Back in the year 1984, on the picture-poster tropical island of Rarotonga, I literally fell into whaling history when I tumbled into a grave. A great tree had been felled by a recent hurricane, exposing a gravestone that had been hidden for more than one and a half centuries. It was the memorial to a young whaling wife, who had sailed with her husband on the New Bedford ship Harrison in the year 1845. And so my fascination with maritime history was triggered ... resulting in 18 books (so far). The latest -- number nineteen -- is a biography of a truly extraordinary man, Tupaia, star navigator and creator of amazing art.