Nineteenth Century Wreck Suddenly Appears in Newfoundland

Centuries-old shipwrecks don’t tend to suddenly appear, if anything they require a great deal of exploratory searching to find. So the mysterious arrival of a wreck near Cape Ray in Newfoundland, Canada, has baffled the tiny town.

The Guardian reports that local resident Gordon Blackmore spotted the wreck while hunting seabirds on Jan. 20. He had seen nothing in the same spot just a few days before.

Freed by a storm?

However, the area around Cape Ray does have a history of wrecks. Nearby island “The Rock” features the remains of at least eight ships. Still, a previously unknown boat turning up in shallow water is extremely strange.

Neil Burgess, president of the Shipwreck Preservation Society of Newfoundland and Labrador, told the outlet that coastal erosion and a recent storm may have freed the ship from its previous resting place.

But those same strong swells and stormy weather now threaten the wreck’s integrity. Locals worry that the ship will wash back out to sea before experts can investigate it. A few have taken the initiative and attached ropes to secure the wreck to the beach.


A centuries-old wreck

Though experts have not yet examined the wreck in detail, a few features suggest the ship is from the 1800s. The wreck features trunnels, a sort of wooden nail commonly used in the construction of boats in the era, and copper pegs. It’s also a fairly large ship, the wreck measures around 24m and is incomplete.

“It was a fairly substantial sailing ship, bigger than a schooner, I think,” Burgess told CBC.

While they await experts, the Cape Ray community is banding together, diving to explore the wreck, and documenting the find in a lively Facebook group for residents.

Martin Walsh

Martin Walsh is a writer and editor for ExplorersWeb.

Martin has been writing about adventure travel and exploration for over five years.

Martin spent most of the last 15 years backpacking the world on a shoestring budget. Whether it was hitchhiking through Syria, getting strangled in Kyrgyzstan, touring Cambodia’s medical facilities with an exceedingly painful giant venomous centipede bite, chewing khat in Ethiopia, or narrowly avoiding various toilet-related accidents in rural China, so far, Martin has just about survived his decision making.

Based in Da Lat, Vietnam, Martin can be found in the jungle trying to avoid leeches while chasing monkeys.