Nights of Ice: True Stories of Disaster and Survival on Alaska's High Seas

Spike Walker, Author St. Martin's Press $20.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-312-15611-4
Addicts of true adventure tales will find few more exciting collections than this account of eight battles fought by men and women against the sea off the coast of Alaska between 1980 and 1994. Walker (Working on the Edge) has been a crewman on crab and salmon boats for nine years and knows many of those who survived the ordeals he describes here so vividly. In 1989, according to one account, the temperature fell to -40F and gusts of wind reached 100 mph, blowing anemometers off ships. What lures the men and women into these incredible conditions is money: a successful crabbing voyage of only a month can bring in $10,000 for the lowest-ranking crew member and as much as $60,000 for the owner/captain. But beside these meteorological horrors are stories of great heroism by rescuing sailors and by a Coast Guard helicopter pilot named Jimmy Ng, who played a key role in two of the rescues described here. Less heroic individuals are portrayed as well--the captain who fled to his cabin in the middle of a storm and panicky, inexperienced sailors already sitting in life rafts before the order to abandon ship was given. Maps would have been a valuable addition. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/31/1997
Release date: 08/01/1997
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-0-312-19993-7
Open Ebook - 224 pages - 978-1-4668-0538-5
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