted the ages of Nancy’s wonderful grandsons: Corbyn is six and Dominic is three.

I think we can understand why Nancy’s notes were a bit off. Chris and Lilly Clark report that there is already a lot of snow in Rockford, Illinois, and they don’t expect it will be clear until April.

Nancy Tutko wants you to submit your Vineyard picture for this year’s photo contest sponsored by Martha’s Vineyard Magazine. The deadline for entries is December 31. For more information and last year’s photos, visit the magazine’s website at mvmagazine.com

The Martha’s Vineyard Methodist churches will hold a Christmas Eve service at the Old Whaling Church in Edgartown at 7 pm. The West Tisbury Congregational Church celebrates Christmas Eve in the Barn at the Ag Hall at 5 pm. Another service is at 10 pm in the church. Also at 10 pm is the Candlelight Service in the 1828 meetinghouse of the Edgartown Federated Church.

Big bunches of birthday balloon wishes go out on Sunday to Liam Patrick Bruni who turns four on Sunday. Happy birthday to Peter VanTassel and Toby Riseborough, as well as to Toby’s aunt Denise Dorsey Cafarelli. They party next Wednesday.

Heard on Main Street: How are you? I can’t remember how I’m doing.