In reviewing the book it’s difficult to just tell you about one specific wreck that he’s located over the decades of his career with Blue Water Recoveries, LTD and other groups. Some of the names that are easily searchable aside from the ones above are the MV Lucona, MV Derbyshire, TSS Athenia, and most recently the ships of Vasco de Gama’s fleet including the Esmeralda. Another very notable find however is the HMS Hood, the most famous British Royal Navy ship lost in WW2, and the re-finding of the Bismarck, the German battleship that sunk her. Our own Captain Joseph H. Wellings was involved with training the crew of Hood, and was on board the HMS Rodney when Bismarck was sunk. There are websites devoted to these ships and you can read about them in the book. What I’d really like to do is tell you a bit more about the scientist and humanitarian that is David Mearns.
David had mentioned to me early on that he had a write up about STRONG in the final chapter. This chapter is dedicated to the wrecks of ships and submarines he would like to find in the future including STRONG. When you look at the list of historic accomplishments he’s put forth in this book and others, I am completely in awe of the fact he considered working with me on this project to keep Strong from being forgotten when I approached him 6 years ago. After reading the book I better understand why he’s helping me, helping us, the Strong family. The job of a shipwreck hunter is very technical, complex and dependent on many branches of science that work with understanding geography, geology, ocean currents, weather, bloody large archives of historic documents, and so much more. Within the scope of all the scientific preparation, acquisition of expensive and sensitive equipment and data analysis, it’s easy to forget about the human aspect and the losses suffered. Not for David. He has a way of compartmentalizing the technical side in order to get the job done. Prior to an expedition he locates and interviews survivors and family if they are available. Once a wreck is located he is completely emotionally available to the families and others who depended on him to accomplish this monumental task. I’ve seen in his writing and in face to face conversations with him evidence of his personal commitment in honoring those lost. To me, this is what makes him successful in his work. He cares about the memories of the lost men, women and children. As proof, he’s most recently expressed his desire to help find the lost Malaysian airliner MH 370 that went off the radar March 8th of 2014. He is deeply committed to helping these families find closure. If anyone can find the plane, with his background, expertise and level of sensitivity it will be David.
This most recent book is like his others, in that they cover what life is like on board ship. You learn about all the equipment failures that cost time and money and cause unfathomable frustration when you are on a budget and deadline. You also see the triumph when the sonar finally hits on the target. But mostly, you see the human side - the history, the research and the emotion involved in this work all comes down to the people on the ships, subs or planes. David pulls it off with humor, professionalism and humanity. His desire to help us find Strong encourages me and I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish in the future. There’s always the chance that it won’t happen. If not, then I still feel fortunate that the effort got this far. However, I truly believe we will find her together and I can’t think of a better conclusion to this project.
The Shipwreck Hunter on Amazon.co.uk: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Shipwreck-Hunter-lifetime-extraordinary-discoveries-ebook/dp/B0711K16NS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1503418989&sr=8-1&keywords=david+l.+mearns