Wallowing in memories

Oceanscience

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Well, the last one died shortly after birth, so here we make a new baby.

40 years ago I had a great time in the Bahamas. A lot has happened since then. Probably I would not recognize the old places if I visited today.
Some places might have changed less than others, like Great Isaak Key. When it was blowing hard from the East, we would anchor on the west side. One had to be careful though, because sometimes during the night the wind would veer to the West and one was caught on a rocky lee shore.
Being watchful, one would move to the East side when the wind died down. Taking advantage of the calm before the storm.
There was plenty fun activity to do while anchored on the sheltered side. On the west side there were many modern boat wrecks from people who had been not so good mariners. Scattered all over the bottom where many dozens of small boat anchors, usually snagged in the rocks and jettisoned by the boats that had to leave in a hurry.
There was also a ballast pile. Digging in the ballast one would find all sorts of remnants of the ship's cargo, as well as an occasional silver coin. The coins were small, round and very worn, difficult to recognize to their origin. An Indian Head gold coin supplied a date, but it took me years to put a name on the shipwreck.
Anyway, enough for today. Let's see if this baby survives a few days longer than the last one.
 

Darren in NC

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Indian head, eh? So an early 1900s wreck, unless mixed in from another wreck on site.
 
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Oceanscience

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Indian head, eh? So an early 1900s wreck, unless mixed in from another wreck on site.

Thank you for the feedback. You may be right, the artifacts could fit that time period. Somebody suggested it could be the "Elija Swift", late 1800's. Does built in "New Bedford" make any sense? Need to do some googling.
 
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Oceanscience

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The enigma of the 1765 Bahamas shipwreck.

Will we ever solve that one?

This old map reminded me of it.
 

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Oceanscience

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Thank you TRG, for the contribution. Interesting story.

The Narcissa Cornwell story is nice too. I actually posted it before I read it. I specially liked the beautiful painting of a 3 mast bark in a storm, that perfectly fit into the Elijah Swift Story.
However, as nice as the stories are, they do not explain an Indian Head gold coins, dug out from under 5 feet of ballast rock. Is there anything else that could give us a better insight?
More digging is needed, this time in the archives.
 
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Oceanscience

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Should have cited the source: Edgefield [S.C.] advertiser. XIV, November 28, 1849

Found via the old newspapers site xaos posted a few days ago:https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/...#words=Elijah+Swift+elijah+swift+elijah+swift

Scan missed a portion, unfortunately.

Thank you TRG and xaos. Very useful links.
Reading this detailed report of the shipwreck of the Elijah Swift I get confused. Is it my memory that is fading in the mist of time? The way I remember, the low part of the island is on the South side. Indeed there is a spot where large waves can crash over the low rocks. About where we used to dig in the ballast on the West side. The shipwreck debris I thought to be from the Elijah Swift are just about on the southern most tip, on the East side.
It would make sense for a sail ship to anchor with SSW wind, when sailing South, to wait for the wind to change to the East, the predominant wind direction. Pilot books and "Sailing Directions" would probably indicate the best anchor ground for that. So now I need to look for that.
Everybody researching old shipwreck stories has experienced such discrepancies. Separating the wrong clues from the right clues is a good part of the fun.
 
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Oceanscience

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Painting reproductions and prints

I copied the attached painting from the post above. Although it represents a scene from a different part of the world, the light house in the background, the type of ship and the splendid, vivid depictions of the stormy sea make it a near perfect image of what the Elijah Swift at anchor at Great Isaak would have looked like.
I also found a place that sells reproductions of this painting, but I believe I am not allowed to post that link.
I am seriously considering ordering a reproduction, but want to wait until I have found answers to all the questions.
I am most grateful for the help from the kind and knowledgeable members of this forum.
 

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TRG

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Lighthouse completed 1859. In the online sources about the island the story of the shipwreck and the child survivor have been greatly abbreviated and distorted, a little surprising as the detailed first hand account seems to have been published in a number of papers. The additional family history provided in the Plough and Anchor piece is interesting.

1847 map

nw_providence.jpg

a few more by the same author:

Browse All : Images by Edmund Blunt - Touchton Map Library
 
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Oceanscience

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Thank you TRG, for the chart and the picture of Great Isaak.
I can see hurricane damage on the island that was not there 40 years ago. In 1980, Hurricane Bob passed over the island. I don't remember seeing any trees in 1981, but the houses were still in better shape. The Lighthouse better maintained.
The picture confirmed that my memory might not be perfect, but in general it is still correct. The shipwreck on the East side of the South point is likely to be the Elijah Swift. It is likely that, at the narrow spot we see on the picture, the big wave pulled the people into the sea and drowned them. I would even say that the broken gold earring we found on the west side, could be from a lady grabbed by the sea there.
But the "Indian Head" gold coin could definitely not be from the Elijah Swift.
 
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Oceanscience

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So is the Elijah Swift a useless shipwreck at a useless location? Definitely not.
She location of Great Isaak is strategically of great importance. The shipwreck of the Elijah Swift is a confirmation of that. The shipwreck itself might still be hiding a lot of useful information.
 

WRECKING

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Well, the last one died shortly after birth, so here we make a new baby.

40 years ago I had a great time in the Bahamas. A lot has happened since then. Probably I would not recognize the old places if I visited today.
Some places might have changed less than others, like Great Isaak Key. When it was blowing hard from the East, we would anchor on the west side. One had to be careful though, because sometimes during the night the wind would veer to the West and one was caught on a rocky lee shore.
Being watchful, one would move to the East side when the wind died down. Taking advantage of the calm before the storm.
There was plenty fun activity to do while anchored on the sheltered side. On the west side there were many modern boat wrecks from people who had been not so good mariners. Scattered all over the bottom where many dozens of small boat anchors, usually snagged in the rocks and jettisoned by the boats that had to leave in a hurry.
There was also a ballast pile. Digging in the ballast one would find all sorts of remnants of the ship's cargo, as well as an occasional silver coin. The coins were small, round and very worn, difficult to recognize to their origin. An Indian Head gold coin supplied a date, but it took me years to put a name on the shipwreck.
Anyway, enough for today. Let's see if this baby survives a few days longer than the last one.

So you were a modern day "wrecker"!!!!!
 
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Oceanscience

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Indian head, eh? So an early 1900s wreck, unless mixed in from another wreck on site.

Just found some info about a wreckers boat getting wrecked in a hurricane on Great Isaak. I wonder how many ships and boats got wrecked over time, just on this one rock.
 

CASPER-2

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made in New Bedford makes a lot of sense - one of the biggest producers of 19th century ships
 

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I live 20 minutes from New Bedford, it is #1 or 2 fishing port in the US. In the late 18th and early 19th century it also was the #1 whaling port in America.


WD
 

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