See also: Polar Exploration, Nautical Dictionaries
and Naval History

  • Latitude
  • In Oceans Deep
  • The Boundless Sea
  • Seeing Further
  • Mistress of Science
  • Soundings
  • Navigational Instruments
  • The History of Navigation
  • We, the Navigators. Second Edition
  • The Barefoot Navigator
  • The Glass Universe
  • The Natural Navigator
  • Sextant
  • Longitude
  • Kendall's Longitude
  • The Weather Experiment
  • North Pole South Pole
  • Plimsoll Sensation

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    The Astonishing Adventure that Shaped the World
    By Nicholas Crane, Hardback, 0.42 kg, 145mm x 225mm, 257 pages. Sepia Photographs. Published 2021

    By knowing the shape of our earth we can create maps, survive the oceans, follow rivers, navigate the skies, and travel across the globe.
    This is the story of our world, of how we discovered what no one thought possible - the shape of the earth.

    The year is 1735. Twelve unruly men board ships bound for South America. Their mission? To discover the true shape of the earth. They will be exposed to a wilderness of dangers none can imagine. The survivors won't return for ten years.

    The world's first international team of scientists was sent to a continent of unmapped rainforests and ice-shrouded volcanoes where they attempted to measure the length on the ground of one degree of latitude. Beset by egos and disease, storms and earthquakes, mutiny and murder, they struggled for ten years to reach the single figure they sought.

    A breathtaking tale of courage in adversity, it is celebrated today as the first modern exploring expedition.
    An epic story of survival and science set in mountain camps and remote observatories , featuring a gaggle of misfits who made breakthroughs in rubber and platinum, gravity, quinine and Inca Archaeology..

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    Courage, innovation and Adventure Beneath the Waves.
    By Bill Streever, Softback, 0.54 kg, 140mm x 210mm, 303 pages. This Edition Published 2020

    In an age of unprecedented exploration and innovation, our oceans remain largely unknown, and endlessly fascinating: full of mystery, danger, beauty, and inspiration. Bill Streever-a longtime deep-sea diver himself-has masterfully woven together the science and history of Earth's last remaining frontier: the sea.

    In Oceans Deep celebrates the daring pioneers who tested the limits of what the human body can endure under water: free divers able to reach 300 feet on a single breath; engineers and scientists who uncovered the secrets of decompression; teenagers who built their own diving gear from discarded boilers and garden hoses in the 1930s; saturation divers who lived under water for weeks at a time in the 1960s; and the trailblazing men who voluntarily breathed experimental gases at pressures sufficient to trigger insanity.

    Tracing both the little-known history and exciting future of how we travel and study the depths, Streever's captivating journey includes seventeenth-century leather-hulled submarines, their nuclear-powered descendants, a workshop where luxury submersibles are built for billionaire clients, and robots capable of roving unsupervised between continents, revolutionizing access to the ocean.

    In this far-flung trip to the wild, night-dark place of shipwrecks, trapped submariners, oil wells, innovative technologies, and people willing to risk their lives while challenging the deep, we discover all the adventures our seas have to offer-and why they are in such dire need of conservation.

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    THE BOUNDLESS SEA. A Human History of the oceans
    By David Abulafia. Hardback, 165mm x 240mm, 1048 pages, 1.41 kgs. Colour Photographs Published 2019.
    A titanic history of the three great oceans - the Atlantic, the Pacific and the Indian - and of mankind's relationship with the sea from the first voyagers to the present day.

    David Abulafia begins with the earliest of seafaring societies - the Polynesians of the Pacific, the possessors of intuitive navigational skills, long before the invention of the compass, who by the first century were trading between their far-flung islands. By the seventh century, trading routes stretched from the coasts of Arabia and Africa to southern China and Japan, bringing together the Indian Ocean and the western Pacific, linking together half the world through the international spice trade. In the Atlantic, centuries before the little kingdom of Portugal carved out its powerful, seaborne colonial empire, many peoples sought new lands across the sea - the Bretons, the Frisians and, most notably, the Vikings, now known to be the first Europeans to reach North America. As Portuguese supremacy dwindled in the late sixteenth century, the Spanish, the Dutch and then the British each successively ruled the waves.

