Tuesday, 20 July 2010
Monday, 19 July 2010
This is the first Gayle Lynds book I’ve read. Previously I’ve noticed that Gayle was co-writing/ghost-writing for Robert Ludlum, so she has that espionage-thriller background.
Why did I choose this one, well the opening line (the one authors want to grab your attention with) begins – “A library could be a dangerous place.” And then proceeds to murder the Librarian in the Prologue. Of course I kept reading.
The recommendations on the back cover include one by James Patterson the quote "Da Vinci Code meets Bourne Identity", and that’s correct. It has:
Hero in the run √
Faithful side-kick √ (though in this scenario the hero is female and the side-kick male – a twist on the usual formula)
Deadly Secret Society/Cult/Group √
With menacing henchmen √
Mysterious ‘lost’ ancient artefact √
Race against time √
Though a variety of cities & exotic locations √
Friends & associates who prove to be untrustworthy & working for the other side √
And the romantic tension √
Ex-convict Eva Blake is a manuscript curator, who the CIA enlist to track the “Book of spies” a be-jewelled book part of the legendary Library of Gold - Ivan the Terrible's collection of lost works, apparently lost for hundreds of years. In fact it is in the possession of a secret cabal known as the Book Club. The Book Club operatives too are searching for the "Book of Spies" (which has been smuggled from the Library), to 'return it to the library' as we all should do.
Judd Ryder ex-Army & part-time CLA agent is tasked with assisting Eva.
Having just watched the Cities of the Underworld DVD, I could clearly place the Roman tunnels and Istanbul’s hippodrome, etc., which helped visualise the scene.
This book has the plot twists, the action scenes, everything to keep you turning the pages.
Saturday, 17 July 2010
here are just some of the images, check out the site for more.
HMQS Gayundah was a 360 ton steel gunboat operated by the Queensland Maritime Defence Force and the Royal Australian Navy. She entered service in 1884 and in 1921 she was sold to Brisbane Gravel, who employed her as a sand and gravel barge on the Brisbane River. Gayundah was eventually scrapped sometime in the 1950s, before being filled with concrete run aground in 1958 at Woody Point at Redcliffe, Moreton Bay to serve as a breakwater.
The USS Oriskany aircraft carrier, the world’s largest artificial reef 911' long, 150' tall and 146' wide, was unk in 212' of water 22 miles from shore, near Pensacola in the USA in 2006. You can dive it which would make it an alternative to the USS Saratoga at Bikini Atoll ( they closed diving in 2009).
If you don’t mind the cold you can also dive the Russian built Murmansk, a Sverdlov-class battleship (built 1955) one of the last all gun cruisers. Lost in 1994 while in tow to India, and is now aground on Sørøya, Norway. It still remains intact, complete with all guns, 5 decks above the water-line and 5 below.
SS America had a long and lustrous career as a luxury liner, having had several owners, In 1994 it was re-named the American Star was undertow from Greece to Phuket when the tow lines broke in a storm and it was left adrift till it grounded at Fuerteventura in the Canary Islands.
Photographs of shipwrecks-in-progress, the Victor Karyakin a fishing vessel meets some unforgiving rocks at the Rybachi island, Northern Norway. The 12-strong crew was in deadly peril, as no other ship could come close to the same rocky shore. The crew was saved by Norwegian Coast Guard Sea King helicopter.
In 48 hours it snapped in two, the stern section broke off and sank, it became a total loss. The port side & funnel collapsed in 2005. The hull started to break up it was finally claimed by the sea in 2007 when the starboard side fell.
There is a great selection of Pasha Bunker photos on Flickr looks good as a full screen slideshow!
T-boned in 2003, the MT Gas Roman (230 meters long and 37m wide, built in 1990) fully laden with 44,000 tonnes of liquefied petroleum gas collided with the MV Springbok (general cargo ship of 15,000 tonnes. 144 m long & 20m wide, built in 1979, and laden with 3,165 tonnes of timber) off Singapore.
Shipwrecks claimed by the desert from the Namibian Skeleton Coast. The area is subject to dense ocean fogs, a constant, heavy surf onto the beach or rocks, then hundreds of miles of marshes and finally a hot and arid desert. So much the stuff of Geoffrey Jenkins “A twist of sand” and Clive Cussler’s “Skeleton Coast” novels.
and why do that
Tuesday, 13 July 2010
Thursday, 8 July 2010
A lot of things can happen at sea – pirates, mutiny, murder and bad weather not to mention (if you’re so inclined) alien abductions, clashes with sea monsters and the mysterious workings of the Bermuda Triangle. So perhaps it’s no wonder so many ships have turned up without their crew or passengers – but where’s the evidence of a struggle?
1. Mary CelesteIn 1872 in this brigantine merchant ship was found in the Atlantic Ocean heading in the direction of the Strait of Gibraltar, with its cargo and valuables completely untouched, packed with six months’ worth of food and water but not a single passenger or crew member. Aside from several torn sails and a missing lifeboat, its contents were wet and it was a bit worse for the wear, the ship was still seaworthy. The fact that all reasonable explanations – from storms to piracy – seem to have been ruled out has spurred more outrageous theories of alien abduction or sea monster attacks (A 1965 episode of Dr Who suggests the disappearance was caused by Daleks). Today, the fate of the Mary Celeste remains one of history’s most famous and puzzling maritime mysteries – but this is far from the only story of its kind.
