My book, 10 Ships That Rocked the World, is now available in Korean since rights have been sold to a publisher in that country. I hope that means many more young readers will learn about the ships that focused the world’s attention on momentous and influential events throughout history.
While compiling a list of ships to be included in this book, Erebus came to mind, but only in the context of the Franklin Expedition, and it was felt that topic had been well covered already in the school curriculum. However, I was unaware of the earlier and extensive history of Erebus….until I recently read Michael Palin’s 2018 book, Erebus, The Story of a Ship. His writing chronicles the successful scientific expeditions of the British ship to the Antarctic, beginning in 1839, under command of James Clark Ross. Along with her companion ship, Terror, Erebus sailed further south than any ship had ever done while her crew mapped the coastline and determined that Antarctica was actually a continent, not merely a group of ice-covered islands.
Those earlier years of Erebus are fascinating to read about in view of the extreme conditions in which those explorers had to operate, and how well the sturdy ship performed. We miss all that detail and intrigue if we only see Erebus in the context of her Arctic fate. In fact, her reputation as a vessel worthy of polar exploration recommended her for the 1845 Franklin expedition to find the Northwest Passage. Palin writes about that too, but the bulk of his book deals with the Antarctic adventures. Read Franklin’s Lost Ship (John Geiger and Alanna Mitchell, 2015) for its engrossing tale of the Arctic misadventure and discovery of the wreck.
In 10 Ships That Rocked the World (2015), you’ll find a brief mention of Erebus in Chapter 5. As I worked through the final drafts, amazing news of the discovery of the resting place of Erebus hit the media in the fall of 2014. I was able to include the link to the story of the Civil War submarine, H.L.Hunley, with a reference to how submersible technology inspired the sonar imaging equipment that eventually located the sunken Erebus in the Arctic Ocean’s Queen Maud Gulf.