MINERVA REEF by Olaf Ruhen


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In Tangaroa's Godchild (1962- p. 1057) as in two earlier works of fiction Olaf Ruhen has evidenced his concentration of devotion and concern for the Pacific and its people. It is this intimate knowledge and dedication which informs him in his sensitive reporting of an incredible tale of heroism and adventure in this new book. Minerva Reef is the true story of the wreck of the Tongan cutter Tuaikaepau on the Minerva reef and of the survival of ten of the original seventeen for two and a half months. To Captain David Fifita goes credit for rare qualities of leadership in keeping the loyalty of the crew of six and the passengers, in maintaining strictest of discipline over disposition of the scantiest of supplies of water and food, in keeping everyone busy with discharge of often artificial duties, and in sustaining a quality of spiritual elevation which has marked the survivors ever since. With the complete loss of their own ship and the discovery of an almost submerged Japanese wreck, they yet managed to maintain life, to nurse the sick, and to build a tiny sailing craft on which- when all hope of rescue faded- the Captain and two others sailed the precarious distance to the Fiji Islands and contact at last with human beings. Technically, the details may well discourage the unnautical; but the intensity of interest in the men and their survival carries one through.

Pub Date: Jan. 23rd, 1963
Publisher: Little, Brown