Monday, April 19, 2010

Deadly Voyage

Every once in a while I read a book that so moves me that I cannot stop thinking about it. I want to talk about it to all my friends and process the story together. Deadly Voyage is such a book. I began reading Deadly Voyage last week in our car as my husband and I made our way home from a Spring Break road trip. After I was into the second chapter, I told my husband, "You are going to want to hear this story." For the rest of the day, I read out loud the book. There were times we wanted more of the story and at certain points, we had to stop to talk together about the story.

Deadly Voyage, written by Andrew Kantar, tells the story of the Daniel J. Morrell, a Great Lakes freighter. The Daniel J. Morrell sunk in Lake Huron in a hurricane force storm in November 1966. The story is eerily similar to the shipwreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald which occurred 9 years later but the Morrell story has something the Fitzgerald doesn't have-a survivor to tell us what actually happened. We hear how the crew was alerted of the danger, the personalities of the sailors, even what they talked about as they waited for the ship, now broken in two pieces, to go down.

Dennis Hale, the sole survivor of the Morrell tragedy, floated for 38 hours on a life raft with 3 of his shipmates. None of them were able to survivor the bitter cold and high winds that buffeted them until they washed up on the shore of Lake Huron. Hale was eventually discovered by the Coast Guard and he was near death from hypothermia. He tells how he survived including a visit with his mother who had died when he was born and an appearance of a stranger who warned him to stop sucking on ice on his jacket which he was doing for water. Hale later learned that that could have cost him his life by lowering his body temperature.

Andrew Kantar has written a moving, human account of this story. He presents the facts with writing that engages and keeps your interest. After I finished reading the first chapter to Tom, I asked, "Do you want to hear more?" His response, "Of course." That's a high recommendation from him.

I can recommend Deadly Voyage too. It is a piece of Great Lakes history but it is also a look at the resiliency of the human spirit in the face of great danger and tragedy. You can purchase the book at


Linda said...

Since you responded to one of my NASCAR comments last year, and since we are both close in age and from West Michigan, I have enjoyed reading your blog. You made this book sound so interesting, I have it on hold and can't wait to read it.

Amy said...

This book sounded so good that I purchased it from was every bit as good as you said...Thanks for recommending it..

Sault Boat Watcher said...

Linda, Nice to hear from you again. I hope you get a chance to read the book. It is an amazing story.

Amy, Glad you enjoyed the book. The story really hits home to me because it is so close to us here in Michigan.