Can you name a shipwreck where the ship sank to the sea floor and was raised again in three days, while a man who couldn't swim did first aid on himself in the open ocean?
How about one where the only survivor was the ship's dog or the ship's cat?
Or one that resulted in a man having to build his own prison, a building still standing over 170 years later?
Better yet, a shipwreck we only know about because survivors from a later shipwreck found it and recorded it in their journals while they were marooned on the same islands?
To celebrate a year since the release of my first novel, Ocean's Gift, I decided it was time I shared a little (okay, a lot) of the inspiration behind the story. Not the mermaids, but the coast full of reefs, wrecks and really quirky stories where I live. Demelza Carlton's Cursed Coast – Western Australia. Every week on Thursday, I'll be releasing an episode of Demelza Carlton's Cursed Coast, each detailing a disaster or death – or both, as is often the case with shipwrecks. These are not fiction – each episode tells a true story, carefully researched and often based on the newspaper articles and documents of the time. My research goes back to the early 1600s and I have copies of the ships' logs, plus pictures and photographs to illustrate each tale.
My first episode is on the Columbia and the mystery of the missing fisherman which first inspired my interest in mermaids. I hope you enjoy it.