Books: Pretty Good Ocean

MONSOON SEAS (337 pp.)—Alan Villiers—McGraw-Hill ($4.75).

An albatross glided to a landing in West Australia 20 years ago, with a message round its neck. On a metal band someone had painfully punched out with a nail, in French: "Thirteen men cast away on the Crozet Islands. Send help for the love of God." When help arrived, barely a sign of the castaways remained. Putting small faith in their S.O.S. by albatross, the unlucky 13 had apparently put to sea on rafts. The wild waters of the southern Indian Ocean did the rest.

The Indian Ocean...

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