YARNS, NARRATIVES AND BIOGRAPHIES. Page Nine.


BIOGRAPHY AND AUTOBIOGRAPHY



See also Shipwrecks and Maritime Disasters

  • The Last Lighthouse Keeper
  • Running Free
  • How to Build a Boat
  • In Bed With The Atlantic
  • Scoundrels & Eccentrics of the Pacific
  • The Epic Voyages of Maud Berridge
  • Robert Louis Stevenson In Samoa
  • Finding Pax
  • Ragamuffin Man
  • The Notorious Captain Hayes
  • Addicted to Adventure.
  • Where the Hell is Tuvalu?
  • Shipping Out
  • A Captain's Duty
  • Master Mariner
  • Flinders - The Man Who Mapped Australia
  • Bligh - Master Mariner
  • Captain James Cook
  • Bligh. William Bligh In the South Seas
  • Icebreaker
  • Down to the Sea in Ships
  • Buy on line using our secure pages, by clicking on the buttons below each review

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    THE LAST LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER

    By John Cook. Softback, 0.51kg, 155mm x 223mm, 339 pages. Colour Photographs. Published 2020.

    In Tasmania, John Cook is known as 'The Keeper of the Flame'. As one of Australia's longest-serving lighthouse keepers, John spent 26 years tending Tasmania's well-known kerosene 'lights' at Tasman Island, Maatsuyker Island and Bruny Island.
    From sleepless nights keeping the lights alive, battling the wind and sea as they ripped at gutters and flooded stores, raising a joey, tending sheep and keeping ducks and chickens, the life of a keeper was one of unexpected joy and heartbreak. But for John, nothing was more heartbreaking than the introduction of electric lights, and the lighthouses that were left empty forever.
    Evocatively told, The Last Lighthouse Keeper is a love story between a man and a dying way of life, as well as a celebration of wilderness and solitude.

    NZ$37.00 + delivery.

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    RUNNING FREE

    By Robin Knox-Johnston. Softback, 0.51kg, 155mm x 223mm, 404 pages. Colour Photographs. Published 2019.

    Sir Robin Knox-Johnston burst to fame when he became the first man ever to complete a single-handed, non-stop circumnavigation of the world. Now, 50 years on from that famous voyage, he reveals the true, extraordinary story of his life.

    After leaving school, he immediately joined the Royal Naval Reserve before serving in the merchant navy and travelling the world. During that time, he spied for the British government in the Gulf, worked in the South African dockyards, and built his boat Suhaili in Bombay, before sailing home to England. In June 1968, he set sail in Suhaili in the Sunday Times Golden Globe Race, and Running Free vividly brings to life that remarkable voyage, where he was the only person to finish the race, completing his journey on 22 April 1969 and thus entering the record books. Once back home, he set up a hugely successful business and continued his naval adventures, completing a second solo circumnavigation of the globe in 2007 - at 68, he became the oldest to complete this feat.

    Knox-Johnston's insatiable appetite for life and adventure shines through these pages, making this book a must for all sailing enthusiasts!

    NZ$38.00 + delivery.

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    HOW TO BUILD A BOAT

    By Jonathon Gornall. Hardback, 0.43kg, 150mm x 220mm, 324 pages. Published 2019.

    Once an essential skill, the ability to build a clinker boat, first innovated by the Vikings, can seem incomprehensible today. Yet it was the clinker, with its overlapping planks, that afforded us access to the oceans, and its construction has become a lost art that calls to the do-it-yourselfer in all of us. John Gornall heard the call.

    A thoroughly unskilled modern man, Gornall set out to build a traditional wooden boat as a gift for his newborn daughter. It was, he recognized, a ridiculously quixotic challenge for a man who knew little about woodworking and even less about boat-building. He wasn’t even sure what type of wood he should use, the tools he’d need, or where on earth he'd build the boat. He had much to consider…and even more to learn.

    Part ode to building something with one’s hands in the modern age, part celebration of the beauty and function of boats, and part moving father-daughter story,
    How to Build a Boat celebrates the art of boat-building, the simple pleasures of working with your hands, and the aspirations and glory of new fatherhood.

    NZ$55.00 + delivery.

