It seems every time I put one of my characters in a ship, I have a nightmare with the research. In my manuscript entitled I Remember the White I couldn’t even find a suitable ocean liner for my character Miss Summerville to travel to Macedonia in during the last part of WWI. See my blog post from ten years ago here.
Now I’m nearing the end of my character Saran Linden’s voyage on the SS Ormonde in 1924. It’s been challenging to research as well. For the most part what is tricky is trying to find the coastlines and their appearance nearly 100 years ago. Youtube has quite a few videos travelling down the Suez Canal and cruising through the Straits of Messina but that is in this century and obviously the coastline has changed since the 1920s.
Instead I have been looking at diaries of the period and have found a brief but useful one written by an Australian rower on the Ormonde in 1924. He’s on his way to compete in the 1924 Paris Olympics. I’ve also found quite a lot of photos of the Suez Canal so have been able to complete the scenes detailing what Sarah sees from the Ormonde when she is on deck. However there are not as many photos of the Straits of Messina so currently I’m struggling. Wish me luck in finding more as Sarah can’t wait for the ship to pass through the straits between Sicily and Calabria, Italy.