By Capt. Dan Berg
Photo: cannon salvaged
from the Virginia Merchant wreck area. Photo by Daniel Berg
The Virginia Merchant was an English vessel owned by the
Virginia Company and bound from Plymouth, England, to Jamestown,
Virginia, carrying 179 passengers and a general cargo. On March 26,
1661, under the command of Captain Robert Burke, the Virginia
Merchant left Castle Harbor. Captain Burke soon found his vessel
being ripped apart on a shallow reef only 250 yards from shore. Only
ten of the passengers and crew managed to survive the ordeal.
The Virginia Merchant was discovered by treasure hunter,
Teddy Tucker. Tucker's find was of great archaeological interest
because he found a sheathing of animal hair attached to the exterior
of the Virginia Merchant's hull. This was done in earlier
time in an attempt to protect the wood from wood eating worms (teredos).
To date there are only one or two other known examples of animal
hair sheathing ever found on a shipwreck. One example was found on
the unidentified ballast pile in Florida known as the Wedge Wreck.
Today, the wreck sits in 12 to 45 feet of water. Part of her
wreckage lie outside and part inside the breakers off Sonesta Beach.
All that divers will see at this site are her anchor, small ballast
pile and some wood debris. A cannon that was salvaged from the area
of the Virginia Merchant wreck is mounted with a plaque by
the beach at Sonesta Beach Hotel.
The information listed
above was taken with permission from the Book:
BERMUDA SHIPWRECKS, ISBN # 0-9616167-4-1
A Vacationing Divers Guide to Bermudas Shipwrecks,
by Dan and Denise Berg, 6x9 softcover,73 pages.
Now also Available as
an instant download printable PDF eBook
BERMUDA SHIPWRECKS ebook
A Vacationing Divers Guide to Bermudas Shipwrecks
4.5 MB instant download, printable PDF file
by Dan and Denise Berg, 6x9, 73 page
From the first quarter of the 16th century,
Bermuda became a landmark for
Spanish ships sailing back to Spain from the New World. The desire to sight
Bermuda to confirm their position often ended their voyage as they wrecked
on Bermuda's outer reefs. To this day Bermuda's treacherous reefs have taken
their toll on shipping. The reefs have claimed vessels ranging from ocean
lines to small fishing boats. Bermuda Shipwrecks is the most comprehensive,
accurate, illustrated collection of information, photographs, sketches and
stories ever written about the legendary wrecks around Bermuda. Bermuda
Shipwrecks includes over 100 illustrations comprised of 61 sensational color
photos, 17 rare b&w historical images, 19 stamps, 4 sketches plus one
map. Bermuda Shipwrecks contains a wealth of enlightening information that
gives the readers a nostalgic glimpse into the history and present condition
of over 55 of Bermuda's most popular Shipwrecks.
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other shipwreck and Diving eBooks