Saturday, November 18, 2023


 18 November 2023: 

Almost Thanksgiving which means another year is nearly done! Geeze! Where does the time go! Currently hanging in winter quarters but heading back north for a quick taste of winter before it gets too cold and snowy! Got some time on the water this week which was great! Speaking of being on the water, here is a piece from the NY Post that deals with under the water, albeit a fair piece south of here.


‘Holy Grail of shipwrecks’ to be exhumed off Colombia with $20B sunken treasure

A mission to recover a three-century-old sunken ship believed to be holding $20 billion worth of treasure has been launched by the Colombian government.

Colombian President Gustavo Petro ordered his administration to exhume the “Holy Grail of shipwrecks” — the Spanish galleon San José — from the floor of the Caribbean Sea as soon as possible, the country’s minister of culture told Bloomberg last week.

Petro wants to bring the 62-gun, three-masted ship to the surface before his term is up in 2026 and has requested a public-private partnership be formed to see it through. This is one of the priorities for the Petro administration,” the minister of culture said. “The president has told us to pick up the pace.”

But mystery surrounds the ownership of the massive trove of gold, silver and emeralds estimated to be worth anywhere between $4 billion and $20 billion, according to a lawsuit.

The crux of the issue appears to revolve around who is believed to have found it.

The San José galleon — with 600 crew members onboard — sank into some 2,000 feet on June 8, 1708, during a battle against the British in the War of the Spanish Succession. 

Built in 1698 by Duke Arístides Eslava, the vessel was the flagship of Spain’s treasure fleet. During the war, the San Jose would routinely travel between Peru and Spain carrying gems and precious metals. 

Accounts vary about what exactly happened on its final voyage in 1708, but it is believed that the San Jose left Panama for Cartagena, along with two other galleons and 14 merchant vessels. 

The ship was laden with gold, silver and emeralds mined in Bolivia, which were essential for bankrolling Spain’s war effort against the British.

After docking for the night on the island of Barú, off the coast of Cartagena, the fleet encountered four British warships and engaged in a fierce gun battle that lasted into the twilight hours. 

One of the three galleons, the San Joaquin, managed to flee the skirmish under the cover of nightfall and escape unscathed. The fleet’s other galleon, the Santa Cruz, was later captured but had few valuables on board.

The San Jose, however, suffered catastrophic damage when its powder magazine exploded after being struck by British gunfire. It quickly slipped beneath the surface of the sea, killing all but 11 of its crew.

The wreck remained a thing of legend for years as its exact location was unknown.

Then in 1981, the US company Glocca Morra claimed it discovered the lost treasure and turned over its coordinates to Colombia with the promise it would receive half the fortune when recovered.

Years later, in 2015, Colombia’s then-President Juan Manuel Santos said the country’s navy found the San José wreck at a different location on the sea floor.

Colombia has never released the coordinates of the ship’s final resting place, but Glocca Morra — now called Sea Search Armada — believes the country found part of the same debris field in 2015 that it first discovered 34 years earlier.

The wreck has become known as the “Holy Grail of shipwrecks” due to its massive treasure. Presidencia de la República – Colombia 

 The company is suing the Colombian government for half the treasure, or $10 billion, according to its estimate, under the US-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement, according to Bloomberg.

Correa, meanwhile, told the outlet that the government’s researchers visited the coordinates shared by Sea Search Armada and “concluded that there is no shipwreck there.”


Did anyone find it? If so, who? The private treasure hunters of the government of Columbia? Being at 2000 feet down, recovering anything - and certainly the whole ship - will be stunningly difficult and possibly beyond the government's capability. 

Stay tuned as there is bound to be more on this and, as developments are reported, we will endeavor to bring them to you! 

In the meantime, happy Thanksgiving to those of you who celebrate it!

