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There are many tests that a journalist may face during their career, from being shot to getting thrown in jail, dealing with irate officials to dodging the attention of local militias. But few can have faced the demands that confronted our Culture editor Robert Bound this month: he had to do three congas around the MSC Preziosa as she sailed across the Mediterranean. Actually let’s tell the truth here: he loved every one of those congas. And every White Russian was consumed by round three of leg-kicking too. But, really, it was work.

Mr Bound was one of a trusty few press-ganged into the Monocle crew needed to report this nautically themed issue. His task: to go to the frontiers of cruise-ship entertainment and meet the crooners, acrobats and jugglers who can keep a captive audience having fun – and eager to join a conga, of course.

The sound of lapping water and the feel of refreshing ocean spray can be found throughout this issue as we explore everything from military face-offs in the Pacific to the families that dominate the world of shipping. One place that we recommend you drop anchor is the story on Mare, a magazine in German – about the sea and how it affects us – that has found its niche and grown to become an impressive book publisher too. Perhaps one of the most appealing elements to the report is the backstory: the founders knew nothing about publishing and have shaped the business around their lives in a really magical way.

Then, of course, there is our inaugural Boats and Coast Survey, steered to harbour by our Business editor Matt Alagiah. From the helicopter pilots saving lives in the dangerous waters of Alaska to the world’s best rowboat makers, we have pulled together a survey that looks at life on the ocean wave with a fresh eye. So whether you want to swim in the Ligurian bagni or invest in a nimble sailboat, we’ve got you covered.

Beyond the pages of monocle we have been extending our library of books published with Gestalten. You will see in these pages that How to Make a Nation: A Monocle Guide is now out and we will be visiting a host of cities in the coming months as we take the title on tour. We’ll be in Ottawa, Toronto, Geneva and London for subscriber book-signing events shortly and we look forward to meeting you.

Our Travel Guide Series has new offspring too. Singapore, Paris and Vienna are now on sale and will be joined by Sydney and Honolulu – two cities that certainly understand their relationship with the ocean – very soon. Our plan is to have 20 cities covered by the end of 2016. So yes, we’re busy.

Finally, let me encourage you to switch on your radios and download the podcasts for our four news shows on Monocle 24: The Globalist, The Briefing, Midori House and The Monocle Daily. We’ve had a gentle relaunch of all our news coverage and think you’ll find something truly global, surprising and intriguing if you pay us a visit. They would even make good listening while you sit on a Sydney ferry or lie on the deck of your Pershing.

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