An oddball team of ship salvage mercenaries is tasked with uprighting a tipped two-football-field-long cargo ship before it sinks into the darkness of Alaska’s Aleutian Islands.
The Estonia was carrying 989 passengers when it sank in 30-foot seas on its way across the Baltic in September 1994. More than 850 lost their lives. The ones who survived acted quickly and remained calm.
At age 17, Eustace Conway moved into the North Carolina woods. He hasn’t compromised since.
Swept out to sea by a riptide, a father and his 12-year-old autistic son struggle to stay alive. As night falls, the dad comes to a devastating realization: If they remain together, they’ll drown together.
Whitewater rafting down a Chilean river with a movie star and the Kennedys.
A college student takes a trip to Greece following a death in the family.
"He bumped his way through the crowd of tourists shopping for postcards and miniature statues of gods with erect penises. Was his dad in an art gallery, picking up a sculpture of Poseidon for the foyer? Was he at a taverna sipping on local wine and feasting on fresh clams? Alex kept marching, out of the town and past the famous windmills. He looked back at Little Venice and its cluster of bars extending out over the water like they were threatening to leap."
After a friend's death, three people take a trip to scatter the ashes.
"The will assigned the task of scattering the ashes to Megan and Nolan, high school friends, and me. We were to scatter the ashes in a ravine on Levi’s uncle’s farm in Henderson, Kentucky. A year passed before Megan, Nolan and I agreed on a weekend to make the trip. By that time I was out of the halfway house and working max hours as manager of a dingy apartment complex in Louisville. I couldn’t believe Levi, at twenty-two, had written a will."
Before he died, Sun Myung Moon, cult father to massive Unification Church (known better as the Moonies), sent 14 Japanese “national messiahs” deep into the Paraguayan jungle to build an utopian “ideal city.” Thirteen years later, the author catches a trading boat down river in search of their hidden town.
An American woman in Chile takes a scenic trip with a local photographer.
"Carlos had told her there were beautiful things to see on the way. That this was one reason he’d like to take her into the outer heart of his native country. The other reasons were still in her inbox — he had fun that night, dancing and drinking and talking. He thought she was smart. He thought she should consider staying in Santiago for a while, making sure to add that he didn't want anything serious, just a friend. She could not say what she wanted. She did not want to go home and face the next step in her life yet, not even knowing what it was. She didn't want to be a cliché, falling in love with someone in another country, either. Of the two options, the love one to her seemed better. Ultimately, she’d let life take her where it wanted for a while. To read and run in the morning as she always had, but to give some months up to contemplating her place."
Sketches of late nights, drinking, friendships, and worries.
"We get drunk at the bar. We yell and sway. We hold up fingers in each other's faces. We wave our arms and say, But-but-but. We drink the cheapest beer we can find. Or we drink the beer with the highest alcohol content. Or we drink bottles of beer, not mixed drinks, in the bar down the street because the owner, Maria, has a weak pour. We stay up all night. We watch the sky start to grey and we feel sick, like we're seeing something we shouldn't, though it feels as if we missed something, too."
An elderly widower tries to convince his son to go on an overseas excavation.
"He thinks I’m an old man. I can see pity in his eyes when he talks to me, which, these days, isn’t so often. I want the tickets to be a surprise for two reasons. One, the money. I’ve already put out feelers to two New York-based auction houses and three high-end retail stores. Factor in the backstory, and I suspect the revenues will be hefty, at least $2,000 per bottle. Play a few interested parties off one another, and I’m sure that number will creep up. Allowing for 25 percent breakage over time, I calculate revenues of close to $12 million. Amortize the sales over ten years to prevent market saturation, subtract expenses, and I’d still reel in enough profit to have a pied-a-terre in the city plus a four-bedroom tax-haven in Nassau."
Exploring Paris’s parallel universe of tunnels, caverns and catacombs.
A profile of Reinhold Messner, the greatest mountain climber of all time.
“From all appearances, this place is still an earthly paradise. There is just one problem, though you could stare at this palm grove for a lifetime and never see it. The soil under our feet, whitish gray in color with flecks of coral, contains a radioactive isotope called cesium 137.”
A 21-year-old UCLA math major leaves his $9,000-a-month internship to fight with the rebels in Libya.
On Enrique of Malacca, “the closest thing there is to a hero in the story of Ferdinand Magellan’s horribly botched attempt to circumnavigate the world.”
For days I've been slogging through a rain-soaked jungle in Indonesian New Guinea, on a quest to visit members of the Korowai tribe, among the last people on earth to practice cannibalism.
The search for a missing ultramarathoner in New Mexico’s Gila Wilderness, and the life that lead him there.
