Monday, January 15, 2024


 15 January 2024: Here we are mid January already and the weather has been borderline awful for much of the month - so far. At least here in the United States. Flooding, snow, bitter cold, generally winter weather.... We hold onto the hope that maybe we'll have an early Spring!

Last time, we began a series - of unknown duration - on shipwrecks discovered since the discovery of the wreck of Titanic. So this will be part 2 and includes some really old ones - i.e. from the time of Kubla Khan! Continuing from the Wall Street Journal piece:


1991: Stella

  • Year lost: 1899
  • Location where found: Channel Islands coast
  • Found by: Jersey Sub-Aqua Club

The Stella was a steamer put into service in 1890 to ply the route between the English mainland and the Channel Islands. It was sailing at 18 knots when a thick fog descended. The crew thought they were farther out from the Casquets, a dangerous rocky reef with lighthouses used by mariners for the turning point to Guernsey. The shoals tore the bottom out of the hull, and the vessel sank in eight minutes; 105 passengers and crew lost their lives. In 1991, John Ovenden, an amateur diver from Jersey, and a team of divers from Jersey Sub-Aqua Club found the wreck.

1994: Ships from the fleet of Kublai Khan

  • Year lost: 1274 or 1281
  • Location where found: Imari Bay off the coast of Takashima, Japan
  • Found by: Kenzo Hayashida, director of the Institute of Asian Research in Underwater Archaeology in Japan

After conquering Korea, the Mongol prince Kublai Khan made several attempts to conquer Japan with huge fleets of ships. In either 1274 or 1281, the fleet was thwarted by a large storm known as a “kamikaze” (“divine wind”) – a term later adopted by Japanese pilots who flew suiсide missions against Allied ships during World War II. The story of the great tempest has become a major part of Japanese folklore, but where were the ships? In 1994, a research team led by Kenzo Hayashida, director of the Institute of Asian Research in Underwater Archaeology in Japan, found three stone and wooden anchors in Kozaki Harbor, a small cove on the south coast of Takashima. Later that year, they found the remains of a ship in 45 feet of water. Hayashida was confident that this was a ship from the fabled fleet. [ed: sorry we don't have a photo of one of the Khan's vessels - photography had  not been invented yet!]

1995: La Belle

          Year lost: 1686

 Location where found: Matagorda Bay off the coast of Texas

  • Found by: Archaeologists from Texas Historical Commission

In 1684, the French ship La Belle and three other ships belonging to the famed explorer René-Robert Cavelier, known as La Salle, set sail from France for the Mississippi River with 300 settlers aiming to colonize the area, discover trade routes, and find Spanish silver mines. Some of the ships were lost to pirates and storms en route. The La Belle veered hundreds of miles off course into Matagorda Bay off the coast of Texas, where it sank during a storm in 1686. It was found in 1995 by marine archaeologists from the Texas Historical Commission. The hull has been recovered, along with artifacts including tools, trade goods, weapons, and personal items of the would-be settlers.

1996: Queen Anne’s Revenge

Queen Anne's Anchor raised

Year lost:

Location where found: Beaufort Inlet off the North Carolina coast

Found by: Private salvage company [ed: the late writer Clive Cussler's underwater archeology firm, NUMA actually found it]

Queen Anne’s Revenge had a complicated history. It was originally a Royal Navy vessel, it became a French slave ship, and then it was commandeered by the pirate Blackbeard in 1717. A year later, the ship ran aground in the Beaufort Inlet off the coast of North Carolina and Blackbeard escaped from the wreck. The ship was discovered in 23 feet of water by a private salvage company in 1996. More than 30 cannon and 250,000 artifacts have been removed from the wreck. [ed: we have posted about this discovery in the past.]


OK - that will wrap up this edition of recently discovered shipwrecks and we'll continue the series with the next post. Based on reader feedback, there seems to be some interest here - for which we thank you!

Until next time,

                                                          Fair Winds,

                                                                   Old Salt

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