This is a fine time for me to cast off my lines and set sail for the, to me, unknown cyber seas. Worldwide financial capsizes with daft politicians trying to right the ships with old shoelaces is the right time for me to find out if my brandnew website is sufficiently seaworthy to weather these turbulent times. As I’m writing this, my son is going across the starting line for the famous Fastnet Yacht Race, a good omen I think.

     As you’ve seen from the opening lines of this site, one of the purposes is to get a larger audience for the books I’ve written and, believe it or not, the main reason for this purpose is not to make a fat lot of money but rather to get my books more widely known. I have a good reason for this and if you have the patience, read on. As you know, I live in South Africa, near the Southern Ocean where I’ve done a lot of my commercial diving and fishing. I arrived in this country as a youngster not long after the war, I mean WW2. For people like me it is still just ‘The War’.

     When Tromp van Diggelen, the famous Strong Man of Africa asked me in 1957 to find the wreck of the Royal Navy troopship HMS ‘Birkenhead’ I was keen to do it, another adventure! I’ll tell you more about Tromp later, an outsize fascinating african personage. As I explain in my book, I soon was convinced that this ship had been sabotaged but could not offer any proof thereof. When through fortunate circumstances I did find the proof 30 years later and, what is much more, proof that the sabotage had been organized in the 1850’s by a Xhosa Chief who was fighting for his nation’s life against the mightiest country in the world, England, I knew that this story had to be known, at least to the people in South Africa.

     Here was a black Chief, Maqoma, having to hide in his ancestral mountains because a maniacal british Cape governor had put a price on his head. Not knowing anything about the sea or ships but knowing that british warships are his greatest danger, he manages from deep inside his Amatola mountains to send to the bottom a 2000ton troopship full of weapons and kill almost 500 soldiers. I know what war is, having lived through one and read about many others. Yet, I know not of any war feat perpetrated by brave and intelligent people that matches Maqoma’s achievement.

     Naively I figured to find a publisher to print my story but I soon found out that if your name is not Wilbur Smith no interest is expressed. I sent a copy of the book to the University of Fort Hare that specialises in black tribal studies. I was told the book was put into their library, not a soul could be bothered to read it.

     Now I’m keen to see where my navigation into the vast oceans of electrons is going to lead me, will I meet kindred spirits, curious minds or, hopefully, a few daft sailors?

     In my next blog (soon)I tell you what made me write ‘Ocean Advocate’.


Category: publishing, writing

3 Responses to I set sail for the unknown cyber seas

  1. marie says:

    Nice To Have news and updated blog!

  2. Jack Dekker says:

    Sink the Birkenhead is a bloody good read. Well researched and written with feeling, bravo.

  3. Johann Mendelsoehn says:

    Bravo Nick!
    Hearty congratulations on this excellent and informative website!
    About time the broader public or “cyberlic” get to know about your endeavors and publications! Keep up the good work and do not neglect your wines.

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