Just one week after our trip to Whale Point to test the new Pajero we decided to solidify our knowledge of the route (easily forgotten with the nature of off-road tracks here) and guide some friends on their first off-road outing to the peninsular again. This time, however, we also went to see the shipwreck of the St Mary. One of many ships wrecked locally, she struck an offshore reef in 1890 on her maiden voyage while carrying a cargo of coal, whiskey, iron pipe, boxes of tacks, and toy trains from New York to San Francisco, what remains of her today lies on the beach easily accessible at low tide. A large section of the St Mary was removed by the Maine State Museum in 1978 and taken back to America where it is now displayed but we went to see the remains and search for any of her cargo that is rumoured to wash up on occasion (a shipwrecked toy train from 1890 would make a fine keepsake). Sadly, much debris remains but none was found that was as impressive as a toy train so we left it all in its place.
It is easy to become accustomed to shipwrecks here, but the idea of our ‘adventure’ to the Point becomes somewhat overshadowed when you think of the people aboard who originally walked the same wooden boards being wrecked there in 1890 with few supplies, little knowledge of how long they might be there or how to find rescue, communication severely limited and having survived the destruction of their ship in what we can assume to be wildly breaking waves (or not survived, of course). History is, and should be, very often humbling.
The St Mary’s story is a fascinatingly sad one, wrecking on her maiden voyage following collision with the Magellan (itself sinking with all hands lost), her crew fought for their lives for 3 days before she was finally driven ashore where her Captain subsequently added to the tragedy with his suicide. To read more about it see: http://www.shipstamps.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=10221