My books

The Last NEW GUINEA Salvage Pirate

At 150 foot (46m) down in the deep dark bowels of the engine room the unthinkable happened. I had no air. I could not breath. My new regulator had malfunctioned and did so in the worst possible manner; instantly and on the exhale. I tried to breathe in. Nothing! I sucked and sucked and, in the blinding seconds that felt like an eternity, thoughts raced through my mind. Had I picked up a half full bottle, or had l knocked the reserve lever on?

Because of the angle of the wreck, the engine room was pitch-black and everything seemed out of kilter. The skylight was not directly above me, but at an angle of almost 45% from the horizontal. Ten seconds of my life had passed in slow motion. My torch was useless in the clouded sediment I had stirred up. I was blind and disoriented. I did the unthinkable and switched off the torch. It saved my life.

As my eyes adjusted to the dark a dim hazy light was visible through the skylight, my saviour; a beacon to what remaining life I was to be given. I could now make out the obstacle course I had to navigate to reach the opening. Halfway there and at least twenty precious seconds without air had passed, all in slow motion. As l pulled myself along the pipes and girders time returned to normal. Maybe I could make it.

But the exertion was rapidly depleting my meagre oxygen reserves. By the time I reached the skylight the pain in my lungs was excruciating, and I was still 60 feet (18m) down. I was acutely aware that the pain would soon pass and when it did I would be in serious trouble. The danger was that l would pass out before I reached the surface or when l got there. Nobody was waiting or watching to help me at the surface…

This book was written in the first instance to setthe history of shipwrecks and shipwreck salvage in New Guinea and other parts of the Pacific straight. It then logically evolved to provide an accurate list of all divable shipwrecks complete with photos and statistics in New Guinea.

I couldn’t believe some of the fanciful stories and inaccurate articles written in dive magazine about post war shipwrecks and salvage in Papua New Guinea having been a major player in the field at the time. So much so that one day I got the shits and started writing, five long years later with the help of many people, including Peter Stone of Ocean Enterprises the book was born. Surprise, surprise, it was a runaway success. The book now regarded as a “must have” for historians, divers or simply anyone interested in the Pacific.

The book is a true story of the legal and illegal post-war salvage of shipwrecks in New Guinea and the Philippines during the late 1960’s and 1970’s. The rush to salvage the deeper wartime shipwrecks began in earnest with the event of “modern” scuba diving equipment; which gave the divers a degree of mobility that old hard hat surface supplied divers could only dream of. Using only compressed air, (not mixed gas) these salvage divers regularly worked to depths exceeding 300ft and using volatile and dangerous Nitro-glycerine based explosives (which have not been readily available in Australia for over 25 years) ripped the heart and soul out of the wrecks.

This book gives a personal account of the equipment, the problems and dangers. It chronicles the determination and fierce rivalry between salvagers, the risks and gains, the close calls with death in precarious situations and in very remote locations. This is also an accurate record of the ships and treasure.

This beautifully presented 500 page hardcover book has over 400 rare and unique photos plus maps and drawings.


The Last NEW GUINEA Salvage Pirate

Now available at AMAZON and IBOOK’S

The Salvage Pirate hard copy was a roaring success and has sold out and is no longer available and I will not be going to a hard copy reprint. (Some copies may still be available at selected book stores, just google the title.)

With the help of experts in the field I spent 12 months converting it to an eBook and am thrilled with the result. I never thought I’d say it, but it’s an amazing reading experience on iPad or Android.