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    IN BED WITH THE ATLANTIC

    By Kitiara Pascoe. Softback, 0.26kg, 130mm x 200mm, 255 pages. Colour Photographs. Published 2019.

    In Bed with the Atlantic is a travel memoir of a young woman, Kitiara Pascoe, as she goes from never having stepped on a yacht, to sailing over 18,000 miles – across the Atlantic, around the Caribbean and then back – in three years with her partner.
    At first, she was dogged by doubt, a belief that she wasn’t a ‘sailor’, never would be and that she was in no way capable of such an undertaking. She believed that the ocean was out to get her, that weather needed to be battled with and that she would forever be ruled by anxieties that plagued her.

    Woven into the narrative of the journey’s progression are stories from Kit’s childhood and life before the voyage, explaining her battles with anxiety and the feelings of being lost as a graduate in post-recession Britain. The book also relays her struggle with reconciling a life of travel with the expectations and experiences of those back home, at an age when most of her contemporaries were starting corporate careers and families.

    NZ$30.00 + delivery.

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    SCOUNDRELS & ECCENTRICS OF THE PACIFIC

    By John Dunmore. Softback, 0.50kg, 150mm x 235mm, 192 pages. Black & White Images. Published 2018.

    Scoundrels & Eccentrics of the Pacific delves into the lives of the adventurers who once made the great Pacific their playground – from likeable dreamers to outright conmen, slavers and pirates, and even one self-titled Queen Emma. There’s the extraordinary tale of James Proctor who used his wooden leg to trick natives in coming aboard his ship so he could spirit them away as slaves; or French priest Fr Rougier who used his position to amass a fortune, eventually became the “King of Christmas Island”. But there are sad accounts as well, of Chinese or Indians fallen victim to human trafficking, goldfield fever and unscrupulous traders.

    This is a collection of the tales that have been told of the men, and in some cases the women, who sought to benefit from the discoveries of the early explorers; scoundrels and rogues with little conscience but great craftiness, and those who as a result found themselves victims of situations they could hardly imagine. It shows that mankind, in whatever period and whatever part of the world, may have its heroes, but always has its villains.

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    THE EPIC VOYAGES OF MAUD BERRIDGE. The Seafaring Diaries of a Victorian lady.
    By Sally Berridge. Softback, 0.32kg, 135mm x 215mm, 256 pages. Published 2018.Black and White Photographs

    Maud Berridge (née Timperley) was the wife of Henry Berridge, Master Mariner and Captain of three three-masted sailing ships: Walmer Castle (built in 1836), Highflyer (built in 1861) and Superb (built in 1866), all owned by Greens at Blackwall Yard, London.

    Most of Henry and Maud's voyages were undertaken in the three-masted clipper Superb, sailing from Gravesend at the start of summer and leaving Melbourne for home at the end of the year (the southern summer, best for heading east with the trade winds and rounding Cape Horn).

    In 1880, Maud and Henry took their two sons (aged six and eight) with them. In 1883, they sailed on from Melbourne to Newcastle in New South Wales to take on a load of coal, then on through the Windward Isles to San Francisco. Here they stayed for two months exploring SF and surrounds, unloaded the coal and took on a load of wheat. They then sailed down the west coast of the Americas, around Cape Horn and on to Queenstown in County Cork. The whole voyage took 14 months.

    Maud wrote diaries of these voyages of which one in particular, that of the 1883 voyage, comprise some 50 000 words.

    This book tells Maud's story through her own words and through a number of relevant contemporary documents and paints a picture of the life of a captain's wife in the Victorian era as well as aspects of society in Britain, the US and Australia at the time.

    NZ$27.00 + delivery.

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    ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON IN SAMOA

    By Joseph Farrell. Paperback, 0.25 kgs, 127mm x 195mm, 352 pages, Black & White Photographs. Published 2017.

    Almost every adult and child is familiar with his Treasure Island, but few know that Robert Louis Stevenson lived out his last years on an equally remote island, which was squabbled over by colonial powers much as Captain Flint's treasure was contested by the mongrel crew of the Hispaniola.

