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Book details
  • Genre:FICTION
  • SubGenre:Thrillers / General
  • Language:English
  • Pages:385
  • eBook ISBN:9781617925955



by William Van Dorn

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This book describes the sudden, storm provoked, capsize and sinking of the Mexican dive charter boat, Cecilia Valdez, on New Years Eve in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Of fourteen persons aboard, only the helmsman and five sport divers escaped, to find themselves swimming in a stormy, wave-tossed sea. The rest of the book accounts their heroic survival afforts, not as a group, but mostly as individuals, in which all but one succeed, as the result of a final, deadly confrontation. Many other groups and individuals are involved in the massive international rescue effort prompted by Cecilia's disappearance without warning.
Motivation for this book was the sudden, storm provoked, sinking in the northern Gulf of California of the dive-charter boat, Santa Barbara, on New Years Day, 1991, under circumstances identical to those described herein. Only two persons survived: the Mexican helmsman, and a portly diver, Opha Watson, whose wet suit bobbed up beside him. An orthopedic surgeon, his wife, and his surgical nurse, all thinly clad, clung to a door with Watson, but slipped away at chronicled intervals. The helmsman swam to intercept the trans-Gulf ferry, and a patrol boat, sent to search for survivors, found only Watson. At that time, I was researching cold water survival victims for the second edition of my book: Oceanography and Seamanship, Cornell Maritime Press (1993). I interviewed all available survivors and relatives of the victims, and incorporated their physical data into a new survival theory, published separately. In Capsize, I allowed persons similar to the above to survive a similar sinking, and added a vagrant surfer, whose psychopathic nature leads to the chaotic adventures described herein. No specific reference to any person, living or dead, is implied by any character in this book.
About the author
William Van Dorn received his BSc in Engineering from Stanford University and his MS and PhD from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, where he worked as a Research Professor for forty years, specializing in the study of tsunamis and explosion-generated waves. In addition to more than 100 research reports and published papers, Dr. Van Dorn is the author of three books: Capsize, a novel based on a true marine catastrophe; Oceanography and Seamanship, a non-fictional description of how boats and ships behave in a real ocean; Ivy-Mike, a narrative history of the First Hydrogen Bomb test.