Eco-tourism in the Himalayas.
The valley is everything you'd want and more. An icy milky river thunders over rocks and below steep wooded slopes are lush fields where people are working the land, oblivious to the Gore-Tex procession. Oblivious but not unaffected: the houses are smart, the prayer wheels freshly painted, just about everyone has a mobile phone, it seems, and is on it, and there are very few places you can't get a signal around here. This is not really the place to come if you're looking for peace and quiet.
Joining the water company’s “flushermen” to tour London’s sewers.
There was torture, starvation, betrayals and executions, but to Shin In Geun, Camp 14—a prison for the political enemies of North Korea—was home. Then one day came the chance to flee.
A story of endurance in the face of unimaginably brutal conditions.
On the French urban exploration group UX—”sort of like an artist’s collective, but far from being avant-garde—confronting audiences by pushing the boundaries of the new—its only audience is itself.”
Two weeks spent walking across Provence.
There is something about entering an ancient town on foot that's radically different from entering the same place by car. Keep in mind that these old French towns were all designed by people on foot for people on foot. So when you walk in, you're approaching the place as it was intended to be approached—slowly and naturally, the way Dorothy came upon Oz (spires rising in the distance, a sense of mounting mystery: What kind of city will this be?).
A trip to Scotland and an investigation of enduring belief:
I remember reading about the deathbed confession, and how strangely sad it made me, even though I had not, at that point, believed in the monster for years. How much sadder, I wondered, would it make those who still believed in the existence of a monster in Loch Ness?
A reporter recounts her weekend as an undercover Juggalette.
In 1956, an ocean liner named the Andrea Doria sank off the coast of Cape Cod. Half a century later, deep-sea divers—the author included—were still risking their lives to explore it.
Three teenage boys decide to set sail after a night of drinking. They go missing for 51 days.
Five Mexican fishermen head out with enough supplies for several days. They’re gone for nine months. A story of survival in the South Pacific.
You’re not supposed to just vanish at Vortex Spring. Dive too deep and you might not make it back to the surface, but a search party will eventually find your body. Nobody has found Ben McDaniel yet.
The story of three months spent training reporters in Saudi Arabia, where the press is far from free. “I suspected that behind the closed gates of Saudi society there was a social revolution in the making. With some guidance, I thought, these journalists could help inspire change.”
The enigmatic life and death of Bruno Zehnder, who obsessively photographed penguins in the ice fields outside of a Russian base in Antarctica.
On the psychology of a rescue worker after years of responding to disaster.
Memories of the expat revolutionary scene in 1980s Nicaragua. An excerpt from Revolution: The Year I Fell in Love and Went to Join the War.
What it takes to recover from a near-death brawl with a bear.
A (graphically) detailed account of a bear’s attack on a father and daughter hiking in Glacier National Park.
During WWII, a bomber crashes into the Pacific and the crewmen begin an epic battle against dehydration, exposure, and endless attacks by sharks. Adapted from Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken.
On what you come to appreciate after a short apprenticeship with paramedics.
Notes on a summer spent aboard an industrial fishing boat off the Alaskan coast.
In the feral communities of Russia’s Far East, tiger poaching is among the few lucrative pursuits. This is the story of a tiger who fought back.
When a boulder shifts and pins his hand, a climber on a solo trip is forced to do the unthinkable: amputate his own arm. A first-person account of the six-day ordeal, excerpted from Ralston’s Between a Rock and a Hard Place.
A group of childhood friends, two of whom had already climbed Everest, finds tragedy on Mont Blanc.
If your ex-spouse takes your child and hightails it abroad, the legal system often isn’t on your side. So what can you do? One option: hire a former Army ranger named Gus Zamora to take back your kid.
A trip to interview former South Vietnamese premiere Ky on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the reunification of Vietnam ends with government surveillance, partying, and confusion.
Fifty-four days after his group’s Everest climb turned tragic, Krakauer first told the story of what had gone wrong.
The original story of Christopher McCandless’ fateful trip into the Alaskan wilderness.
The story of the most secret underground society in Paris.
The 19-year-old “Barefoot Bandit”—on the run since 2008 and famous for stealing Cessnas without flying lessons, among other feats—was captured this week in the Bahamas. Here, the view of Colt from his hometown.
In a windowless room just outside of New York City, overworked air traffic controllers manage the world’s most-trafficked piece of sky—until all those blips on the screen become too much.
When deep sea diver Dave Shaw reached the bottom of Bushman’s Hole, he discovered the body of Deon Dreyer. Though Dreyer had been gone for 10 years, Shaw was determined to return and bring him back.