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
Find out more about the reviewer, Professor Fred Lockwood, who is also a published author at www.fredlockwood.co.uk.
Book Review: Non-Hazardous Material by Fred Lockwood
Non-Hazardous Material is the latest book in the Jack Collier Series by Fred Lockwood. Our story begins with one of our protagonists Sandro finding himself in serious trouble with the police and with no recollection of what happened. With the future of Marine Salvage & Investigation Company uncertain, as well as Sandro’s future, will Jack and Sandro get to the truth before time runs out?
With everything on the line, Jack attempts to salvage the cargo of “non-hazardous material” from a sunken freighter while a shaken Sandro prepares for a legal battle. Will the Marine Salvage & Investigation company be left without one of their founders? Can Jack help his friend without aiding criminals?
As Sandro’s reputation and freedom are threatened and a lucrative contract hangs in the balance, can Sandro’s lawyers and the police investigations uncover the real story?
In his latest book, Non-Hazardous Material, Fred Lockwood delivers a gripping read once again, with realistically portrayed details of cargo salvage and well researched technicalities of saturation diving. This is a quick page turner with our heroes fighting for justice and dive adventures in the cold North Sea. A warning for some readers, this book contains description of sexual assault which some readers may find upsetting or triggering.
As with the whole series so far we found it an entertaining read and look forward to the next in the series. For more information about Fred Lockwood’s Jack Collier Series, you can check out the reviews of his previous books here on Scubaverse.
Title: Non-Hazardous Material
Author: Fred Lockwood
Book Review: Inshore Fishes of Britain and Ireland
Inshore Fishes of Britain and Ireland by Lin Baldock and Frances Dipper is a book designed for divers and snorkelers to help them identify the wealth of species found near our shores.
What really stands out is how easy this book is to use. One of my favourite things about this book is how it is laid out. The fish are grouped by the habitat you would usually find them in. This really helps the average diver! You can browse the type of dive you were doing, whether it was on a wreck, along a bed of seagrass, or hovering in the blue, you can find the section of the book and then the species that live there. The book is packed full of excellent photos to help you too.
Once you have located the species you are looking for, there is a really handy guide, showing you the habitats that species can be found in, what depth range they usually frequent and a brilliantly easy key to show you their approximate size.
I know this is a book that I will regularly dip into, probably after every dive I do when diving around the UK. If you like to know about what you are seeing underwater, this is a perfect companion for any diver or snorkeler.
What the publisher says:
Fish are a colourful and important part of inshore marine life, much admired by divers and snorkellers. But it can be difficult to accurately identify and record these quick-moving animals underwater. This authoritative, beautifully illustrated photographic guide offers a practical, easy-to-use approach for identifying the fish species commonly seen in the waters around Britain and Ireland, as well as a few vagrant and interesting rare species. The book’s concise text explains how fish can be identified underwater, and is accompanied by numerous photographs of each species in its natural environment and diagrams illustrating key features. The book also clearly indicates the cases when underwater species identification is more difficult. Published in association with the UK’s Marine Conservation Society, the book makes an invaluable addition to the series of marine photographic titles of Seasearch, a species recording project for volunteer sports divers.
- Features individual descriptions of more than 150 species, with information on size, depth range, habitat and distribution in the Seasearch guide icon format
- Illustrates every species in its natural underwater environment
- Emphasises key identification features and possible confusion species
- Includes a “confidence guide” distinguishing between easily recognisable species and those requiring closer examination
- Features longer sections highlighting interesting species, behaviours and other topics
- Provides information on protected species, taxonomy, shifting distributions and conservation status
- Price £22
- ISBN: 9780691249018
- Published: 25th April 2023
- Type: Paperback
- Pages: 288
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