Always Another Shipwreck
by Ellsworth Boyd (View More)
How would you like to dive on a 3,300-year-old shipwreck sunk in 150 feet of water in the Mediterranean Sea off Uluburun, (pronounced u loo bu run) near Kas, Turkey? It’s possible if you hook up with the Institute of Nautical Archaeology (INA) Texas A & M University, College Station, Texas, whose students and professors have visited it for years.
Since the earliest days of Euro/American settlements on the Oregon coast, stories have been told of a shipwreck laden with large blocks of beeswax, candles, Chinese porcelain and other exotic artifacts from the Orient. At first, settlers thought it might be a Chinese junk, a Portuguese trader or an English pirate ship and referred to it as the “mystery wreck.”
When it comes to American shipwrecks, the three-mast barque Torrent is often overlooked. What might have been a worse tragedy had a happy ending as more than 100 men, women and children escaped the cold waters of Kenai River at Cook Inlet and made it safely to shore.
It took 100 years for the story of the HMS Mesaba and the RMS Titanic to surface again from the deep part of the Irish Sea. The Mesaba, victim of German submarine U-118 on April 1, 1918, was found recently by scientists working from Bangor University’s research vessel Prince Madog (the captain’s pet pooch).
Coffins? That doesn’t sound too inviting does it? A conglomeration of coral reefs and sandy plains, Coffins Patch—six miles from Marathon, Florida, is a haven for shipwrecks. The reefs are “patchy,” hence the name, but where do the “coffins” come in? There’s a story of the diver who visited the area everyday for a week, searching for a ship that sank with a cargo of coffins in its hold. But the diver was quite disappointed when he learned this was just a rumor.
Hattie Wells image provided by SeaView Systems
The NUMA team was recently back on the high seas renewing the search for the Bonhomme Richard. The celebrated flagship of John Paul Jones was lost shortly after his momentous victory at the Battle of Flamborough Head in 1779, succumbing to fire and damage from the battle.