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Book Review: Overboard!

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Overboard (2010), by Michael J. Tougias is a true story. It brings together interviews and statements of those involved and weaves them into a compelling account.

It should have been a five to six day, six hundred mile, exhilarating sail from Connecticut to Bermuda. They would sail from the cool waters of the Atlantic Ocean, through the warm Gulf Stream, to their destination. Captain Tom Tighe and his sailboat Almeisan, a forty-five foot, two masted ketch, had made the crossing almost fifty times. On 5th May 2005 he was again making the trip with his friend and first mate Lochlin Reidy and three passengers. The passengers were all sailors, with different levels of experience and all eager for the blue water experience. Tom and Lochlin would sail back to the US with a new crew, the passengers would fly home.

Sailors and non-sailors alike will appreciate the account of Captain Tighe’s preparation for the voyage as well as the anticipation and apprehension of the passengers. Tougias cleverly lulls the reader into a false sense of security as the sail boat departs. The lack of wind, and having to motor the first few days, merely delays the drama that unfolds. The drama, a storm, builds at the worst possible point of the crossing – almost equidistant between a safe US haven and Bermuda. The storm will become one of the worst in living memory. To head for the US coast will take them towards the storm. To continue to Bermuda seems the sensible decision; it isn’t. Tension builds as the storm develops. It is accompanied by an almost forensic account of the sea conditions and what it is like to be on board a small sailboat in violent, unrelenting storm. Few of us will have experience a storm of such magnitude. Indeed, I suspect few of us would wish to do so. The account is vivid.

Passengers and crew are washed overboard but amazingly recovered. The sail boat suffers irreparable damage, the life raft deployed and lost, a May Day broadcast. It is a drama that sees thirty, forty foot waves crashing onto the sailboat, turning it upside down and gradually destroying it. At the height of the storm, as an attempt is made to launch the life raft two people loose contact with the boat; three remain onboard.

There are several memorable sections in Overboard. Undoubtedly one is the super human way two people, alone in a vast ocean and pounded by massive waves, try to survive. The fortitude they display is truly remarkable – neither should have survived. Another is the ingenuity the three people on the boat display in their attempt to call for help. Also noteworthy is the self-sacrifice and dedication the US Coast Guard and US Navy display in their determination to rescue the crew and passengers of the Almeisan.

In addition to a gripping narrative there are fifteen photographs, maps and charts together with fulsome acknowledgements. If I have a criticism of the book it relates to the numerous back stories that are present. They detract from, rather than support the otherwise dramatic account. However, these should not prevent you from marvelling at the author’s account

Michael J. Tougias is the author of nineteen books including several true life marine dramas including: Ten Hours Until Dawn (2006), Fatal Forecast (2009) and Finest Hours 2015). He lives in Massachusetts, USA.

Overboard (2010) by Michael J. Tougias

  • New York: Scribner            
  • ISNB 9781439145763        
  • 212pp

Find out more about the reviewer, Professor Fred Lockwood, who is also a published author at www.fredlockwood.co.uk.

Dr Fred Lockwood is Emeritus Professor of Learning and Teaching, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK. He is also a PADI Master Scuba Diver and dived in the waters of Central America and Africa, the Middle East and South East Asia, Australasia and the Pacific Islands. Follow Fred at www.fredlockwood.co.uk.

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The BiG Scuba Podcast Episode 180: Dawn Kernagis

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Dawn Kernagis

Gemma and Ian chat to Dawn Kernagis.  Dawn joined DEEP in 2023 as the Director of Scientific Research.   DEEP is an ocean technology and exploration company with a mission to ‘Make Humans Aquatic.’ DEEP’s undersea habitat and submersible systems, combined with multi-phased diver and human performance training, will create the next evolution of subsea science, research, and exploration capabilities.   Dawn is a NASA-trained NEEMO Aquanaut, Explorer’s Club Fellow and Women Divers Hall of Fame Inductee and who is also tasked to establish DEEP’s first US presence in North Carolina.   Dawn has also been a diver with numerous underwater exploration, research, and conservation projects since 1993, including the mapping and record-setting exploration of some of the deepest underwater caves in the world.

https://www.deep.com/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/dawn-kernagis-995383152/

The BiG Scuba Podcast is brought to you by Narked at 90.   “Beyond Technical”   Narked at 90    If you are thinking of moving across to tech diving or completely new to diving, Narked at 90 can advise and guide on the best equipment and set up for your personal or commercial requirements  https://www.narkedat90.com/.  There is currently a code for you to use for purchases and the code is  BIGSCUBA2024.

If you are interested in the INSTA360 action camera we discussed then please click this link:   https://www.insta360.com/sal/x3?utm_term=INRAI8S

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🎧You can listen to the BiG Scuba Podcast on all major podcast platforms including …. iTunes, SoundCloud, Spotify and Stitcher 😀.  ISSN Number 2752-6127

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The BiG Scuba Podcast Episode 173: DEEP – Making Humans Aquatic

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Gemma and Ian visited DEEP and were hosted by Phil Short, Research Diving, Training Lead, and were given a tour of the facility at Avonmouth and then over to the Campus at Tidenham.

DEEP is evolving how humans access, explore and inhabit underwater environments. Through flexible, modular and mobile subsea habitats that allow humans to live undersea up to 200m for up to 28 days, work-class submarines, and advanced human performance research, DEEP completely transforms what we are capable of underwater and how we conduct undersea science and research.

www.deep.com

You can listen to Episode 173 of the BiG Scuba Podcast here.

We hope you have enjoyed this episode of The BiG Scuba Podcast.  Please give us ★★★★★, leave a review, and tell your friends about us as each share and like makes a difference.   Contact Gemma and Ian with your messages, ideas and feedback via The BiG Scuba Bat Phone    +44 7810 005924   or use our social media platforms.   To keep up to date with the latest news, follow us:

We are on Instagram                     @thebigscuba

We are on Facebook                      @thebigscuba

We are in LinkedIn                          https://www.linkedin.com/in/ian%F0%9F%A6%88-last-325b101b7/

The BiG Scuba Website                  www.thebigscuba.com

Amazon Store :                                https://www.amazon.co.uk/shop/thebigscuba

Visit   https://www.patreon.com/thebigscubapodcast and subscribe – Super quick and easy to do and it makes a massive difference. Thank you.

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