    Following merchants, explorers, pirates, cartographers and travellers in their quests for spices, gold, ivory, slaves, lands for settlement and knowledge of what lay beyond, the author has created an extraordinary narrative of humanity and the oceans.
    Besides its grand narratives, The Boundless Sea explores the lesser known maritime enterprises of Denmark, Sweden, Oman, Sri Vijaya and many others.
    And today, as plastic refuse covers thousands of square miles of the waters, and once exotic trading cities and outposts are replaced by vast, mechanized container ports, he asks - what next for our oceans and our world?

    Was NZ$85.00 + delivery.
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    SEEING FURTHER The Story of Science and the Royal Society.
    By Bill Bryson. Paperback, 130mm x 200mm, 464 pages, 0.44 kgs.Colour Photographs. Published 2019.

    The story of science and the Royal Society, edited and introduced by Bill Bryson-with contributions.

    On a damp weeknight in November, 350 years ago, a dozen or so men gathered at Gresham College in London. A twenty-eight year old – and not widely famous – Christopher Wren was giving a lecture on astronomy. As his audience listened to him speak, they decided that it would be a good idea to create a Society to promote the accumulation of useful knowledge. With that, the Royal Society was born.

    Since its birth, the Royal Society has pioneered scientific exploration and discovery. Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein, Robert Hooke, Robert Boyle, Joseph Banks, Humphry Davy, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, John Locke, Alexander Fleming – all were fellows. Bill Bryson’s favourite fellow was Reverend Thomas Bayes, a brilliant mathematician who devised Bayes’ theorem. Its complexity meant that it had little practical use in Bayes’ own lifetime, but today his theorem is used for weather forecasting, astrophysics and stock market analysis. A milestone in mathematical history, it only exists because the Royal Society decided to preserve it – just in case.

    The Royal Society continues to do today what it set out to do all those years ago. Its members have split the atom, discovered the double helix, the electron, the computer and the World Wide Web. Truly international in its outlook, it has created modern science.

    Seeing Further celebrates its momentous history and achievements, bringing together the very best of science writing.

    NZ$28.00 + delivery.

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    By John & Rosalind Croucher. Hardback, 165mm x 240mm, 300 pages, 0.61 kgs. Published 2016.
    The Story of the remarkable Janet Taylor, pioneer of sea navigation.

    It is hard to imagine a more male-dominated field in the nineteenth century than sea navigation. This was the high-point of the British Empire and sea navigation drove it. Yet in the midst of this domain Janet Taylor emerged as a young woman able to match the best male minds in the field. She was one of the most remarkable scientists of the period, and yet until now her story has not been told.

    A gifted mathematician, astronomer, author and instrument maker, she also possessed extraordinary skills as a teacher of navigation and businesswoman.

    The fifth of eight children, Janet Taylor was born in 1804, in Wolsingham, County Durham. By the age of nine her outstanding intellectual abilities were already apparent and she was awarded a special scholarship by Queen Charlotte. She then continued her education in languages, science and mathematics. In so doing, she overcame her humble beginnings and became one of the most prominent figures in the nautical world.

    The only woman in over 200 years to patent a nautical instrument, her journey led her to extraordinary heights and earned her the respect and admiration of her contemporaries. She excelled and maintained a position of leadership in her chosen profession for over thirty years, as well as raising a family of eight children and three stepchildren. A woman far ahead of her time, this is the story of Janet Taylor's modest beginning and her incredible rise to prominence.

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    By Hali Felt. Paperback. 0.31kg, 138mm x 210mm, 340 pages, Published 2012.
    The Story of the remarkable Woman who mapped the ocean floor.

