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Dragon Sea: A True Tale of Treasure,…
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Dragon Sea: A True Tale of Treasure, Archeology, and Greed off the Coast…

by Frank Pope

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Read this book 5 years ago, kept it around, read it again.
More than a glimpse into the world of deep sea treasure hunting. The delicate balance between commercial and archeological motivations made for a twisting, surprising plot. Some history of Vietnam, Vietnamese ceramics, and individuals involved. Pope writes of his individual journey, in relation to the wild task of salvaging a deep sea shipwreck with a team. Illustrations of ships and diving bells helped show how wild saturation diving is. ( )
  Michael.Bradham | Jan 12, 2014 |
Diving for Dragons

In the South China Sea off the coast of Vietnam, author Frank Pope joins archaeologist Mensun Bound, and a large crew of divers and specialists as they locate the shipwreck of a 14th century cargo ship they dub the Hoi An.

Pope has the reader totally immersed as he details one of the largest underwater archaeological finds to date. Step by step he brings you into the world of what it takes to begin a maritime recovery endeavor of this magnitude. As you start the early pages Pope pulls you down quickly into the unknown depths and new frontiers that the lure of the sea always brings. The magic realm of what lies beneath sun sparkled crested waves, can soon turn into an abyss of danger if diving protocols and precautions are not adhered to.

Starting with a brief history of some of the pioneer divers and oceanographers such as Jacques Cousteau, and of the evolution of the technology and diving equipment they used and developed over the years, Frank Pope swims steadily along as he provides the reader with an up-front and personal look at the many tasks and challenges the crew encounters every inch of the way. From finally finding the Hoi An, and describing every gliche and conquest against what seemed like an endless amount of insurmountable odds, to the end result of finding a treasure that far exceeded what they had expected to unearth beneath the sand, this true story is a top-notch adventure ride. The intended hoard that is expected to be lifted topside is a large cache of close to one million pieces of Vietnamese ceramics. Thousands of hand painted dishes, ewers, pots, boxes, and other items of personal possessions that might have belonged to crew members or passengers, were raised up to the surface day after day for months.

With obstacles such as tight budgets, a greedy financer who overworks the divers into sessions of dangerous exhaustion, the fear of improper decompression regulations, multiple high level storms during Typhoon Season, and the curious difficulty of dating the wreck and the uncertainty of whether the treasure is worth hauling up, this book is an informative and an exciting read. Any shipwreck or treasure hunter enthusiast would find this an intriguing book of exploration that offers up both the mystery and thrills of archaeology, as well as a hardnosed realistic point of view of the high price that is paid in both investment of funds, time, and in physical endurance. From the first splash dive to the anti-climactic auction at Butterfield’s, this an eye-opening read both sensational and scary. I thoroughly enjoyed Dragon Sea and only have one small gripe. It needed photographs. The author inserts fanciful hand drawings but a center section of color glossy site and artifact photos would have enhanced the presentation of this book 100%. ( )
  vernefan | Dec 5, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0151012075, Hardcover)

When Oxford archeologist Mensun Bound—dubbed the “Indiana Jones of the Deep” by the Discovery Channel—teamed up with a financier to salvage a sunken trove of fifteenth-century porcelain, it seemed a dream enter­prise. The stakes were high: The Hoi An wreck lay hundreds of feet down in a typhoon-prone stretch of water off the coast of Vietnam known as the Dragon Sea. Raising its contents required saturation diving, a crew of 160, and a fleet of boats. The costs were unprecedented. But the potential rewards were equally high: Bound would revolutionize thinking about Vietnamese ceramics, and his partner would make a fortune auctioning off the pieces. Hired as the project’s manager, Frank Pope watched the tumultuous drama of the Hoi An unfold. In Dragon Sea he delivers an engrossing tale of danger, adventure, and ambition—a fascinating object lesson in what happens when scholarship and money join forces to recover lost treasure.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:28 -0400)

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Recounts the extraordinary efforts to recover a sunken trove of fifteenth-century Vietnamese porcelain from the Hoi An shipwreck hundreds of miles beneath the Dragon Sea.

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