Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Ghost Ship (s)....

When I was in elementary school I loved going to my school library and grabbing books about the Bermuda Triangle, UFOs, Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster and other such sillyness.  As an adult I learned to scoff at such tales but came to learn of true oddities.

One of these being the historical occurrence of "Ghost Ships".  Not so much the complete disappearance of ships--to that I can assume in many cases that a "rogue wave" has taken the ship to the bottom.  More and more evidence is out there that the mathematic "waves" of the ocean combine to create mammoth one off mountains of water which swamp even the largest of ships with little to no notice.  No, I am referring more to the Ghost Ships where the ship is found entirely intact, sometimes with its sails unfurled or engine running, but no sign of the crew and no sign of conflict--sometimes even with dinners still on the table...

The attached picture here is of a 150 foot Japanese shrimping trawler that has made its way, intact, on a one year journey after being ripped from its moorings during the tsunami to the west coast of Canada.  Just the thought of this empty ship bobbing its way across the Pacific with no one aboard while being visited by only fish and occasional bird seems really cool to me.  Now this ship is not a true Ghost Ship as we know exactly why it came to be where it is and why no one is aboard.  Not so with the following which make for great mysteries.

Take the Mary Celeste that was found in 1872, heading for the Strait of Gibraltar with no crew but undamaged, still under sail, full of supplies, no sign of struggle and with the last logbook entry some 11 days prior.

Or in 1921 with the Carroll A. Deering washing ashore in North Carolina and no explanation as to why the five masted schooner was abandoned by its missing crew.

Or in 1955 when the Joyita, a merchant vessel, was found adrift in the Pacific with all 25 of her crew unaccounted for.

Or the Jian Seng in 2006 that was found off Queensland, Australia with its crew missing and no one ever able to determine where she came from or who her owner was.

Or the Bel Amica, also in 2006, found adrift off of Sardinia with half eaten Egyptian style meals still on the table, French maps of North Africa and flying a Luxembourg flag--but no one aboard.

Or how about the Kaz II, a 36 foot catamaran near the Great Barrier Reef in 2007 that was found with its sails up, engine on, radio and GPS working and all safety gear untouched but the three man crew missing.

Or in 2008 the Taiwanese fishing boat the Tai Ching 21 that was found near Kirbati but with no sign of its 29 man crew.

So we have small pleasure craft to large merchant vessels, inland seas to open oceans, first world waterways to pirate infested shores and no resolution to any of these and more.  If it was truly pirates or other criminals you would think there would be a sign of struggle or loose tongues in some drunken port to give away the secrets.  But no, these all remain open ended cases that stir a fertile imagination and keep the legends of Ghost Ships alive and well.

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