Until next time,

                                             Fair Winds,

                                                        Old Salt

Tuesday, November 7, 2023


 7 November 2023:  It's November and while we are in "winter quarters," elsewhere it's getting cold with nasty things like frost, ice, and in some spots, snow! Boats being put up on the hard for the duration (here, my boat is ready to go!) and life in general gets a little crazy as we head into the various winter holidays looming. At the end of last month (and yes, I am remiss in not posting this in a more timely manner, but here it is now) the American "Ship of State" celebrated yet another birthday, marking her 226th year of existence. The following (with some necessary edits) is from Fox News.


The mighty USS Constitution, arguably the most famous warship in American history — a testament to dauntless courage at sea in the nation's infancy — was launched in Boston on this day in history, Oct. 21, 1797.

The mighty warship, 225 years old today [ed:226 if my math is correct, but 225 from first voyage], is still afloat in Boston's Charlestown Navy Yard. 

July 4th 2012, Bicentennial War of 1812


She serves the United States as a reminder of the fight for national sovereignty, a symbol of our unique-at-the-time constitutional foundations and as the centerpiece of the USS Constitution Museum. [Ed: the ship is owned and manned by the United States Navy, but shares space in the navy yard with the USS Constitution Museum, the voice of the ship]

"The ship sailed its first cruise [in 1798] as the Quasi-War with France emerged. Later it served in engagements with pirates off the Barbary Coast in the Mediterranean," the National Park Services writes of the vessel. 

The USS Constitution was part of the American fleet that bombarded Tripoli in 1804, a powerful show of force on the global stage of the young nation's naval power.

 She remains a commissioned US Navy vessel, still manned by a U.S. Navy crew, making the USS Constitution the oldest warship [Ed: oldest afloat. HMS Victory in England is oldest warship] in the world.

Constitution defeats HMS Guerierre


The frigate, better known as Old Ironsides for her mighty oak hull and masts, was designed by Joshua Humphreys.

It was built over three years at Hartt's shipyard, in what is now Boston's North End. 

The ship was ordered on March 1, 1794, in anticipation of the passage of the Naval Act of 1794, which President George Washington signed on March 27. 

She enjoyed her greatest glory and earned her status in the annals of naval warfare during the War of 1812. 

"Huzzah, her sides are made of iron!" an America sailor shouted joyfully, as the ship's white oak planks and live oak frame, grown in the swamps of Georgia, repelled volleys of direct cannon fire from British warship HMS Guerriere. 

The battle was fought on the high seas, about 600 miles east of Boston, on Aug. 19, 1812. 

 The Constitution, under Captain Isaac Hull, destroyed the Guerriere and forced her to surrender in the close-combat sea exchange. The British ship was so badly beaten that Hull scuttled it rather than capture it as a trophy of war. 

"The Constitution went on to defeat or capture seven more British ships in the War of 1812 and ran the British blockade of Boston twice," notes 

She earned 33 victories at sea, with zero defeats. 

"By 1830, Constitution needed repairs and was about to be scrapped when Oliver Wendell Holmes' poem Old Ironsides helped to save her," writes the National Museum of the U.S. Navy. 

"Recommissioned in 1835, she served in the Atlantic, Mediterranean, and Pacific, where she became the first U.S. warship to conduct a show of force against Vietnam in May 1845."

 She served several more decades in various capacities through the 20th century, before being decommissioned one last time.  

"Following restoration that began in 1925, she was recommissioned in July 1931 and sailed on a 90-port tour along United States' coasts," writes the U.S. Navy Museum. 

"Today, the USS Constitution occasionally sails through Boston Harbor for special anniversaries and commemorations," according to the National Park Service. 

unassisted sail (light breeze, sadly)

"The USS Constitution and its U.S. Navy crew go underway with the assistance of tugboats as they sail down the coast to Castle Island. In the harbor near Castle Island, the Navy crew always fires a cannon salute before they turn around to return to the Charlestown Navy Yard."[Ed: and on at least 2 occasions, she has sailed under her own power (sails -she has no motor) without the assistance of tugs.]


Happy belated birthday, old girl! Long may you serve as our Ship of State!

Until next time, 

                                   Fair Winds,

                                                Old Salt