Linda Greenlaw craved something more edgy than babysitting her often-empty lobster traps, coaxing her ancient pickup truck to keep motoring and plucking wayward grasshoppers from her hair.

“Challenge was what had been missing in my life,” wrote Greenlaw, whom Sebastian Junger called “one of the best swordboat captains, period, on the East Coast” in his best-selling book “The Perfect Storm.” A blockbuster movie of the same name followed, starring George Clooney.

“I needed to be shocked, stunned, scared. I needed to react to emergency,” wrote Greenlaw, who had been absent from, and missing, the swordfishing scene for a decade while she wrote three of her own nonfiction best-sellers — “The Hungry Ocean,” “The Lobster Chronicles” and “All Fishermen Are Liars” — as well as two fiction mysteries, and co-authored a cookbook with her mother.

Greenlaw, whose life had softened somewhat since being catapulted into fishing fame, was ready for a change of pace. “I needed to fend off ever-looming disaster,” she said.

Ask and ye shall receive.

Greenlaw accepted an offer to captain the Seahawk on a swordfishing trip to the Grand Banks. The Seahawk‘s previous captain had died aboard the vessel.

Shock and fright ensue. The 47-year-old Greenlaw gets arrested on the high seas, deals with the near-electrocution of a crew member and witnesses another deckhand almost get washed overboard the decrepit vessel.

For several reasons, including those above, she didn’t catch a lot of swordfish during the voyage, but the trek provided plenty of fodder for Greenlaw’s recently released book, “Seaworthy, A Swordboat Captain Returns to the Sea.”

The book details her challenging, emergency-ridden comeback voyage, which was filmed and aired on the Discovery Channel series “Swords.”

In “Seaworthy,” Greenlaw describes the scary, serious and sometimes silly adventures and misadventures aboard the Seahawk. Her handpicked crew substitutes the Sea portion of the vessel’s name with another word that begins with “s,” due to its unending string of equipment failures.

In the 242-page page-turner published by Viking ($25.95), Greenlaw also examines her desire to return to the hungry ocean. “The main theme is I question whether I am seaworthy or not,” said Greenlaw recently, moments after she had hosted a baby shower at her Isle au Haut home. “It is an adjective I aspired to. Is it still important? Could I still lead a crew? Does it matter? Why is it important?”

In “Seaworthy,” she asked, “Mostly what I wondered was why successful fishing at this point in my life was so important to me. Hadn’t the standard by which I measured my worthiness grown beyond seaworthiness?”

During the voyage’s successes and disasters, Greenlaw’s confidence ebbs and flows.

As the rickety Seahawk made its way to sea, the out-of-practice and aging Greenlaw said she feigned excitement and optimism with the crew.

“The old gal may be a bit rough. But she’s stable and capable,” Greenlaw told a mate, adding, “Although I was referring to the boat, I couldn’t help but think the same could be said of her captain. Jeez, I thought, maybe I should spend a little less time inventorying the ship and start taking stock of myself. Maybe the Seahawk wasn’t the weak link.”

But after one satisfying day early in the trip, as she drifted off to sleep, Greenlaw mused, “Yes, there is a certain snob appeal in being a member of such an elite group of men who risk all in pursuit of fish. And I always felt that commercial fishing is a noble profession. We feed the world. But I had better get to sleep soon, I told myself. There isn’t a lot of room in this bunk for a swollen head.”

Greenlaw’s descriptions enable readers to grasp why she feels at home on the ocean: “Ripe and one sliver shy of full, the cantaloupe moon shone a flashlight beam along our path as we steamed east through the Gulf of Maine.”

As a swordboat captain “in the Grand Banks bubble” Greenlaw lives in the moment. There is no need for “constant shoreside reminders of holiday gifts to buy, appointments to schedule, or medications to ask your doctor about … During this trip a presidential election would take place, and we wouldn’t vote, and the results hardly caused a ripple — literally — in our waters,” she wrote. “People could die, be buried and eulogized, without our ever hearing they’d been sick.”

During one rough day at sea, crew member Machado was almost washed away when a wave tossed Seahawk. “Although everything was happening at high speed, my memory of Machado is in slow motion. His arms and legs were spiraling much like the limbs of a turtle stuck on its back and struggling to right itself, to no avail … Machado’s expression was the perfect picture of sheer terror as he looked desperately for something to grab to save himself.”

Greenlaw also described how previous crews sickeningly took part in the torture of inadvertently caught sharks. “Crews from the past had made contests of pounding sharks with ice mallets, like trying to ring the bell at the county fair.”

She has great respect for the swordfish she has pursued for much of her adult life. “The speed with which they travel, the distances they cover in their migration, and their strength all contribute to the quality most frequently attributed to them, elusiveness … It’s impossible to avoid attributing human characteristics to a swordfish once you’ve encountered one eye to eye in its last gasp before succumbing, or once you’ve sensed the bravado in the slap of a tail of one fresh off the hook and diving for freedom,” she wrote.

All bravado was gone from Greenlaw when she was arrested for illegal entry and illegal fishing in Canadian waters, for which she was later fined $35,000. The veteran had been working on the Seahawk‘s deck all day and was unaware the vessel had drifted into Canadian territory until a Canadian patrol plane buzzed the Seahawk and she went to the wheelhouse to find out why.

The set of the gear had been legal, said Greenlaw, but the judge did not take intent into consideration. Greenlaw later found other mangled gear and learned a ship had run over it and towed it across the border. While the experience was painful, Greenlaw said it does not define her. “I would rather be arrested for a fishing crime than never go fishing,” she said.

Besides, “my life is pretty good,” said Greenlaw as she recently prepared for the Maine portion of her book tour. She has a special man in her life — a retired orthopedic surgeon — and is the legal guardian for a teenage girl.

So what is left? “I’d like to make the LPGA tour. But I’m not good enough. My handicap is the only thing holding me back,” she said with a laugh. “People say to me all the time, ‘Nice swing,’ but they never say, ‘Nice shot.'”

While Greenlaw said moving between her life at sea and her life at home requires crossing a “Grand Canyon-size divide,” she is about to again make the leap, then make the leap back.

On Aug. 1, she is set to be in charge once again of the Hannah Boden, the boat she captained during the so-called “Perfect Storm.”

While fans shouldn’t count on a book about that voyage’s adventures, Greenlaw said she is under contract to write two more books — another cookbook with her mother, and a book about life and times on Isle au Haut.

Following are Greenlaw’s upcoming area book-signing appearances.

Tuesday, July 13, 2:30 p.m., Artisan Books & Bindery

Blue Hill
Wednesday, July 14, 2 p.m., Blue Hill Books

Sunday, July 18, 3 p.m., Penobscot Marine Museum/Left Bank Books, Congregational Church

Thursday, July 22, 7 p.m., Maine Coast Bookshop, Skidompha Library

Friday, July 23, 6 p.m., Owl and Turtle Bookshop

Saturday, July 24, 1-3 p.m., Bookstacks

Bar Harbor
Saturday, July 24, 7-9 p.m., Sherman’s Books

Northeast Harbor
Sunday, July 25, 4-5:30 p.m., Island Readers & Writers, Neighborhood House

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