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Sunday, October 6, 2013

***** Another winner from Joan Druett

A great review of The Elephant Voyage on


Michael Taylor "Ancient mariner" (Miami Shores, FL United States) - See all my reviews

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This review is from: The Elephant Voyage (Kindle Edition)
This could be read as a companion piece to her "Islands of the Lost", about the wrecks of the Grafton and the Invercauld on the Auckland Islands.

Napoleon always used to say that he would rather have Marshalls who were lucky, than Marshalls who were clever, and in the case of Captain Miner, you have to wonder if he shouldn't have taken the hint after his first wreck, and moved to the mountains? He wasn't a bad man. His choices were shaped by his experiences, but they were mostly disastrously wrong.

I've been to Macquarie Island and Campbell Island. Macquarie is probably one of my favorite places in the world - you sit on the beach, surrounded by king penguins and it feels like you're in the middle of a David Attenborough wildlife documentary. We only visit in the summer, obviously, but even then the climate is unforgiving, and you never know whether you'll be able to land or not on any given day. Part of the permitting requirements are to land survival equipment with the guests, just in case they get ashore, but can't immediately come back.

I visit in a steel ship, with all the modern conveniences. I can hardly imagine what it must have been like to do it under sail, with the navigational instruments of the time, and the only forecasting tools a barometer and an eye on the sky.

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