Shipwrecks and Disasters page two.

See also Nautical Tales, Yarns and Biographies

There are more books on this subject on the other pages!

  • Into The Raging Sea
  • Erebus. The Story of a Ship
  • Sir John Franklin's Erebus and Terror Expedition
  • The Shipwreck Hunter
  • Wreck of the Whaleship Essex
  • Beneath the Heart of the Sea
  • The Wreckers
  • ShipWreck: A History of Disasters at Sea
  • Disasters At Sea
  • This Barren Rock
  • Batavia
  • Batavia's Graveyard
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    By Rachel Slade. softback, 0.44kg, 135mm x 215mm, 391 pages, Published 2018.

    On October 1, 2015, Hurricane Joaquin barreled into the Bermuda Triangle and swallowed the container ship El Faro whole, resulting in the worst American shipping disaster in thirty-five years. No one could fathom how a vessel equipped with satellite communications, a sophisticated navigation system, and cutting-edge weather forecasting could suddenly vanish—until now.

    Relying on hundreds of exclusive interviews with family members and maritime experts, as well as the words of the crew members themselves—whose conversations were captured by the ship’s data recorder—journalist Rachel Slade unravels the mystery of the sinking of El Faro. As she recounts the final twenty-four hours onboard, Slade vividly depicts the officers’ anguish and fear as they struggled to carry out Captain Michael Davidson’s increasingly bizarre commands, which, they knew, would steer them straight into the eye of the storm. Taking a hard look at America's aging merchant marine fleet, Slade also reveals the truth about modern shipping—a cut-throat industry plagued by razor-thin profits and ever more violent hurricanes fueled by global warming.

    A richly reported account of a singular tragedy, Into the Raging Sea takes us into the heart of an age-old American industry, casting new light on the hardworking men and women who paid the ultimate price in the name of profit.

    NZ$38.00 + delivery.

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    By Michael Palin. softback, 0.47kg, 155mm x 235mm, 334 pages, Colour Photographs. Published 2018.

    The remarkable story of Erebus, following from its launch in 1826 to the epic voyages of discovery that led to glory in the Antarctic and to ultimate catastrophe in the Arctic.

    The ship was filled with fascinating people: the dashing and popular James Clark Ross, who charted much of the ‘Great Southern Barrier’; the troubled John Franklin, whose chequered career culminated in the Erebus's final, disastrous expedition; and the eager Joseph Dalton Hooker, a brilliant naturalist – when he wasn't shooting the local wildlife dead...

    Vividly recounting the experiences of the men who first set foot on Antarctica’s Victoria Land, and those who, just a few years later, froze to death one by one in the Arctic ice, beyond the reach of desperate rescue missions, Erebus is a wonderfully evocative account of a truly extraordinary adventure, brought to life by a master explorer and storyteller.

    NZ$45.00 + delivery.

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    By Gillian Hutchinson. softback, 0.56kg, 190mm x 245mm, 175 pages, Colour Photographs. Published 2017.

    In 1845, British explorer Sir John Franklin set out on a voyage to find the North-West Passage – the sea route linking the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific. The expedition was expected to complete its mission within three years and return home in triumph but the two ships, HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, and the 129 men aboard them disappeared in the Arctic. The last Europeans to see them alive were the crews of two whaling ships in Baffin Bay in July 1845, just before they entered the labyrinth of the Arctic Archipelago.

    The loss of this British hero and his crew, and the many rescue expeditions and searches that followed, captured the public imagination, but the mystery surrounding the expedition's fate only deepened as more clues were found. How did Franklin's final expedition end in tragedy? What happened to the crew?

    The thrilling discoveries in the Arctic of the wrecks of Erebus in 2014 and Terror in 2016 have brought the events of 170 years ago into sharp focus and excited new interest in the Franklin expedition. This richly illustrated book is an essential guide to this story of heroism, endurance, tragedy and dark desperation.

    NZ$42.00 + delivery.

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    By David L Mearns. Paperback, 0.57kg, 155mm x 235mm, 400 pages,Colour Photographs. Published 2017.
    David Mearns has found some of the world's most fascinating and elusive shipwrecks. His deep-water searches have solved the 66-year mystery of HMAS Sydney, discovered the final resting place of the mighty battlecruiser HMS Hood and revealed the Australian Hospital Ship Centaur in the narrow underwater canyon that served as its grave. His painstaking historical detective work has led to the shallow reefs of a remote island that hid the crumbling wooden skeletons of Vasco da Gama's sixteenth century fleet.