    In 1890 Stevenson settled in Upolu, an island in Samoa, after two years sailing round the South Pacific. He was given a Samoan name and became a fierce critic of the interference of Germany, Britain and the U.S.A. in Samoan affairs - a stance that earned him Oscar Wilde's sneers, and brought him into conflict with the Colonial Office, who regarded him as a menace and even threatened him with expulsion from the island.

    This pioneering study of Stevenson's twilight years stands apart from previous biographies by giving as much weight to the Samoa and the Samoans - their culture, their manners, their history - as to the life and work of the man himself..

    NZ$30.00 + delivery.

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    FINDING PAX
    The Unexpected Journey of a Little Wooden Boat.

    By Kaci Cronkhite. Softback, 160mm x 240mm, 199 pages, Colour / Black & White Photographs. Published 2016.

    On an island in Denmark where the oldest oak tree in Europe grows, a lone builder nicknamed “the perfectionist” crafted a boat with his hands. In 1936, the boat was finished and her journey began.
    Seventy years later in Port Townsend, Washington—just minutes after a near catastrophe was averted in the marina outside her office window—Kaci Cronkhite opened an email. A Danish spidsgatter named Pax was for sale in Victoria, British Columbia.
    The journey that brought the two together became a quest that connected families in three countries with history that had been lost.
    What Kaci didn’t know—what no one knew—was where and how far Pax had journeyed, what she survived those seven decades and what those who loved her would always remember.

    The Boat Technically, Pax is a “spidsgatter,” a design term chosen in Denmark to brand a new sailboat racing class in 1926. In English, the word translates from Danish as “two pointy ends” or “two butts.” (“double-ender.”) Spidsgatters were built to specifications in six sizes, commissioned by individual owners. Pax represents the second-largest size, at twenty-eight feet long and nearly ten feet wide. Fewer than two hundred were built. Of the estimated twenty to thirty spidsgatters sold in the 1960s, only a dozen remain.

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    RAGAMUFFIN MAN
    By David Salter. Paperback, 0.49kg, 160mm x 235mm, 344 pages, Published 2016.

    In 1938 a knockabout 11-year-old kid from Marrickville, Sydney, is suddenly confronted by mortality. His mother dies. His father has little time for him and at 14 he leaves school to learn a trade.

    In 2016 that same boy is a multi-millionaire. He owns – and runs – the Australian Development Corporation, Sydney City Marine, a host of associated companies and countless office and housing blocks. He is also one of the world’s most successful sailors, having won Sydney–Hobart races in his Ragamuffin yachts and competed eight times for Australia in the Admiral’s Cup. He jointly holds the record for the most America’s Cup campaigns – all self-funded and managed personally.

    He is Syd Fischer, the Ragamuffin man, and he's known as perhaps the toughest and most uncompromising Australian businessman and sportsman of the past half century. This is the story of Fischer’s remarkable life, and of his unrelenting quest to win the Sydney–Hobart Yacht Race one more time.

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    THE NOTORIOUS CAPTAIN HAYES
    By Joan Druett. Paperback, 0.42kg, 154mm x 234mm, 314 pages, Published 2016.

    Famous throughout the Pacific, from the US to Australia and all points in between, Captain Bully Hayes has been the inspiration for writers ranging from Robert Louis Stevenson to James A. Michener and Frank Clune. Rousing films have been based on his life, and his name adorns bars and hotels all over the Pacific...

    But the truth is both less noble and more intriguing than the myth. The Hayes of legend was a product of the popular press at the time, the construction of editors who were determined to create a romantic figure to feed their readers' appetites. This, the first proper biography of this legendary nineteenth-century figure, simultaneously sorts the facts from the fantasy and recounts an amazing true story of a genuine rogue and adventurer, against the backdrop of the Pacific during the great age of sail and trade.

    This then, is the incredible true story of William 'Bully' Hayes, the so-called 'Pirate of the Pacific'. This is the story that separates the myth from the man.

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    ADDICTED TO ADVENTURE.
    By Bob Shepton. Paperback, 0.19kgs, 204 pages, 130mm x 2mm. Small Format Published in 2015.
    Winner of the 2013 Yachtsman of the Year Award.

