Tag Archives: Pacific Ocean

Explorers have to be ready to die lost.

After a career as a privateer in the first American War for Independence and before there was a Constitution, Captain John Kendrick’s embarked on a cruise of exploration and trade from Boston to the Far East. In the process he lost his two sons on the Columbia River and was killed himself by a British warship firing a salute of recognition. Having been one of the first Americans to reach Japan and China he was buried on a hidden beach in Hawaii which even with the irony of his means of passing seems a fitting resting place. Ridley’s book is a fine tribute to a great sailor.

Morning of fire : John Kendrick’s daring American odyssey in the Pacific  Scott Ridley  New York, NY : William Morrow, c 2010  Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. xii, 452 p. : ill., maps ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. 427-444) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

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Morning of Fire by Scott Ridley is the thrilling story of 18th century American explorer and expeditioner John Kendrick as he journeyed  for land and trade in the Pacific. Set against the backdrop of one of the most exciting and uncertain times in world history, John Kendrick’s odyssey aboard his sailing ship Lady Washington carries him from the shores of New England across the unexplored waters of the Pacific Northwest to the contentious ports of  China and the war-ravaged islands of Hawaii, all while avoiding intrigues and traps from the British and the Spanish.

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Just four years after the Revolutionary War and more than a decade before Lewis and Clark’s expedition, a remarkable plan was hatched along the docks of Boston Harbor. Two ships carrying the flag of the newly formed United States would be dispatched in 1787 on a landmark adventure around South America’s Cape Horn and into the largely uncharted waters of the Pacific Ocean, far past the western edge of the continent.

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The man chosen to lead the expedition was Captain John Kendrick, a master navigator who had made his name as a charismatic privateer during the Revolution. On the harrowing seven-year voyage that followed, Kendrick would establish the first American outpost in the remote Pacific Northwest, sail into a deadly cauldron of intertribal war in the Hawaiian Islands, wage a single-ship campaign to hold off advances of the British and Spanish empires, and narrowly escape capture by samurai in Japan before meeting his own violent and tragic end thousands of miles from home.

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Conversation about the weather is the last refuge of the unimaginative… Oscar Wilde

Floods, famines, and emperors : El Nino and the fate of civilizations  Brian Fagan  New York : Basic Books, c 1999  Hardcover. 1st ed., later printing. xix, 284 p. : ill., maps ; 25 cm.      Includes bibliographical references (p. 261-275) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

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In 1997 and early 1998, one of the most powerful El Niños ever recorded disrupted weather patterns all over the world. Europe suffered through a record freeze as the American West was hit with massive floods and snowstorms; in the western Pacific, meanwhile, some island nations literally went bone dry and had to have water flown in on transport planes.

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Such effects are not new: climatologists now know the El Niño and other climate anomalies have been disrupting weather patterns throughout history. But until recently, no one had asked how this new understanding of the global weather system related to archaeology and history.

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Droughts, floods, heat and cold put stress on cultures and force them to adapt. What determines whether they adapt successfully? How do these climate stresses affect a people’s faith in the foundations of their society and the legitimacy of their rulers? How vulnerable is our own society to climate change? In this book, archaeologist Brian Fagan speculates that short-term climate shifts have been a major — and hitherto unrecognized — force in history.

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He posits that El Niño driven droughts have brought on the collapse of dynasties in Egypt, El Niño monsoon failures have caused historic famines in India and El Niño floods have destroyed whole civilizations in Peru. Other short-term climate changes may have caused the mysterious abandonment of the Anasazi dwellings in the American Southwest and the collapse of the ancient Maya empire, as well as changed the course of European history.

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Of course at the end of the day all of this is conjecture and while it may cause us to think anew about certain historical occurrences it is neither exhaustive no conclusive in its evidence and is certainly not the basis for policy. An author by the name of Erik Durschmied has written two books, The Hinge Factor: How Chance and Stupidity Have Changed History and The Weather Factor: How Nature Has Changed History a suitable subtitle for books like this one might be How Stupidity about the Weather Threatens to Change History.

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Never interrupt someone doing what you said couldn’t be done… Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart, a year before her 1932 solo flight across the Atlantic

Amelia Earhart, a year before her 1932 solo flight across the Atlantic

Amelia Earhart: The Mystery Solved New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, c 1999      Elgen M. Long and Marie K. Long Aeronautics Flights, Flights around the world, Earhart, Amelia, 1897-1937 Hardcover. First edition, later printing. 320 p.: ill.; 25 cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

When Amelia Earhart disappeared on July 2, 1937, she was flying the longest leg of her around-the-world flight and was only days away from completing her journey. Her plane was never found, and for more than sixty years rumors have persisted about what happened to her.

