Shipwreck: A Saga of Sea Tragedy and Sunken Treasure

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9781574090840: Shipwreck: A Saga of Sea Tragedy and Sunken Treasure
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Readers' hearts have long thrilled to gripping tales of golden galleons, tossed by gales and engaged in bloody battle and the frantic pursuit of treasure.

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About the Author:

Now the president of Maritime Explorations International, Dave Horner pioneered sport diving and charter trips to sunken ships in the mid-Atlantic U.S. He is the author of several books on diving and sunken treasure, including The Blockade Runners, The Treasure Galleons, and Shipwrecks, Skin Divers and Sunken Gold.

Review:

Dave Homer has put together a book that challenges the excitement and action of any Hollywood blockbuster. (Skin Diver Magazine)

...adds an exciting and vividly documented episode to the long history of undersea exploration. (The American Neptune)

For those who love the sea and history, this is a good read. (Style Weekly)

the author captures the spirit of exploration and adventure in Spanish treasures both lost and found on the high seas. (Sport Diver Magazine)

Based on the exceptional and fascinating eyewitness account of a 17th century Spanish padre, Dave Horner's Shipwreck is the absorbing and true story of two immense galleons that were lost (along with hundreds of passengers and millions of pesos in treasure) to disasters at sea. Shipwreck is an extraordinary literary adventure which interweaves accounts of the many attempts throughout the past three centuries to recover the sunken treasure, including the recent discovery and salvage of one of the galleons by Dave Horner himself. Shipwreck is an outstanding history of true adventure on the high seas, past and present, which is wonderfully enhanced for the reader with 50 halftone photographic illustrations, six maps, four line drawings, seven appendices, as well as bibliographies of archival sources, institutions, original documents or primary works, and a general listing of thematically appropriate titles for further suggested readings. (Midwest Book Review)

Some people dream of buried treasure. Some read about it with fascination. A rare few take a deep breath and jump in after it. Dave Horner does all three.
Reading this book, you understand that Horner isn't just some wild-eyes adventurer. You also understand that, in being a scholar and writer as well as a treasure seeker, Horner swerves from the centuries-old salvor tradition of dive, pillage, and disappear.
Horner's book, Shipwreck, tells many tales. First, there are blow-by-blow accounts of the wrecks of two Spanish galleons: La Capitana, carrying 10 million pesos in silver coin and bullion, grounded on the reefs off the coast of Ecuador in 1654; and Maravillas, a 900-ton ocean liner, four stories tall, strewn across the white sand under the waters of the Little Bahama Bank in 1656. A sailor himself, Horner loves to melodramatize a maritime mishap, as when "The rigging clattered, the wind howled and shrieked like all the devils of hell."
Standing steady through the storms is Padre Diego Portichuelo, a priest with a wild hair up you-know-where that drove him into the company of pirates and thieves. In 1657 he published a diary of the escapades he witnessed, and his half-pious voice surfaces now and then as Horner uses him to tell the tales first-person. The padre can get colorful, as when he describes pigs brought aboard, hog-tied and huddled into a galleon corner, their constant grunting shushed when a Honduran seaman "cut six-inch pieces of papaya wood and rammed the sticks well into the rectum of each swine," at which point "the only noise the pigs emitted was an occasional whistle when wind was passed through the papaya twigs." You've got to believe that Horner embellished just a bit on the good padre's diary.
The third level of story links salvors of the ages with Horner's own salvage operations, performed with significant success off the Honduran coast in 1997. To read the lists of 17th-century divers and their hauls, it's a wonder there's any treasure left in the Caribbean sands. (Today's Librarian)

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