    Her maps of the ocean floor have been called "one of the most remarkable achievements in modern cartography", yet no one knows her name

    Soundings is the story of the enigmatic, unknown woman behind one of the greatest achievements of the 20th century. Before Marie Tharp, geologist and gifted draftsperson, the whole world, including most of the scientific community, thought the ocean floor was a vast expanse of nothingness. In 1948, at age 28, Marie walked into the newly formed geophysical lab at Columbia University and practically demanded a job. The scientists at the lab were all male; the women who worked there were relegated to secretary or assistant. Through sheer willpower and obstinacy, Marie was given the job of interpreting the soundings (records of sonar pings measuring the ocean's depths) brought back from the ocean-going expeditions of her male colleagues. The marriage of artistry and science behind her analysis of this dry data gave birth to a major work: the first comprehensive map of the ocean floor, which laid the groundwork for proving the then-controversial theory of continental drift..

    When combined, Marie's scientific knowledge, her eye for detail and her skill as an artist revealed not a vast empty plane, but an entire world of mountains and volcanoes, ridges and rifts, and a gateway to the past that allowed scientists the means to imagine how the continents and the oceans had been created over time.

    Just as Marie dedicated more than twenty years of her professional life to what became the Lamont Geological Observatory, engaged in the task of mapping every ocean on Earth, she dedicated her personal life to her great friendship with her co-worker, Bruce Heezen. Partners in work and in many ways, partners in life, Marie and Bruce were devoted to one another as they rose to greater and greater prominence in the scientific community, only to be envied and finally dismissed by their beloved institute. They went on together, refining and perfecting their work and contributing not only to humanity’s vision of the ocean floor, but to the way subsequent generations would view the Earth as a whole.

    Hali Felt brings to vivid life the story of the pioneering scientist whose work became the basis for the work of others scientists for generations to come.

    NZ$48.00 + delivery.

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    By Richard Dunn. paperback, 0.18kg, 150mm x 210mm, full colour illustrations. Published 2016.
    With over two-thirds of the globe covered by water, the ability to navigate safely and quickly across the oceans has been crucial throughout human history. From the sixteenth century onwards, as seafarers attempted longer and longer voyages in search of profit and new lands, the tools of navigation became ever more sophisticated. The development of instruments over the last 500 years has seen some revolutionary changes, spurred on by the threat of disaster at sea and the possibility of huge rewards from successful voyages.
    As this book shows, the solution of the infamous longitude problem, the extraordinary impact f satellite positioning and other advances in navigation have successfully brought together seafarers, artisans and scientists in search of better ways of getting from A to B and back again.

    NZ$20.00 + Delivery.

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    By Dag Pike. Hardback. 0.70kg, 209 pages, 165mm x 240mm, black & white / Colour illustrations and Photos. Published 2018.
    Today travellers by land, sea and air take accurate navigation for granted but it was not always thus.

    Dag Pike sets out to record the development of navigational techniques from the earliest time, five millenniums ago. As explorers started to venture offshore into the unknown they had to rely on the sun and stars for direction. From this pioneers turned to mathematics, astrolobes, sextants and increasing accurate clocks to measure latitude and later longitude. More recently major breakthroughs with electronic navigation, GPS and other satellite systems have revolutionised travel.

    Focusing primarily but not exclusively on marine navigation, the author weaves a fascinating course through the successes and failures of mankind’s quest to explore his world.
    This is a thoroughly entertaining and informative work.

    NZ$70.00 + Delivery.

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    WE, THE NAVIGATORS, The Ancient Art of Landfinding in the Pacific. Second Edition
    By David Lewis. Paperback. 0.64kg, 442 pages, 150mm x 230mm, black and white illustrations. Published 1994.
    This fascinating work describes the ancient art of land-finding in the Pacific. It tells how Polynesians used the stars, swell patterns, and phosphorescence caused by wave reflections from distant islands, wind, birds, clouds. This book is very readable and beautifully illustrated. In addition to navigational details, it explains why they sailed and how their craft were constructed.

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    By Jack Lagan. Hardback, 140mm x 225mm, 284 pages, 0.61 kgs. This Edition Published 2017.

    The Barefoot Navigator is an unusual and fascinating exploration of the skills of navigation employed by the ancients and transferrable to the present day.
    The first half of the book investigates the navigation capabilities of seafarers long before modern navigation instruments or charts became available. For example, how did the Polynesians manage to populate an area of ocean larger than North America simply by analysing clouds, currents, wind direction, sun, stars and the flight patterns of ocean birds? And how did the Vikings routinely travel between Iceland, Greenland and Scandinavia - huge tracts of treacherous water?
    The second part of the book analyses how the techniques of the ancients can be employed by 21st century seafarers to supplement today's navigational hardware - especially in survival situations.

