This gripping memoir by the world’s foremost marine geologist is an enthralling blend of maritime history, popular science, and Clive Cussler–style adventure.
David L. Mearns has discovered some of the world’s most fascinating and elusive shipwrecks. From the mighty battleship HMS Hood (sunk in a pyrrhic duel with the Bismarck) to solving the mystery of HMAS Sydney, to the crumbling wooden skeletons of Vasco da Gama’s sixteenth century fleet, Mearns has searched for and found dozens of sunken vessels in every ocean of the world.
The Shipwreck Hunter chronicles his most intriguing finds. It describes the extraordinary techniques used, the detailed research and mid-ocean stamina (and courage) required to find a wreck thousands of feet beneath the sea, as well as the moving human stories that lie behind each of these oceanic tragedies. Combining the adventuring derringdo of Indiana Jones with the precision of a scientist, The Shipwreck Hunter opens an illuminating porthole into the shadowy depths of the ocean.
Shipwreck hunter Mearns provides an at times riveting, at times ponderous collection of his experiences planning, funding, and executing successful searches for sunken ships. Mearns succinctly summarizes the historical contexts for each of the ships he locates, from his early search for the Lucona (which sank in 1977) to determine the innocence or guilt of the owner, accused of insurance fraud and murder, to his explorations of historically important ships lost in war, such as the HMS Hood and HMAS Sydney. The book is at its most exciting in recounting the search for the ships and relating the events that led to their sinkings, including the heroic efforts of crews to protect their ships and ensure the safety of all on board; one second mate of a hospital ship managed to rope together 50 survivors on various pieces of debris to create a "survival island." The narrative flounders, though, when the focus shifts to the complex efforts and political maneuvers needed to secure funding from governmental bodies and the BBC to document his explorations. Mearns's unique perspective on the art and science of locating shipwrecks makes for fascinating reading.