Home' Afloat : AFLOAT October 2018 Contents 56 AFLOAT.com.au October 2018
Books reviewed by Peter Campbell
Safe Return Doubtful
by Graham Murphy
published by Longueville Media, NSW
RRP: $29.99 (254pp; 15cm x 23cm)
The story goes that Ernest Shackleton used the words ‘safe
return doubtful’ in 1913 when he was advertising for a team to go
with him on his 2014 South Pole expedition. He is said to have
received applications from more than 5,000 men and three women.
“None of this is true, but it’s a great story given that Shackleton’s
1914 South Pole Expedition turned out to be one of the greatest feats
of survival in Antarctic history,” writes Graham Murphy, author of this
fascinating book about another courageous voyage to the Antarctic
in which he took part, ninety years later.
Murphy recalls that when he first met yachting adventurer Tony
Mowbray his first words were ‘if you come on this trip, there is a very
real chance you may not survive.’
“ What he said to me was ‘Safety Return Doubtful’. How could I
use any other title? ” Murphy recalls
Safe Return Doubtful is the story of an expedition by five brave
men who sailed in Mowbray’s Cole 43 Solo Global Challenger across
the roughest ocean on earth to explore Mawson’s Hut, in the small
fibreglass yacht ever to attempt such a feat.
Murphy (then aged 50 joined Mowbray aboard his Solo Globe
Challenger for a five weeks, 2,200 nautical mile voyage south from
Newcastle to Commonwealth Bay, Cape Denison, Antarctica, to
explore Douglas Mawson’s Hut, ‘ The Home of the Blizzard’.
Mowbray proved right about not
surviving the trip – almost. The stoutly-
built Cole 43 and her crew experienced
the full wrath of the Southern Ocean,
battling through huge storms, massive
waves, two knockdowns, icebergs and
pack ice, snow blizzards and even ‘killer’
Fourteen years after the epic
voyage, Murphy has finally compiled his
memories of the voyage, interspersed
with copies of regular emails that Mowbray sent throughout the
expedition, and some excellent icy images.
I’m very glad that the warnings of Shackleton, and Mowbray’s
ninety years later, turned out to be wrong, as we have another great
book on Antarctica recording another courageous adventure.
Mystery of a Generation
DVD produced by Max Gleeson,
narrated by Bron Martin
RRP: $30 plus $5 postage To
place an order contact Max at:
In early August, the 3rd to be exact, I read on an international
sailing website about the sinking by a German U-boat of the Australian
hospital ship, HMAT Warilda, in the English Channel on that date
one hundred years.
Warilda was one of a number of Australian steamers requisitioned
in World War I as a troop transport before being turned into a hospital
ship, carrying injured troops from France to England.
When she was torpedoed off Le Havre, with the loss of 123
including 15 Australian crew, she was under the command of Captain
James Sims OBE.
A month after reading this story, I received for review a DVD
entitled S.S .Yongala, Mystery of a Generation, an intriguing story of how
Yong al a disappeared in a cyclone off Cape Bowling Green in 1911. In
the commentary, the name of Captain Sims was mentioned.
Both ships had been owned by the Adelaide Steamship Company,
and Captain Sims had at one stage served aboard Yongala.
When Yong al a foundered on a voyage from Brisbane to Townsville
she was under the command of Captain William Knight. Neither he,
nor any of the other 121 crew and passengers survived; no bodies
were found, the wreck not discovered until 1958.
The Yo ng al a has since become a popular wreck for divers because
of the retained shape of the vessel and the huge marine life it had
Thirty-five years after his first dive on the Yong al a, maritime
historian and underwater film maker Max Gleeson returned to
investigate the many myths associated with one of Australia’s
greatest maritime disasters.
Gleeson was given special permission to explore the ghostly
interior of the sunken steamship and in this spectacular and definitive
documentary raises many questions as to why Yong al a was lost with
all hands. h
BOOKS OF THE
Boat Books Tel: 1300 262 826
World Cruising Routes
Long established as the bible for long-distance cruisers and a bestseller
since its first publication in 1987, this is a comprehensive guide to
over 1,000 routes covering all the oceans of the world from the
tropical South Seas to the high-latitudes of the Arctic and Antarctic.
The most important changes in the fully revised eighth edition (2018)
focus on the effects of climate change, especially on routes that are
vulnerable to changing weather conditions. All routes influenced by
tropical cyclones have been updated to take into account the risk of
less predictable tropical storm seasons. The information on certain routes has also been updated
in view of the current global weather data used in the latest edition of Cornells Ocean Atlas.
PB 452 pages $110.00
The riveting story of one of the most calamitous voyages in Australian
history, the plague-stricken sailing ship Ticonderoga that left England
for Victoria with 800 doomed emigrants on board.
For more than a century and a half, a grim tale has passed down through
Michael Veitch’s family: the story of the Ticonderoga, a clipper ship that
sailed from Liverpool in August 1852, crammed with poor but hopeful
emigrants – mostly Scottish victims of the Clearances and the potato
famine. A better life, they believed, awaited them in Australia.
Three months later, a ghost ship crept into Port Phillip Bay flying the
dreaded yellow flag of contagion. On her horrific three-month voyage, deadly typhus had erupted,
killing a quarter of Ticonderoga’s passengers and leaving many more desperately ill. Sharks, it
was said, had followed her passage as the victims were buried at sea. PB 260 pages $32.95
Links Archive AFLOAT September 2018 Navigation Previous Page Next Page