To collect all the ships, Convert made a couple of stops while still in Jamaican waters - some had come round the island from the north side - but finally, about the 6th of February, 1794, they were underway, having actually left Port Royal on 28th January.
The weather was not great, the convoy was spread out over literally miles of ocean, and delays were rife. Captain Lawford of Convert was frustrated with his charges but, nonetheless, shepherded them onwards, giving them strict instructions that no one was get ahead of Convert. To their ultimate undoing, several ranged ahead during the night of 7-8 February and with the help of an underestimated current running to the north, hit the reef off the East End of Grand Cayman Island. A very unforgiving bit of coral.
|East End today does not look very different than in 1794|
The lagoon has been dived by archeologists who picked up some artifacts, now displayed in the Cayman Heritage Museum in George Town. Locals 100 years ago grabbed what they could, mostly cannon for display. Sadly, none were properly conserved and hence, are disintegrating little by little.
The cannon shown here is marked as
1781 because that was when Convert was built. She was French and had been captured by the British only a few months before the convoy left Jamaica for England.
A monument, dedicated by Elizabeth II of England on the 200th anniversary of the disaster, stands on the bluff overlooking Gun Bay. Set in a stone monolith, here is the plaque commemorating the event.
Now I am sure you are all dying to learn more about this hallmark event in the history of the Cayman Islands, and I am pleased to tell you: you are in luck! There is a book out, available on Amazon in both physical form and digital form which tells the story of this tragedy in novel form.
Yep, that's it, right there to the left. And while I am being commercial, here's the link to Amazon where you can actually buy this fine piece of sea-faring literature:
OK, that's enough of the commercial.
In any case, today, 8th February, is the anniversary - the 225th anniversary - of the Wreck of the Ten Sail, as it is still called today.
Until next time,