    Opening with the disastrous fire that destroyed his yacht while he was ice-bound in Greenland, Bob then takes us back to his childhood and adolesence. Growing up in Malaysia, boarding school, The Royal Marines, and then the church. Rather than settle down to a peaceful Parish existence, Bob follows his instinct for adventure, sailing around the world, being dismasted off the Falklands, trapped in Ice, and climbing those mountains.

    From desolate and strangely beautiful Arctic and Antarctic landscapes to stormy ocean crossings and terrifying ascents, this is a rare and insightful look at the life story of someone who is truly one of a kind. A wonderful true tale of adventure and 'derring-do'

    Bob Shepton has sailed almost 130,000 miles and made over 100 first ascents. He lives in Scotland with his wife.

    NZ$25.00 + delivery.

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    WHERE THE HELL IS TUVALU?
    By Phillip Ells. Paperback , 0.15kg, 128mm x 198mm, 278 pages, Updated Edition Published 2006.
    How does a young City lawyer end up as the People's Lawyer of the fourth-smallest country in the world, 18,000 kilometres from home? We've all thought about getting off the treadmill, turning life on its head and doing something worthwhile. Philip Ells dreamed of turquoise seas, sandy beaches and palm trees, and he found these in the tiny Pacific island state of Tuvalu. But neither his Voluntary Service Overseas briefing pack nor his legal training could prepare him for what happened there.

    He learned to deal with rapes, murders, incest, the unforgivable crime of pig theft and to look a shark in the eye. But he never dared ask the octogenarian Tuvaluan chief why he sat immobilised by a massive rock permanently resting on his groin.Well, you wouldn't, would you?

    This is the story of a UK lawyer colliding with a Pacific island culture. The fallout is moving, dramatic, bewildering and often hilarious. (First Published in 2000)

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    SHIPPING OUT - A MERCHANT SAILOR'S TALE.
    By Gerry Evans. Paperback. 153mm x 225mm, 238 pages, monochrome photos.
    I've danced the night away with handsome African women in Tombo Mary's, fallen in and out of love from Zanzibar to Yokohama, and seen the sun rise and set from Ghana to Nauru. I've brawled with crazy tanker crews in the madhouse at Curacao and been jailed in Chile. I've sailed with men you could trust your life with - and often did.

    Growing up in the Welsh seaside town of Aberystwyth, Gerry Evans discovered his love of the sea. He joined the British merchant marine in 1954, when 95,000 seamen plied their trade under the 'red duster'.

    Shipping out is the rollicking memoir of Gerry's life and times. He tells of exciting and exotic destinations. Of riotous nights ashore on the West African coast, and killer gales in the North Atlantic. Of rogue captains. rapaciopus employers and rascally shipmates. Of fun, fear and a way of life long since passed.

    But this is more than just a story about the world's great oceans and the men that made their living sailing them. It is a story of a boy growing to manhood, on a journey that will eventually find Gerry settling down in this distant land.

    NZ$31.00 + delivery.

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    A CAPTAIN'S DUTY.
    By Richard Phillips. Paperback, 0.3kg, 128mm x 201mm, 286 pages.
    It was just another day on the job for fifty-three-year-old Richard Phillips, captain of the Maersk Alabama , the United States-flagged cargo ship that was carrying, among other things, food and agricultural materials for the World Food Program. That all changed when armed Somali pirates boarded the ship. The pirates didn't expect the crew to fight back, nor did they expect Captain Phillips to offer himself as hostage in excahnge for the safety of his crew. Thus began the tense five-day standoff that ended in a daring high-seas rescue when U.S. Navy SEALs opened fire and picked off three of the captors.
    "It never ends like this," Captain Phillips said. And he's right.
    This book tells the life-and-death drama of the career sailor who was held captive on a tiny lifeboat off Somalia's anarchic, gun-plagued shores. A story of adventure and courage, it provides the intimate details of this high-seas hostage-taking - the unbearable heat, the death threats, the mock executions, and the escape attempt.
    When the pirates boarded his ship, Captain Phillips put his experience into action, doing everything he could to safeguard his crew. And when he was held captive by the pirates, he marshaled all his resources to ensure his own survival, withstanding intense physical hardship and an escalating battle of wills.
    This was it: the moment where training meets instinct, where character is everything. Richard Phillips was ready.

