Sunday, September 07, 2008

Bay of Fundy's famous ghost ship

Any mention of the Age of Sail and Spencer's Island leads naturally to the true story of Fundy's famous ghost ship: the Mary Celeste. The Mary Celeste was 100 ft brigantine built in Spencer's Island in 1861 as the Amazon. The ship was thought to be cursed due to numerous misadventures, including a maiden voyage collision in London, a 1868 grounding in Cape Breton (after which she was repaired and renamed the Mary Celeste), and her most extraordinary adventure as follows:

In November, 1872, the vessel sailed from New York, bound for Italy, with its captain, captain's wife, their two-year old daughter (this was commonly done then!) and a crew of seven along with a full cargo of alcohol. A few weeks later the Mary Celeste was discovered moving at full sail toward the Strait of Gilbralter but completely abandoned. There was no sign of a struggle, fire or explosion of any sort. The valuable cargo, money box, ship's log, etc. still remained and folklore has it that dinner was cooking and the table was set!

Theories abound about what could have happened. The mystery was never solved but the tale, at the time, was widely popularized by a Sir Arther Conan Doyle (the Sherlock Holmes guy!) short story. Other books have since been written exploring the various theories about our ghost ship.

(above painting by an unknown artist of the Mary Celeste as the Amazon in 1861)

1 comment:

oralee said...

Actually the chronometer and sextant were missing from the ship