Warning! If you haven’t read this book yet, you should not read this webpage. It is designed as a virtual tour of THE MAHOGANY SHIP and contains pictures, descriptions, and references to scenes from the book which will spoil the plot. Please view this after reading THE MAHOGANY SHIP.
I first heard of the legend of the Mahogany Ship when I visited Warrnambool in my early twenties, and always thought the fascinating story needed to be told (and in the absence of any kind of fact, I felt that I should be the one to tell it).
The Mahogany Ship refers to an early Australian shipwreck that is believed by some to lie beneath the sand in the Armstrong Bay area, five miles west of Warrnambool in southwest Victoria, Australia. The region was well known for its shipwrecks, and searches for the fabled Mahogany Ship have revealed dozens of wrecks, but none as old or unique and fitting the description of the dark colored ship. Varying accounts by early settlers to Australia refer to a large vessel of nearly 300 tones found miles inland high above the coastal sand dunes of the small township of Warrnambool. These reports continued from 1801 through to the 1860, before stories of the fabled vessel seemed to disappear into antiquity.
In 1992 the State Government of Victoria offered a reward of A$250,000 to anyone who could locate the wreck but the offer was withdrawn in 1993 without money having been paid. To date, no one has ever located any verifiable evidence of the ship’s existence. But we all know, the best legends are based on the truth, now hidden forever…
Warrnambool/Great Ocean Road Photo abcde
To the north of Sydney Harbor is a place called Broken Bay – a beautiful harbor and coastal estuary. I used to kayak through the rivers. One day I saw a research vessel coming out of a tiny river system. The ship looked so out of place that I took a picture of it. It was this image that first gave me the idea of the Maria Helena.
Research vessel that the Maria Helena was based on.
Sam and Tom make reference to an ancient Mayan fortress in which cyanide had been found, and was now leaking into the Gulf of Mexico. This was the Mayan pyramid they were referring to.
Sam travels to Longjiang, China to speak to someone who purportedly has a journal from a Zheng He, the eunuch and famous Chinese explorer who once commanded the fleet of Treasure Ships. The fleet sailed on expeditionary voyages from 1405 to 1433, before the war in the North of China required all crew to return to protect the empire. This is a replica of one of the Treasure Ships.
Replica of Zheng He’s Eight Masted Treasure Ships
Sam’s adventure takes him to the top of the Great Pyramid of Giza – an almost perfectly constructed pyramid, built with the precision incapable of being matched, even using modern technologies. I added this photo, because I think it gives a really good understanding of just how inconceivably large the pyramid is.
Great Pyramid of Giza