Last Man Off: A True Story of Disaster and Survival on the Antarctic Seas [EPUB]
11 July 2015, 21:37
2015 | EPUB | 9.4MB
In 1998, a young Scotsman named Matt Lewis sought to boost to his budding career as a marine biologist by securing a position as the "scientific observer" on a fishing vessel. Though he would be considered an officer, his role would be limited and relatively tame compared to the rest of the crews’: documenting wildlife the boat encountered, while also keeping notes on the crew’s adherence to fishing regulations. A coin flip landed him aboard the Sudur Havid, a South African boat bound for the outer waters of Antarctica’s frigid and tempestuous Southern Ocean. Even though his novice eyes, Lewis was immediately struck by its apparent unreadiness, including a dearth of adequate boots and survival suits, and a crew seemingly unprepared for work in the harsh polar environment.
His misgivings were soon realized. As winds rose and whipped the seas into a ship-tossing frenzy, the fuel- and fish-heavy boat listed, taking on water. A disastrous and inexplicable chain of decisions--starting with the Sudur Havid’s chief officers and running down through the ship’s engineers and some of the crew--doomed the ship, putting Lewis in the unlikely position of organizing the frantic evacuation. These are not spoilers--Lewis’s narrative is rich with detail, putting readers in the thick of the action as the panic-struck men stuff themselves into three inadequate rafts and embark on a nightmarish struggle on the open ocean. Last Man Off is a tale of survival, not an adventure story; and while the particulars are often grim and the outcome unhappy, Lewis's book is a sort of catharsis, a compelling testimonial to his experience and the ones that didn’t return. --Jon Foro
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