Our maritime collection includes "how-to" sailing books, knot books, maritime adventure and exploration narratives, and books about the Sydney to Hobart yacht race.
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The Old Man and the Sea: A True Story of Crossing the Atlantic by Raft
Octogenarian Anthony Smith's journey was originally inspired by both the Kontiki Expedition of Thor Heyerdahl (who he knew) and the incredible story of the survivors of a 1940 boat disaster, who spent 70 days adrift in the Atlantic, eventually reaching land emaciated and close to death. While this might sound like a voyage no-one would wish to emulate, to octogenarian Anthony Smith it sounded like an adventure, and he placed a typically straightforward advertisement in the Telegraph that read "Fancy rafting across the Atlantic? Famous traveller requires 3 crew. Must be OAP. Serious adventurers only." In his inimitable style, Smith details their voyage and the hardships they endured with a matter-of-fact air that makes his story seem all the more impressive. His advanced age allows him a wider perspective not only on the journey but on life itself, and his never-say-die attitude to the difficulty of the journey is inspirational.
Great Southern Land
For many, the colonial story of Australia starts with Captain Cook's discovery of the east coast in 1770, but it was some 164 years before his historic voyage that European mariners began their romance with the immensity of the Australian continent. Between 1606 and 1688, while the British had their hands full with the Gunpowder Plot and the English Civil War, it was highly skilled Dutch seafarers who, by design, chance or shipwreck, discovered and mapped the majority of the vast, unknown waters and land masses in the Indian and Southern Oceans. This is the setting that sees Rob Mundle back on the water with another sweeping and powerful account of Australian maritime history. It is the story of 17th-century European mariners - sailors, adventurers and explorers - who became transfixed by the idea of the existence of a Great South Land: 'Terra Australis Incognita'. Rob takes you aboard the tiny ship, Duyfken, in 1606 when Dutch navigator and explorer, Willem Janszoon, and his 20-man crew became the first Europeans to discover Australia on the coast of the Gulf of Carpentaria. In the decades that followed, more Dutch mariners, like Hartog, Tasman, and Janszoon (for a second time), discovered and mapped the majority of the coast of what would become Australia. Yet, incredibly, the Dutch made no effort to lay claim to it, or establish any settlements. This process began with British explorer and former pirate William Dampier on the west coast in 1688, and by the time Captain Cook arrived in 1770, all that was to be done was chart the east coast and claim what the Dutch had discovered.
The Savage Shore
The search for the great south land began in ancient times and was a matter of colourful myth and cartographical fantasy until the Dutch East India Company started sending ships in the early seventeenth century. Graham Seal tells stories from the centuries it took to discover Australia through many voyages by the Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese, French and Macassans. Captain Cook arrived long after the continent had been found. This is a gripping account of danger at sea, dramatic shipwrecks, courageous castaways, murder, much missing gold, and terrible loss of life. It is also a period of amazing feats of navigation and survival against the odds.
A Savage History
Nothing prepares you for your first sight of the world's largest mammal. Celebrated, revered, studied and increasingly watched for pleasure rather than hunted, whales hold particular allure. Humans have always been in awe of them, but for much of history we have been compelled to dominate and kill them - though like Moby Dick, sometimes whales fight back. A Savage History tells the rich history of whales and whaling. We learn about these highly intelligent and magnificent creatures, and follow the stories of whalers from the eighteenth century who hunted their prey along the coasts of Australia and New Zealand, across the Pacific and into the Southern Ocean. The result is a powerful account of a complex and bloody relationship. Although the modern era has seen the end of industrial whaling, as John Newton shows, the work of those who want to protect whales is far from over.
See the 'Adventure' page for The Unlikely Voyage of Jack de Crow.
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