I can finally give details about the non-fiction book I’ve been working with. Mystery of the Last Olympian: Titanic’s Tragic Sister Britannic can be seen at the dedicated website, http://www.mysteryofthelastolympian.com
The book is scheduled to be released in February, but we have started pre-publication sales because the huge, international scuba tradeshow is in Orlando next week. It’s been a wonderful opportunity for me and when Richie Kohler (from the book, Shadow Divers and the TV show, Deep Sea Detectives) asked me to co-author, I was thrilled. We’ve been on an ambitious timeline because 2016 is the centennial year of Britannic’s sinking. In a nutshell, everyone knows Titanic. There were actually three Olympic Class Ocean Liners built – Olympic, Titanic, and Britannic. They were the largest ships ever built (at the time), but two of the three met tragic fates. Britannic, the final Olympian, was nearing completion when WW I erupted. She was converted to a hospital ship and on her fifth voyage, an explosion ripped into her and she sank in less than an hour. This was twice as rapidly as Titanic and after a number of modifications had been put into place to strengthen her. Fortunately, they were inbound for the 3,000 ill and wounded passengers that would have otherwise been aboard. As it turned out, only 30 men were killed and among the many ironies of the ship, Violet Jessop, a young stewardess, had also been aboard Olympic and Titanic. She survived both disasters.
The ship sank to a depth of 400 feet in the Aegean Sea and her location was entered incorrectly into the official record. As underwater exploration advanced, it was Jacques Cousteau who found her again. He and his team made some daring dives, but it was another twenty years before scuba and submersible technology made further exploration possible. Beginning with the famous Dr. Bob Ballard (the man who located Titanic), there have been a series of expeditions by teams; many of the members pioneers in scuba. Each team uncovered different clues and in 2003, they thought they understood what caused the rapid sinking, but they didn’t have quite enough proof. In 2006 they came very close, but the expedition was shut down due to a major misunderstanding. In 2009, Richie Kohler and Richie Stevenson succeeded, but a tragic accident halted the expedition and the film they’d taken didn’t turn out. This past summer, Richie Kohler and three other individuals were finally able to go back and achieve what had eluded them for so long.
The three-part book takes you through this entire journey. The California, UK, and MA trips I blogged about were all for research for the book. Meeting people I had seen in documentaries and knew by reputation has been great. I can now answer any questions you might have, so fire away if you wish.