    The Shipwreck Hunter is the compelling story of David's life and work on the seas, focusing on some of his most intriguing discoveries. It details the extraordinary techniques used, the research and the mid-ocean stamina and courage needed to find a wreck kilometres beneath the sea, as well as the moving human stories that lie behind each of these oceanic tragedies.

    Part detective story, part history and part deep ocean adventure, The Shipwreck Hunter is a unique insight into a hidden, underwater world.

    NZ$37.00 + delivery.

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    By Owen Chase. Hardback, 1.37kg, 280mm x 245mm, 195 pages, Published 2015.
    The Complete Illustrated Edition of the sinking of the Whaleship Essex.

    The extraordinary and distressing memoir that inspired Herman Melville's Moby-Dick is soon to be a major motion picture, due for release December 2015.

    Owen Chase was the first mate on the ill-fated American whaling ship Essex, which was attacked and sunk by a sperm whale in the southern Pacific Ocean in 1820. The crew spent months at sea in leaking boats and endured the blazing sun, attacks by killer whales, and lack of food. The men were forced to resort to cannibalism before the final eight survivors were rescued. Herman Melville based his 1851 novel, Moby-Dick, on the sinking.

    Chase recorded the tale of the ship's sinking and the following events with harrowing clarity in the Wreck of the Whale Ship Essex.

    "I turned around and saw him about one hundred rods [500 m or 550 yards] directly ahead of us, coming down with twice his ordinary speed of around 24 knots (44 km/h), and it appeared with tenfold fury and vengeance in his aspect. The surf flew in all directions about him with the continual violent thrashing of his tail. His head about half out of the water, and in that way he came upon us, and again struck the ship." - Owen Chase.

    Filled with art, photographs, maps, and artifacts, this is a richly illustrated edition of Chase's memoir, augmented with memoirs of other participants, as well as the perspectives of historians, contemporary and modern.

    NZ$55.00 + delivery.

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    By Owen Chase. Paperback, 0.13kg, 125mm x 196mm, 89 pages, Published 2015.
    The sinking of the Whaleship Essex.

    Discover the amazing true story behind the inspiration for Herman Melville's Moby Dick and the new feature film Heart of the Sea. A tragic yet riveting narration of life and death and man against the elements.

    Beneath the Heart of the Sea is an extreme account of shipwreck survival. On the morning of November 20,1820, in the Pacific Ocean 2,000 miles from the coast of South America, an enraged sperm whale rammed the Nantucket whaleship Essex. As the boat began to sink, her crew of twenty, including first mate Owen Chase, grabbed what little they could before piling into frail boats and taking to the open seas. So began their four-month ordeal and struggle for survival. A bleak story, only eight men survived having endured starvation and dehydration, giving in to cannibalism, murder and insanity.

    Owen Chase recorded the extraordinary account in his autobiography, originally published in 1821,

    NZ$25.00 + delivery.

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    By Bella Bathurst. Paperback, 0.25kg, 128mm x 196mm, 326 pages, black & white illustrations. Published 2006.
    From the bestselling author of ‘The Lighthouse Stevensons', a gripping history of the drama and danger of wrecking since the 18th-century – and the often grisly ingenuity of British wreckers, scavengers of the sea.

    A fine wreck has always represented sport, pleasure, treasure, and in many cases, the difference between living well and just getting by. The Cornish were supposedly so ferocious that notices of shipwrecks were given out during morning service by the minister, whilst the congregation concocted elaborate theological justifications for drowning the survivors. Treeless islanders relied on the harvest of storms to furnish themselves with rafters, boat hulls, fence-posts and floors. In other places, false lights were set up with grisly ingenuity along the coast to lure boats to destruction.

    With romance, insight and dry wit, Bella Bathurst traces the history of wrecking, looting and salvaging in the British Isles since the 18th-century

    NZ$35.00 + delivery.

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    By Sam Willis. Paperback, 0.25kg, 128mm x 196mm, 346 pages, full colour and black & white illustrations. Published 2014.
    Acclaimed historian, Sam Willis traces the astonishing tales of ships that have met with disastrous ends, along with the ensuing acts of courage, moments of sacrifice and episodes of villainy that inevitably occurred in the extreme conditions. Many were freak accidents, and their circumstances so extraordinary that they inspired literature: the ramming of the Whaleship Essex by a sperm whale was immortalized in Herman Melville's Moby Dick. Some symbolize colossal human tragedy: including the legendary Titanic whose maiden voyage famously went from pleasure cruise to epic catastrophe. From the Kyrenia ship of 300 BC to the Mary Rose, through to the Kursk submarine tragedy of 2000, this is a thrilling work of narrative history from one England's most talented young historians.

