down to the sea in ships book cover

Down to the Sea in Ships by Horatio Clare

For millennia, the seaways have carried out goods, cultures and ideas, the terrors of war and the bounties of peace. Today our lives depend on shipping, but it is a world which passes largely unconsidered.

Out of sight in every lonely corner of every sea, through every imaginable weather, tiny crews of seafarers work the giant ships which keep landed life afloat.

Horatio Clare joins two container ships, travelling in the company of their crews and captains. Together they experience unforgettable journeys: the first, from East to West (Felixstowe to Los Angeles, via Suez) is rich with Mediterranean history torn with typhoon nights and gilded with an unearthly Pacific peace; the second northerly passage, from Antwerp to Montreal, reeks of diesel, withers with gales and goes to frozen regions of the North Atlantic, in deep winter, where the sea itself seems haunted.

Clare is not a seafarer and his depiction is that of an observer and not a sailor, and his observations show a completely different picture that the seafarer wouldtell.

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