Sea of Dangers

Sea of Dangers

Captain Cook and His Rivals in the South Pacific

Book - 2009
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In 1769 two ships set out independently in search of a missing continent: a French merchant ship, the St. Jean-Baptiste, commanded by Jean de Surville, and a small British naval vessel, the Endeavour, commanded by Captain James Cook. That Christmas, in New Zealand waters, the two captains were almost within sight of each other, though neither knew of the other's existence. This is the stirring tale of these rival ships and the men who sailed in them. Cook's first long voyage was one of the most remarkable in recorded history. He not only sailed around the world, following the most difficult route any navigator had ever attempted; he also changed the maps of the world. In heavy seas he made a more thorough search for the missing continent-believed to lie somewhere between New Zealand and South America-than had ever been made. He was the first to explore most of the New Zealand coast and a vast stretch of the east coast of Australia, and the first to explore the longest reef in the world, the Great Barrier Reef. In Jakarta and Cape Town, and in the seas between them, Cook lost a third of his crew to tropical illnesses, after earlier saving them from scurvy. The ship in which he circled the world was not much larger in area than a tennis court. Along with the de Surville vessel, the sea was an arena of international rivalry, for during his voyage Cook encountered Dutch, Spanish, French, and Portuguese competitors and suspicions. Geoffrey Blainey brings his marvelous storytelling powers to bear on this fascinating and important adventure, drawing us brilliantly into the lives of the major figures.
Published: Chicago : Ivan R. Dee, 2009.
ISBN: 9781566638258
Branch Call Number: 910.9164 BLA
Characteristics: xi, 322 p., [16] p. of plates :,ill., maps, ports. ;,24 cm.


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Nov 23, 2017

It,s nice when a book like Blaney's "Sea of Dangers" comes along because a book such as this just proves how bogus the myth that anything historical has to be boring. This book is historical but it is anything but boring. This second age of exploration, well after the age that discovered the America, was an age that was in many ways writ even larger than that age which focused on the Atlantic Ocean. This age of exploration ventured across that seemingly endless expanse of ocean --- the Pacific. The voyagers, like Cook, covered immense distances, often without knowing their exact position. They did this in small vessels facing the hazards of corals and reefs. They were faced with storms, sometimes if immense ferocity: The ships with which they were outfitted were scarcely up to the job. Their constant foe, scurvy, cost them many a crew member, shrouded and consigned to the depths. But yet Cook made some tremendous discoveries.He navigated and mapped the entire east coast of Australia. He thoroughly mapped the New Zealand coast, only vaguely charted by his predecessors.It was Cook's expedition that made first contact with the indigenous New Zealanders and Australians. So we have here as book that in many ways reads like an eighteenth century Star Trek charged with boldly going where no man has gone before. This book isn't merely a history book: it's an adventure book. It is thoroughly enjoyable. Mister Blainey: Congratulations.

Aug 02, 2013

Highly recommended book! It reads like an adventure story that will entertain a reader with an interest in history, native cultures, sailing ships, geography & more. There's amazing detail ~ the "Endeavour" embarked carrying (among other items): 1,200 gal. of beer; 7869 lbs of sauerkraut; an assortment of farm animals; & 2,500 lbs. of raisins. The sailors faced challenges such as running aground, capsizing, diseases, food/water shortages and curious encounters with natives. I enjoyed the author's use of quotes taken from the personal journals of Cook, Banks & de Surville. One can look online to see the replica of the "Endeavour" @ Australia's Maritime Museum.


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