a tale of two fateful trips

Island of the Lost: Shipwrecked at the Edge of the World  by Joan Druett (284 pgs) 2007

An absolute page-turner.  Two crews shipwreck on the same desolate island four months and 20 miles apart.  The stories of their survival (or lack thereof) are compelling. 

Druett first introduces the five-member crew of the Grafton.  Through unity of purpose, specialized know-how, and hard work they are able to eke out a bearable existance.  It’s amazing to witness the extent to which they are able to overcome their surroundings.  They build a sturdy shelter complete with mortared fireplace, they perfect a method of hunting seals and sea lions- curing the hides and using the oil for lighting, they process shells to make soap, they even build a forge.  At every turn they overcome obstacles large and small to further their goals of survival and rescue.

Not so for the survivors of the Invercauld.  Stranded with the entirety of their ship sunk to the bottom of the sea, they are left with no resources and little first-hand knowledge. Spurred by infighting and lack of leadership, the crew disintigrates. 

Arranged chronologically, the book reads like a thriller- setting you up with an example of the ingenuity and adaptation of the Grafton crew before introducing the ineptitude of the Invercauld survivors, then cutting back and forth between the two.  The result is gripping.

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