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    THE GLASS UNIVERSE - The hidden history of the women who took the measure of the stars
    By Dava Sobel. Paperback, 0.27kgs, 200mm x 130mm, 324 pages, full colour and black & White illustrations. Published 2019 in this Edition.
    In the mid-nineteenth century, the Harvard College Observatory began employing women as calculators, or “human computers,” to interpret the observations made via telescope by their male counterparts each night. At the outset this group included the wives, sisters, and daughters of the resident astronomers, but by the 1880s the female corps included graduates of the new women's colleges—Vassar, Wellesley, and Smith. As photography transformed the practice of astronomy, the ladies turned to studying the stars captured nightly on glass photographic plates. The “glass universe” of half a million plates that Harvard amassed in this period—thanks in part to the early financial support of another woman, Mrs. Anna Draper, whose late husband pioneered the technique of stellar photography—enabled the women to make extraordinary discoveries that attracted worldwide acclaim. They helped discern what stars were made of, divided the stars into meaningful categories for further research, and found a way to measure distances across space by starlight.

    Their ranks included Williamina Fleming, a Scottish woman originally hired as a maid who went on to identify ten novae and more than three hundred variable stars, Annie Jump Cannon, who designed a stellar classification system that was adopted by astronomers the world over and is still in use, and Dr. Cecilia Helena Payne-Gaposchkin, who in 1956 became the first ever woman professor of astronomy at Harvard—and Harvard’s first female department chair.

    Elegantly written and enriched by excerpts from letters, diaries, and memoirs, The Glass Universe is the hidden history of a group of remarkable women who, through their hard work and groundbreaking discoveries, disproved the commonly held belief that the gentler sex had little to contribute to human knowledge.

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    By Tristan Gooley. Paperback, 0.22kgs, 126mm x 196mm, 306 pages. Line Drawings. Published 2020 in this Edition.

    Starting with a simple question - 'Which way am I looking?' - Tristan Gooleyblends natural science, myth, folklore and the history of travel to introduce you to the rare and ancient art of finding your way using nature's own sign-posts, from the feel of a rock to the look of the moon.
    With Tristan's help, you'll learn why some trees grow the way they do and how they can help you find your way in the countryside. You'll discover how it's possible to find North simply by looking at a puddle and how natural signs can be used to navigate on the open ocean and in the heart of the city.
    Wonderfully detailed and full of fascinating stories, this is a glorious exploration of a rediscovered art.

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    By David Barrie. Paperback, 123mm x 195mm, 347 pages, Colour, black and white photographs. Published 2015
    This is the history and story of the instrument that changed the world. An eloquent elergy to celestial navigation.

    David Barrie tells how and why the sextant was invented: how offshore navigators depended on it for their lives in wild and uncharted waters: and how it played a vital role in the stirring history of exploration.

    Much of the Sextant is set amidst the vastness of the Pacific Ocean, where generations of explorers searched for the fabled Southern Continent and the North-West passage, eventually discovering Polynesia and charting the coasts of Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Alaska. Stories of Captain Cook and the great French navigator La Perouse, (whose disappearance long remained a mystery), George Vancouver, Mathew Flinders and Captain Fitzroy of the Beagle. Great single-handed or open boat voyages feature with the heroic tales of Joshua Slocum, Captain Bligh and Ernest Shackleton.

    Interwoven with the author's account of his own transatlantic voyage in a small yacht, Sextant is a heady mix of adventure, science, mathematics and derring-do. Infused with a sense of wonder and discovery,this is a tribute to the sea and sky, the ships and the sailors, and the difference this instrument made to the world. A marvellous book and a great read.

