This is no dull historical or archaeological tome it is a window into
the life of a ship and a personal view through the eyes and experiences
of an ordinary diver.
foreword is written by Ed Cumming, Project Leader of the 25 year Earl
of Abergavenny shipwreck excavation in Weymouth Bay.
book covers a number of different aspects of the wreck of HMS Colossus
and its 40 chapters can be roughly split as follows:
brief history into the background of the building of HMS Colossus and
its campaigns with its commanders; such as Captain George Murray. The
fateful journey of the ship in 1798 from the Bay of Naples; to moor up
in St Mary’s Roads where she awaited for a storm to abate. The book
then follows the running aground of the Colossus off Samson Island within
the archipeligo of Scilly. The resue of the crew by local Scillonians
is covered followed by an extremely interesting salvage history from wrecking
to present day.
author then briefly recounts his early life and how his love of the sea
and facination for shipwrecks came about. Next follows his introductions
into the diving world and what was termed in the sport at the time as
"the Porthole Brigade"
comes Todd’s first encounters with Scilly, while salvaging the wreck
of the container ship CITA which went aground off St Mary’s in 1997.
He then chronicles the decision to live on Scilly; recalls his first meetings
with the locals before setting out to dive alone in the waters by his
next section recounts the circumstances that lead the author to drift
dive in the area where he discovers an unrecorded hisatorically important
shipwreck and the joy of diving it completely alone; and how he then comes
to identify the wreck site as a major part of HMS Colossus.
Then comes the, at times harrowing, tale of how others became aware of
the find, just as a totally unique discovery was made on the wreck site
by the author's wife. The book then recounts the many twists and turns
over who would claim the right to dive the wreck and recover this artistic
Next is the dramatic recovery of the unique find from under deep sand,
amidst a tide of media interest. Finally comes the events surrounding
how the huge artefact was raised to the surface by salvage men and the
circumstances surrounding legal claims to the wreck.