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    MASTER MARINER - A Life under Way
    By Captain Philip Rentell. Paperback, 135mm x 213mm, 383 pages, full colour photographs.
    From his days as a cadet on the ageing training ship Worcester, Captain Philip Rentell's forty-year career has spanned the world's oceans and a huge variety of seagoing experience. He served as a junior officer on numerous freighters and liners, as the navigator of cross-Channel hovercraft, and then as first officer of the Cunard Flagship QE2, on which he went to the South Atlantic with over 3,500 British troops and a volunteer crew of 650 during the Falklands War of 1982. Since leaving Cunard in 1990, he has been an English Channel pilot and North Sea pilot, and has commanded a succession of cruise ships.

    Philip Rentell is a Fellow of the Nautical Institute and a Younger Brother at trinity House, and he has a law degree from the Open University. He has held a private pilot licence for fixed wing aircraft, and in his spare time he has recently built an autogyro. He is currently master of the classic cruise liner Saga Ruby. When he is not at sea he lives in Cornwall

    NZ$41.00 + delivery.

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    FLINDERS - THE MAN WHO MAPPED AUSTRALIA
    By Rob Mundle. Paperback, 130mm x 200mm, 386 pages, 0.31kg. Sepia and colour photographs. This Edition 2016
    In 1801 Mathew Flinders was made commander of the expedition of his life, and became the the first to circumnavigate and chart the treacherous Terra Australis coastline.

    Flinders brings to life the fascinating story of this exceptional maritime explorer - from the drama of epic voyages and devastating shipwrecks; his part in the naming of Australia; his cruel imprisonment by the French on Mauritius for six long and harrowing years; the heartbreaking seperation fom his beloved wife; and the comfort he received from his ever loyal cat, 'Trim', to his tragic death at just forty, before ever seeing the publication of his life's work.

    Famous for his meticulous charts and superb navigational skills, Mathew Flinders was an exceptional sailor. He battled treacherous conditions in a boat hardly seaworthy, faced the loss of a number of his crewmen and, following the shipwreck on a reef off the Queensland coast, navigated the ship's cutter over 1000 kilometres back to Sydney to get help...

    This is a truly gripping adventure biography of a true hero, a man whose name is forever woven into the fabric of Australian history, the man who put Australia on the map.

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    BLIGH - MASTER MARINER.
    by Rob Mundle. Paperback, 0.42 kg, 130mm x 200mm, 400 pages, full colour illustrations, This ediiton published.2017.
    The eighteenth century was an era when brave mariners took their ships beyond the horizon in search of an unknown world. Those chosen to lead these expeditions were exceptional navigators, men who had shown brilliance as they ascended the ranks in the Royal Navy. They were also bloody good sailors.
    From ship's boy to vice-admiral, discover how much more there was to Captain Bligh than his infamous bad temper. Meet a 24 year-old Master Bligh as he witnesses the demise of his captain and mentor, Cook; a 34-year-old Lieutenant Bligh at the helm of the famous Bounty then cast adrift by Fletcher Christian on an epic 47-day open-boat voyage from Tonga to Timor; and a 36-year-old Captain Bligh as he takes HMS Providence, in the company of a young Matthew Flinders, on a grand voyage to Tahiti and back. And all this before he was forty.
    Rob Mundle's Bligh puts you at the heart of a great nautical life - it's a story that embraces the romance of the sea, bravery in battle, the adventure of exploration under sail and the cost of having the courage of your convictions.

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    CAPTAIN JAMES COOK From Sailor to Legend
    By Rob Mundle. Paperback, 0.40kgs, 412 pages, 127mm x 198mm, This Paperback edition published 2017
    Captain James Cook is one of the greatest maritime explorers of all time. Over three remarkable voyages of discovery into the Pacific in the latter part of the 18th century, Cook unravelled the centuries-old mystery surrounding the existence of Terra Australis Incognita - the great south land; became the first explorer to circumnavigate New Zealand and established that it was two main islands; discovered the Hawaiian Islands for the British Empire; and left an enduring legacy.
    Rob Mundle, bestseling maritime biographer of Fatal Storm, Bligh and Flinders, introduces us to an unlikely sailor in a teenage Cook who through the combination of hard-won skills as a seafarer, the talents of a self-taught navigator and surveyor, and an exceptional ability to lead and care for his men, climbed the ranks of the Royal Navy to achieve legendary status among all who sailed and mapped the world.
    Written with colour, sweep and the authority of Rob's five decades as a competitive sailor, maritime journalist and broadcaster, this extensively researched new biography of Cook will put you on the quarterdeck with the great navigator as he painstakingly guides his ship through dangerous, reef-strewn waters. You will also be alongside the Captain when his ship is a wave-width away from annihilation; and at the helm, when he calls for the anchor to be weighed and his men to heave hard on the lines, at the start of an exciting new voyage

