Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
Join us for a Wine & Cheese Book Signing Party!
Thursday, July 5th - 3 pm to 6 pm at the NJ Maritime Museum, Beach Haven
INFERNO at SEA
by Gretchen F. Coyle & Deborah C. Whitcraft
Legendary 20th Century maritime disaster on the Jersey Shore is recalled in new book.
It was the great disaster of the 1930s, a horrific experience for all those aboard the ill-fated liner Morro Castle. Returning to New York from exotic, anything-goes Cuba, the luxurious cruise ship was filled with passengers finding an escape from the Great Depression. But after the parties ended and guests were packing their belongings preparing for their arrival home in the morning, the ship became a scene of panic as a raging fire quickly spread, killing 137 and sending many overboard. The aftermath literally floated into public view – center-stage on the beach at Asbury Park, where the Jersey Shore resort town filled with rescuers, press, and gawking curiosity seekers from throughout the mid-Atlantic and northeast. The smoldering, stranded ship quickly became a tourist attraction; hawkers sold souvenirs and photographs, and the dramatic story filled front pages for weeks. Controversy and intrigue surrounded the mysterious death of the captain, as well as the cause of the fire itself, and much of the mystery has endured for nearly eighty years. But for many of those who survived the tragedy, it was a closed subject; they rarely spoke of the events, and held the awful memories away from loved ones. In Inferno at Sea -- a large-format hardcover, filled with never-before-seen photographs -- we finally hear those personal accounts. Survivors tell their stories, family and friends share narratives of those lost that night, rescuers and volunteers all contribute to give us a rare glimpse into the events of September 8, 1934. The fading, maritime mystery of the Morro Castle fire remains, but those closest to the disaster speculate about what really happened, and we gain a new perspective on a famous and tragic New Jersey shipwreck. Scheduled for release July 5, 2012, this new book is also the culmination of passionate interest and research for co-author Deb Whitcraft. A former mayor of Beach Haven, N.J. she is the president and founder of the New Jersey Maritime Museum established five years ago in Beach Haven. The museum’s collection of artifacts and documents of New Jersey maritime history – forty years in the making – contains the most extensive documentation and collection of artifacts, photographs, and memorabilia from the Morro Castle.