Regular price: $24.47

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free.
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price.
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love.
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel.
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month.
OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

This gripping memoir by the world's foremost marine geologist is an enthralling blend of maritime history, popular science, and Clive Cussler-style adventure.

David L. Mearns has discovered some of the world's most fascinating and elusive shipwrecks. From the mighty battleship HMS Hood, sunk in a pyrrhic duel with the Bismarck, to solving the mystery of HMAS Sydney, to the crumbling wooden skeletons of Vasco da Gama's 16th-century fleet, Mearns has searched for and found dozens of sunken vessels in every ocean of the world. 

The Shipwreck Hunter chronicles his most intriguing finds. It describes the extraordinary techniques used, the detailed research, and mid-ocean stamina and courage required to find a wreck thousands of feet beneath the sea, as well as the moving human stories that lie behind each of these oceanic tragedies. Combining the adventuring derring-do of Indiana Jones with the precision of a scientist, The Shipwreck Hunter opens an illuminating porthole into the shadowy depths of the ocean.

©2018 David L. Mearns (P)2018 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    25
  • 4 Stars
    7
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    1

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    20
  • 4 Stars
    11
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    18
  • 4 Stars
    11
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Delivered More Than I Expected!

This book delivered significantly more than its title suggested it would hold. This is not a book about treasure hunting in shipwrecks, or even hunting shipwrecks for notoriety and glory of the world. At its core, this is a book about the spirit of family history that all people feel strongly, drawn to find out more about their ancestors: what really happened to them? where do their bodies rest? What impact did they have on history? Mearns is certainly one of the world's foremost shipwreck hunters, but the treasure he helps people find is not pirates' treasure or gold Doubloons or other forms of monetary treasure. Some of his most significant finds came in response to pleas from descendants of those lost at sea. Descendants wanting to know what happened to great Uncle Don, or great-great grandpa Thomas. Wanting to know officially that they were sunk and where their bodies lie at rest in a watery tomb. Descendants who never met these ancestors but are for some reason prompted to learn more about them, drawn to their life stories, looking for closure and ways to honor their lost family members. Looking back on his career, Mearns acknowledges that the most satisfying thing for him has been providing families with the sure knowledge of what happened and exactly where their loved ones are "buried," an important closure that does not often happen for those lost at sea. He recalls the looks on the faces of these descendants when he presents to them clear photos of the ocean floor and the sunken ships that serve as cemeteries for so many sailors and civilians lost at sea over centuries and through countless wars and accidents. Mearns can prove beyond doubt whether the accounts of a vessel's sinking were accurate or not, and he has resolved historical controversies about what happened, who was at fault, and whether eye-witnesses told the truth. He even helped solve a crime that involved an intentional sinking to collect on millions of dollars in insurance. I read this book because I enjoy stories about searching for truth and solving history's mysteries, and it offered many fascinating tales of a variety of ships and how they ended up on the ocean floor.

Mearns tells just enough of the historical context of each ship that he has found for the reader to appreciate the significance of these remarkable finds, both for history and for the families and nations of those who perished. He also explains the technologies used to map the ocean floor and find sunken objects of various sizes and densities, and how these technologies have improved over time since Mearns began his career. He tells the stories behind locating ships from various centuries, including WWI and WWII combat vessels once thought impossible to find, locating a medical vessel a Japanese submarine sank despite knowing without question it was against the Geneva Conventions, locating sunken cruise ships, locating lost cargo vessels, and more. Each person lost at sea has a family, and these families often unite into associations that advocate for research projects to hunt for and photograph the vessels in which their loved ones died. Each ship lost is a human tragedy, so Mearns has provided a meaningful service to thousands, including many WWII veterans in particular who still carry with them the memories of their shipmates and a desire for them to be honored, memorialized, and remembered. Mearns had no intentions of trying to "raise" any of these sunken vessels or retrieve bodies or items of value or to disturb the ships. He treated them with respect as burial places, photographed them at every possible angle, and confirmed exact locations so families could point to geographic coordinates on a map and know that spot is where a loved one is buried.

Mearns does not self-aggrandize, humbly telling how each ship was found and giving a lot of credit to the specialists he hired, the organizations and government officials who secured funding for the expeditions, and the families who inspired him with their determination to find their loved ones and ancestors. Whenever he located a ship that others had failed to locate for decades or centuries, he did not boast or criticize those who had tried before him. He gave them credit for their efforts, relying on the technologies available in their times, and largely credited advances in technology for his successes. I found Mearns to be en engaging storyteller, and a man who had a passion for his work both for its technical and its human interest aspects. The narrator is pleasant, engaging, and performs superbly.

This was a great summer read, putting me out on the high seas trolling with sonar arrays pinging the ocean floor for sunken ships, while also helping others do their family history work, following the spirit of that work that has flooded the earth. Mearns points out that although mankind has mapped every square mile of the surface of Mars with remarkable levels of detail, we have mapped only 10% of earth's ocean floors to that level of detail, and our oceans remain our largest unexplored wilderness. Hopefully many will follow in Mearns's footsteps with ever-improving technology and bring to light the final resting places of countless more ships lost at sea through all epochs of time.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great Stories

The book captivated me. Mearns organized the chapters around the different he shipwrecks he hunted. For each story, he followed the same process. First, he gave background about the ship. Then he explained his research to learn where the ship sank. Comprising this step, he wrote, You can't find the ship if you're looking in the wrong place. Then, he recounted the actual on-the-water "hunt."
I enjoyed this book immensely. I learned much shipwreck history and context that I found fascinating. And he made the hunts compelling.
I would have enjoyed a few paragraphs about the admittedly off topic Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. Mearns wrote that he was uncomfortable with search "boxes" (the area to be searched) greater than 400 square miles. By contrast, as of 29 May 2018, Ocean Infinity had searched over 112,000 km2 (43,000 sq mi). (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malaysia_Airlines_Flight_370) (visited 7 August 2018). Mearns could have mentioned MH370 when he discussed The GEBCO Seabed 2030 Project to create a global map of the ocean floor. (Id.). But that is a minor quibble. Moreover, MH370 is no shipwreck.
I liked this book very much. The reader seemed ideal. I finished in about a week.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Enjoyable

Compelling and touching personal story. Heavy technical descriptions. This book is not about searching for pirate ships. I liked the forward looking epilogue.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Richard
  • Milwaukee, WI, United States
  • 09-22-18

Needs Tighter Editing

Much too much extraneous information and not enough about the undersea experience. A little too much “Ah, wonderful me!” from the author for my taste. Good enough but not spectacular.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Great book about exploration and discovery

Pretty cool stuff. One glaring error I noticed though was in the description of the aircraft used to bomb Hiroshima. Narrator says it was a B52!!! Ummm wasn't even on the drawing board in 1945.