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    BLIGH.
    William Bligh In the South Seas.
    By Anne Salmond. Paperback, 150mm x 235mm, 528 pages, Coloured Images. This edition Published 2016.

    In Bligh, the story of the most notorious of all Pacific explorers is told through a new lens as a significant episode in the history of the world, not simply of the West. Award-winning anthropologist Anne Salmond recounts the triumphs and disasters of William Bligh's life and career in a riveting narrative that for the first time portrays the Pacific islanders as key players.

    From 1777, Salmond charts Bligh's three Pacific voyages - with Captain James Cook in the Resolution, on board the Bounty and as commander of the Providence. Salmond offers new insights into the mutiny aboard the Bounty - and on Bligh's extraordinary 3000-mile journey across the Pacific in a small boat - through new revelations from unguarded letters between him and his wife Betsy. We learn of their passionate relationship, and her unstinting loyalty throughout the trials of his turbulent career and his fight to clear his name. This beautifully told story reveals Bligh as an important ethnographer, adding to the paradoxical legacy of the famed seaman. For the first time, we hear how Bligh and his men were changed by their experiences in the South Seas, and how in turn they changed that island world forever.

    NZ$55.00 + Delivery.

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    ICEBREAKER.
    A Voyage Far North
    By Horatio Clare. Hardback, 0.33Kg, 145mm x 205mm, 213 pages. Published 2017.

    'We are celebrating a hundred years since independence this year: how would you like to travel on a government icebreaker?'

    A message from the Finnish embassy launches Horatio Clare on a voyage around an extraordinary country and an unearthly place, the frozen Bay of Bothnia, just short of the Arctic circle. Travelling with the crew of Icebreaker Otso Horatio, whose last adventure saw him embedded on Maersk container vessels for the bestseller Down to the Sea in Ships, discovers stories of Finland, of her mariners and of ice.

    Finland is an enigmatic place, famous for its educational miracle, healthcare and gender equality – as well as Nokia, Angry Birds, saunas, questionable cuisine and deep taciturnity. Aboard Otso Horatio gets to know the men who make up her crew, and explores Finland’s history and character. Surrounded by the extraordinary colours and conditions of a frozen sea, he also comes to understand something of the complexity and fragile beauty of ice, a near-miraculous substance which cools the planet, gives the stars their twinkle and which may hold all our futures in its crystals.

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    DOWN TO THE SEA IN SHIPS.
    By Horatio Clare. Paperback, 0.32Kg, 128mm x 198mm, 352 pages. Published 2015.
    Horatio Clare joins two container ships, travelling in the company of their crews and captains. Together they experience unforgettable journeys; the first from East to West ( Felixstowe to Los Angeles, via Suez) is rich with Mediterranean history, torn with typhoon nights and gilded with an unearthly Pacific peace; the second northerly passage from Antwerp to Montreal, reeks of diesel, wuthers with gales and goes to the frozen regions of the North Atlantic, in deep winter where the sea itself seems haunted.

    In this magnificent book a modern industry does battle with implacable forces, as the ships cross the seas of history and incident while seafarers unfold the stories of their lives, telling their personal tales and yarns.

    A beautiful and terryifying portrait of the oceans and their human subjects, part-travelogue, part-oral history, and a fascinating study of big business afloat.

    NZ$30.00 + delivery.

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    YARNS, NARRATIVES AND BIOGRAPHIES. Page Nine.


    BIOGRAPHY AND AUTOBIOGRAPHY



    See also Shipwrecks and Maritime Disasters


    See also Other Nautical Tales

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