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    By Dava Sobel, Pbk, 110mm x 175mm, 184 pages.
    Longitude is the dramatic human story of an epic scientific quest. The 'longitude problem' was the thorniest dilemma of the eighteenth century. Lacking the ability to measure longitude accurately, sailors throughout the great ages of exploration had been literally lost at sea.
    At the heart of Dava Sobel's fascinating brief history of astronomy, navigation and horology stands the figure of John Harrison, self taught Yorkshire clockmaker, and his forty-year obsession with building the perfect timekeeper. Battling against the establishment, Harrison stood alone in pursuit of his solution and the GBP20,000 reward offered by Parliament.

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    The Times and Voyages of K2- The Bounty Watch
    by John Bendall. Paperback, 128mm X 205mm, 233 pages, monochrome photographs and drawings. Published 2019

    Maritime navigational tools could find latitude, but finding longitude remained elusive until Harrison developed the reliable sea clock, H4. Building on H4's success, Kendall made a series of nautical timekeepers, K1, K2 and K3.
    This is the story of the K2 timekeeper; its adventurous voyages, the people it touched, and its place in history. K2's first voyage, accompanied by the young Nelson, was nearly its last in the crushing Arctic ice. The next two expeditions saw it survive kidnappings, nautical intrigue, and gunpowder plots of the American revolutionary wars. Bligh took K2 on the Bounty, but lost it in a fight with the mutineers in 1789. It was recovered by an American Quaker from Nantucket, only to be stolen by the Spanish. It rode on mules along the Andes before sailing into the Opium Wars.K2 finally returned to Greenwich in 1963...

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    By Peter Moore. Paperback, 0.35kg, 130mm x 198mm, 395 pages, Full colour illustrations. Published 2016.
    In 1856 a broken Admiral Robert FitzRoy locked himself in his dressing room and cut his throat. His grand meteorological project had failed. Yet only a decade later, FitzRoy’s storm warning system and ‘forecasts’ would return, the model for what we use today.

    In an age when a storm at sea was evidence of God’s great wrath, nineteenth-century meteorologists had to fight against convention and religious dogma. But buoyed by the achievements of the Enlightenment a generation of mavericks set out to explain the secrets of the atmosphere. Among them were Luke Howard, the first to classify the clouds, Francis Beaufort who quantified the winds, James Glaisher, who explored the upper atmosphere in a hot-air balloon, Samuel Morse whose electric telegraph gave scientists the means by which to transmit weather warnings, and FitzRoy himself, master sailor, scientific pioneer and founder of the Met Office.

    Reputations were built and shattered. Fractious debates raged over decades between scientists from London to Galway, Paris to New York. Explaining the atmosphere was one thing, but predicting what it was going to do seemed a step too far. In 1854, when a politician suggested to the Commons that Londoners might soon know the weather twenty-four hours in advance the House roared with laughter.

    Peter Moore’s exhilarating account navigates treacherous seas, rough winds and uncovers the obsession that drove these men to great invention and greater understanding.

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    By Gillian Turner. Paperback. 274 pages, 140mm x 210mm, black and white illustrations.
    This engrossing book tells, for the first time, the complete story of the quest to understand earth’s magnetism – from the fascination of ancient Greeks with magnetised rocks to the astonishing modern discoveries that finally revealed the truth. North Pole South Pole gives us an extraordinary window into science, passion and the brilliance of the human mind.

    NZ$41.00 + delivery.

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    By Nicolette Jones. Paperback. 416 pages, Black and White Images. 0.31kg Published 2007.
    The tale of the agitation led by Samuel Plimsoll MP, 'The Sailor's Friend', and by his wife Eliza, who worked together to defend sailors against nefarious practices including overloading and the use of unseaworthy 'coffin-ships'. The backlash of libel cases and vilification almost ruined Plimsoll, but his drive and passion made him feverishly popular with the public; he was the subject of plays, novels, street ballads and music hall songs. With the demonstrative support of the nation, he faced down his enemies, came close to ousting Disraeli's government and achieved lasting safety measures for merchant sailors, including the load line that bears his name. Nicolette Jones throws light on a cross-section of Victorian society and tells the story of an epic legal, social, and political battle for justice, which is still an inspiring example of how the altruism and courage of determined individuals can make the world a better place.

    NZ$35.00 + delivery.

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    See also: Polar Exploration, Nautical Dictionaries
    and Naval History

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