Now, with the recent discovery of long-lost radio messages from Earhart’s final flight, we can say with confidence that she ran out of gas just short of her destination of Howland Island in the Pacific Ocean. From the beginning of her flight, a series of tragic circumstances all but doomed her and her navigator, Fred Noonan.

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Authors Elgen M. and Marie K. Long spent more than twenty-five years researching the mystery surrounding Earhart’s final flight before finally determining what happened. They traveled over one hundred thousand miles to interview more than one hundred people who knew some part of the Earhart story. They draw on authoritative sources to take us inside the cockpit of the Electra plane that Earhart flew and recreate the final flight itself. Because Elgen Long began his own flying career not long after Earhart’s disappearance, he can describe the equipment and conditions of the time with a vivid first-hand accuracy. As a result, this book brings to life the primitive conditions under which Earhart flew, in an era before radar, with unreliable communications, grass landing strips, and poorly mapped islands.

Amelia Earhart: The Mystery Solved does more than just answer the question, What happened to Amelia Earhart? It reminds us how daring early aviators such as Earhart were as they risked their lives to push the technology of the day to its limits – and beyond.

Photograph showing Amelia Earhart sitting in the cockpit of an Electra airplane.

Photograph showing Amelia Earhart sitting in the cockpit of an Electra airplane.

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Yea, foolish mortals, Noah’s flood is not yet subsided; two thirds of the fair world it yet covers… Herman Melville

In the wake of madness: the murderous voyage of the whaleship Sharon Chapel Hill, N.C.: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, 2003 Joan Druett Sharon (Whaleship) Whaling  Mutiny North Pacific Ocean, Norris, Howes, d. 1842 Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. 292 p.: ill.; 22 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. 271-273). Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG
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On May 25, 1841, the whaleship Sharon of Fairhaven, Massachusetts, set out for the whaling grounds of the northwestern Pacific under the command of Captain Howes Norris. A year later, while most of the crew was out on the hunt, Norris remained at the helm with four crew members – three of them natives from the Pacific Islands. When the men in the whaleboats spied the Sharon’s flag flying at half-mast – a signal of distress – they rowed toward the ship to discover their Captain had been hacked to pieces. His murderers, the Pacific Islanders, were covered in blood and brandishing weapons. Unless the crew could retake the Sharon, their prospects of survival were slim. The nearest land was seven hundred miles away.

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In an astonishing single-handed recapture, the third officer, Benjamin Clough, swam through shark-infested waters in the dead of night, slipped through one of the cabin windows, and launched a surprise attack on the mutineers, killing two of them and overtaking the other. Though news of Clough’s courageous act spread quickly through ports around the globe, an American investigation into the shipboard crimes was never conducted – even when the Sharon returned home three years later, with only four of the original twenty-nine crew on board. The true story of what happened aboard the Sharon remained buried for over 150 years.

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Through recently discovered journals of the ship’s cooper and the third officer, maritime historian Joan Druett unearths the mystery of the ill-fated whaleship. Dramatically and meticulously recreating the events of the Sharon, Druett pieces together a voyage filled with savagery and madness under the command of one of the most ruthless captains to sail the high seas. Like The Pirate Hunter and Blue Latitudes, IN THE WAKE OF MADNESS brings to life a riveting story and exposes the secrets that followed the men of the Sharon to their graves.

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Can you understand this? Discipline is the thing. A seaman’s a seaman. A captain’s a captain. And an ordinary seaman is the lowest form of animal life.

 

Mutiny on the Globe : the fatal voyage of Samuel Comstock New York : W.W. Norton, c 2002 Thomas Farel Heffernan Globe (Whaling ship), Mutiny, Comstock, Samuel, 1802-1824, Shipwreck survival Hardcover. 1st. ed. and printing. xix, 280 p., [16] p. of plates : ill., maps ; 25 cm. Includes bibliographical references. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

While sailing between Hawaii and Tahiti in January 1824, the captain and officers of the Nantucket whaling ship the Globe were attacked with whaling gear, shot, and dumped overboard under the audacious direction of twenty-one-year-old Samuel Comstock, whose dream was to found his own tropical kingdom. This eventually led to his own violent death at the hands of his co-mutineers.

Only a few members of the Globe’s crew survived: two men who were rescued after years on a Pacific atoll, bizarrely spared after their fellows had been slaughtered by the natives living there, and a handful more who retook the ship and carried news of the mutiny to the US Navy. Escaping with the ship was George Comstock, Samuel’s younger brother and a horrified witness to his brother’s murderous deeds. George’s remarkable firsthand account, written upon his return to Nantucket, has never been published in full, and Mutiny on the Globe presents portions of it for the first time.

Comments Off on Can you understand this? Discipline is the thing. A seaman’s a seaman. A captain’s a captain. And an ordinary seaman is the lowest form of animal life.

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