    NZ$27.00 + delivery.

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    By Dag Pike. Paperback, 188mm x 245mm, 192 pages, colour photographs.
    Disasters at sea come in all shapes and sizes, and are a voyage into the unknown for everyone involved.
    From trawlers pulled under by submarines, to the notorious 1979 Fastnet race, ferry disasters and boats run down in open water, Dag Pike looks at all types of disasters at sea and gives a gripping analysis of what went wrong, how it was dealt with and what lessons were learned. Covering accounts of yachts, motorboats and commercial vessels running into difficulty, each chapter includes sections on rescue, survival and an account from the Marine Accident Investigation Branch, who monitor accidents at sea all over the world. Dag Pike's vast experience as captain, navigator and journalist, as well as his personal experience of being rescued 10 times and rescuing others 9 times, adds keen personal insight as well as drama.
    This book challenges many preconceived ideas, and provides a thought provoking account of why things go wrong at sea as well as paying tribute to the courage and daring of many of those who have survived.

    NZ$45.00 + delivery.

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    By Sylvie Haisman. Paperback, 0.28kg, 135mm x 210mm, 238 pages, black and white illustrations.
    Imagine one woman, forty-seven men and a three-year-old boy, shipwrecked on a tiny sub-Antarctic island. For seven months they eat albatross and burn penguin skins for fuel, before a passing whaler picks them up.
    The Scottish clipper Strathmore sailed from London in 1875, laden with gunpowder, iron and immigrants. Wrecked at night in furious seas, half her passengers struggled ashore to the bare, inhospitable rocks of the remote Crozet Islands. There they remained stranded, struggling to survive the bitter southern winter, given up for lost by their families and friends.
    Over 130 years later, award-winning writer Sylvie Haisman rediscovered her ancestors' epic adventure. Drawing on their journals, faded photographs and letters, she unearthed a story of gallant sailors, orphaned children, cruel hunger and debilitating cold.
    The Strathmore shipwreck was a sensation in Victorian times. Now this compelling story of courage, endurance and the determination to survive will move and inspire readers all over again.

    NZ$36.00 + delivery.

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    By Peter Fitzsimons. Paperback, 0.66kg, 153mm x 233m, 490 pages. Published 2012.
    In 1629, the magnificent Batavia - pride of the Dutch East India Company - is on her maiden voyage from Amsterdam to the Dutch East Indies, laden down with the greatest treasure to ever leave the Dutch Republic. She is already boiling over with a mutinous plot that is just about to be put into action when, just off the coast of Western Australia, she strikes an unseen reef in the middle of the night.
    While Commandeur Francisco Pelsaert decides to take the longboat across 2000 miles of open sea for help, his second in command, Jeronimus Cornelisz, takes over, quickly deciding that 220 people on a small island is too many for the scant amount of supplies they have. Quietly, he puts forward a plan to 40-odd mutineers to save themselves by killing most of the rest, sparing only a half-dozen or so women, including his personal fancy, Lucretia Jans - one of the noted beauties of the Dutch Republic - to service their sexual needs.
    A reign of terror begins, countered only by a previously anonymous soldier, Wiebbe Hayes, who begins to gather to him those prepared to do what it takes to survive...hoping against hope that the Commandeur will soon return with the rescue yacht.
    Extraordinary and terrible as it seems, it all happened, long ago, and it is with very good reason that Peter Fitzsimons has long maintained that this is one of the greatest stories in Australian's history.

    NZ$48.00 + delivery.

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    By Mike Dash. Paperback, 0.34kg, 130mm x 195mm, 446 pages, Published 2003
    The Dutch East India Company loaded the Batavia, the flagship of its fleet, with a king’s ransom in gold, silver, and gems for her maiden voyage to Java; the ship itself was a tangible symbol of the world’s richest and most powerful monopoly.

    The company also sent along a new employee to guard its treasure. He was Jeronimus Corneliszoon, a disgraced and bankrupt man with great charisma and dangerously heretical ideas. With the help of a few disgruntled sailors, he hatched a plot to seize the ship and her riches. The mutiny might have succeeded, but in the dark morning hours of June 3, 1629, the Batavia smashed through a coral reef and ran aground on a small chain of islands near Australia. The captain and skipper escaped the wreck, and in a tiny lifeboat they set sail for Java—some 1,500 miles north—to summon help. More than 250 frightened survivors waded ashore, thankful to be alive. Unfortunately, Jeronimus and the mutineers had survived too, and the nightmare was only beginning...

    NZ$32.00 + delivery.

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    See also Nautical Tales, Yarns and Biographies

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