4. The High Aim 6, a Taiwanese ship was found drifting in Australian waters without its crew in 2003, though plenty of fuel and provisions remained onboard, along with the crew’s personal belongings and a hold full of stinky seafood. A forensic examination could find no sign of a struggle, and a search of 7,300 nautical miles turned up no clues – but 10 days after the ship was discovered, calls were still being made from Indonesia on the cell phone of the ship’s missing engineer. The only crew member ever tracked down claimed that the captain and engineer were murdered and the crew headed back to their homes, but no reason was ever given.
6. MV Joyita may have been an “unsinkable” ship, with 25 passengers and crew onboard, the Joyita disappeared in the South Pacific in 1955. the Joyita left Western Samoa’s Apia harbour bound for the Tokelau Islands, about 270 miles (430 km) away. 5 weeks after the ship was reported overdue, it was spotted off-course partially submerged and missing 4 tons of cargo including medical supplies, timber, food and empty oil drums. While flooded to an extent which would sink a conventional vessel, the Joyita stayed afloat due to her cork-lined hull and cargo of fuel drums. The radio was tuned to the international marine distress channel, the lifeboats were gone and blood-stained bandages were found. Some believe that the captain was injured or killed and that the passengers and crew felt they had no choice but to abandon the ship – but that still doesn’t explain the missing cargo.
7. Kaz II, a 32-ft (9.8 m) catamaran. On April 15th, 2007, three men set out on a journey along the coast of Australia – and 3 days later, their ship turned up drifting 88 nautical miles (160 km) off the Great Barrier Reef with everything perfectly in place. Everything, that is, except for the men themselves, who were missing. Food was set out on the table, a laptop was open and still turned on, the engines were running, all of the boat’s emergency systems were fully functional and life jackets hung neatly on their hooks. Since the seas were choppy and none of the men were wearing a life jacket, it has been hypothesized that one of the men fell overboard and the others perished trying to save him.
8. Yet another ship found without its crew was the Zebrina, a 3-masted sailing barge that left a port in Southern England in October 1917 with a cargo hold full of coal bound for Saint-Brieuc, France. When the ship was found 2 days later, in France aground and abandoned but in good shape, except for some disarrangement of her rigging,, it seemed that some kind of conflict related to World War I was to blame. Did the U-boat that threatened the Zebrina force the crew onboard, and then retreat when it spotted an Allied ship nearby? Some people believe that this submarine was later sunken itself, hence the fact that Zebrina’s crew was never seen again.
9. Jenny“May 4, 1823. No food for 71 days. I am the only one left alive.” The captain who wrote this message was still sitting in a chair with a pen in his hand when this message was found in his logbook 17 years later. His body, and those of the other people onboard the British schooner Jenny, had been preserved by the frigid Antarctic weather of the Drake passage, which had ensnared the ship in ice and led to their deaths. Captain Brighton and the crew of a whaling ship discovered the Jenny in 1840 and buried the 7 crew and passengers – including a dog – at sea.
The Octavius wasn’t seen again until October 11th, 1775 when the Herald, an Atlantic whaling ship, came across the Octavius drifting off the coast of Greenland. Sailors from the Herald boarded the Octavius only to find the crew dead and the captain sitting at his desk… frozen solid. The captain was in the midst of writing an entry into the ship’s log dated 1762. Though the Octavius had accomplished the impossible by sailing the Northwest Passage, the captain’s desire for a speedy homecoming was less successful.
10. The SS Baychimo re-supplying the Hudson Bay Company’s far-flung northern outposts traded pelts for provisions in Inuit settlements along the north coast of Canada. This Swedish built 230-foot steel hulled cargo steamer had just been freed from pack ice a week earlier when it got stuck even worse on October 8th, 1931, leading over half of its crew to abandon it while 15 remained to wait out the winter nearby in a wooden shelter that they built. When a blizzard struck on November 24, the Baychimo was later found to be missing and assumed sunken… but it turned up three days later, 45 miles away. The crew gathered up the cargo and abandoned the ship, fearing the ship would be crushed in the winter, but once again it did not sink. Over the several decades, sightings of the Baychimo were reported all over the coast, and some people even boarded the ship. In March 1962 it was seen drifting in open water along the Beaufort Sea coast and it was last seen frozen in pack-ice off the Alaskan Coast in 1969.
The 42ft yacht the Blessed Be and her 2 sailors, missing since August 2008 on a journey between Noumea, New Caledonia and Queensland. The yacht was equipped with a sat-phone, an EPIRB, HF and VHF radios, life raft and other safety gear, but no Mayday was called by the yacht.
Or, the West Australian 19.5-metre yacht Patanella which left Fremantle on October 16th 1988 bound for Airlie Beach (Airlie Beach again, see Kaz II) Queensland with six people on board. The vessel was last seen at Portland, Victoria, on November 1st 1988. An unconfirmed radio message on November 8 said it was 10 nautical miles off Sydney Heads and coming in under sail because it had run out of fuel. A lifebuoy from the Patanella was found off Terrigal on the NSW Central Coast on May 9th 1989. Scientific tests on it found it had been drifting for no more than four weeks, and prevailing currents meant the buoy had probably floated from somewhere in the Coral Sea.
So is Australia over represented in the ghostly shipping stakes?
Other related WebUrbanist posts Strange & Intriguing Shipwrecks and Spirits of the Seven Seas