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Offline Kaspian7004Topic starter
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« on: April 09, 2010, 03:39:00 am »
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3 questions:

1. How about "San Ignacio" from 1733 fleet ? Any salvage attempts ?

2. How about "Reina Luisa" & "El Dichoso" from 1794 fleet ? Any salvage attempts ?

3. How about "San Pedro de Alcantara" from 1786 ? Any salvage attempts ?

I found a large documentation dated 1736 (about "San Ignacio") and wish to know if anyone found these wrecks.

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Offline seldom
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« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2010, 07:57:01 am »
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1. How about "San Ignacio" from 1733 fleet ? Any salvage attempts ?

Much like the 1715-Fleet disaster above, the 1733 Fleet was another entire Spanish convoy (except for one ship) lost in a hurricane off Florida. The lesser severity of the 1733 hurricane (which struck the fleet on July 15) and the shallowness of the wrecksites in the Keys, however, made for many survivors and even left four ships in good enough condition to be re-floated and sent back to Havana. A very successful salvage effort by the Spanish soon commenced, bringing up even more than the 12 million pesos of precious cargo on the Fleet?s manifest (thanks to the usual contraband).

The wrecks themselves are spread across 80 miles, from north of Key Largo down to south of Duck Key, and include the following galleons (but note there is not universal agreement as to which wrecksite pertains to each galleon, and also note that each name is a contemporaneous abbreviation or nickname):  El P?pulo, El Infante, San Jos?, El Rub? (the capitana, or lead vessel of the fleet), Ch?vez, Herrera, Tres Puentes, San Pedro, El Terri (also spelled Lerri or Herri), San Francisco, El Gallo Indiano (the almiranta, or rear guard of the fleet), Las Angustias, El Sueco de Ariz?n, San Fernando, and San Ignacio. This last ship, San Ignacio, is believed to be the source of many silver coins (and even some gold coins) found in a reef area off Deer Key known as ?Coffins Patch,? the southwesternmost of all the 1733-Fleet wrecksites. In addition, many other related sites are known, mostly the wrecks of tag-along ships that accompanied the fleet proper.

The first and arguably most famous of the wrecks of the 1733 Fleet to be located in modern times was the Capitana El Rub?, which was discovered in 1948 and salvaged principally in the 1950s by Art McKee, whose Sunken Treasure Museum on Plantation Key housed his finds for all to see. Throughout the next several decades, however, the wrecksites in the Keys became a virtual free-for-all, with many disputes and confrontations, until the government created the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary in 1990. The removal of artifacts from any of the sites is prohibited today.

In contrast to the 1715 Fleet, and because of the extensive Spanish salvage in the 1730s, the finds by modern divers have been modest, especially in gold coins, of which there are far more fakes on the market than genuine specimens! Nevertheless, the 1733 Fleet has been a significant source for some of the rare Mexican milled ?pillar dollars? of 1732-1733 as well as the transitional ?klippe?-type coins of 1733.

2. How about "Reina Luisa" & "El Dichoso" from 1794 fleet ? Any salvage attempts ?

Ship Name: Reina Luisa                            Date of loss: ??/??/1794
Description: Wooden Hull
Lat:                               Long:
Last Known Location: Florida
Vessel Type: Ship                   Nationality: Spanish
Little info available 

3. How about "San Pedro de Alcantara" from 1786 ? Any salvage attempts ?


San Pedro
porcelain in concretion

Piece of porcelain found encrusted to an iron object.

San Pedro de Alcantara was a 64 gun Spanish man-of-war, built in Cuba in 1770. In 1784 she loaded copper, silver and gold from Peruvian mines. She also carried a collection of ancient ceramics of the Chimu culture, as well as captured prisoners from the Tupac Amaru independence movement. Many years later, a modern guerrilla would carry the same name.

Unfortunately the ship was heavily overloaded. She carried about 600 tons of copper, 153 tons of silver and 4 tons of gold. The silver was minted to coins, mostly 8 reales pieces, "pieces of eight". The cargo was about twice as much as usual for such a ship. The captain was even warned that the ship would risk losing its bottom in a storm. However, there were no exact rules for overload in those days, so she sailed away.

Why was this ship so heavily overloaded, risking the valuable cargo? One reason is that the independence war with England against the newly-founded USA together with France and Spain ended in 1783. The English blockade against South American ports was lifted and there were large quantities of goods waiting to be shipped. The Spanish authorities were also in a hurry because of the recent native Tupac Amaru rebellion.
Rocks near the wreck site

Violent rocks near the wreck site. The cable to the dive site is in the foreground.

During her voyage from Peru, San Pedro de Alcantara was constantly leaking, and the crew had a hard time manning the pumps. After rounding Cape Horn, the ship was taken in for repair at Rio de Janeiro. When the leaks had been tightened, the ship continued in early 1786.

In a dark February night, she hit a rock near Peniche in Portugal, 90 km north of Lisbon. The wind was fair and there is no clear reason for this accident. Perhaps the heavy overload made the ship difficult to navigate. The ship had a speed of 6 knots, and the impact was so hard that the lower part of the hull broke off around the waterline and sank immediately. The upper part of the hull with deck and rigging just continued forward and floated for some time. 128 people drowned and about 270 survivors made it up on the rocky coast.
diving operations of 1786

Free divers salvaging the cargo in 1786.

The copper, silver, and gold lost in San Pedro?s cargo corresponded to about 1/12 of the total currency circulating in Spain. The Spanish king was alarmed and immediately sent his representative to the site. An enormous diving enterprise was initiated and divers were hired from all around. During the following three years more than 40 divers worked full-time, and almost all of the cargo was salvaged. This was considered a great success, since the cargo was worth much more than the ship. The diving operation was by then the largest ever in European history.

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Offline Idaho Jones
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« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2010, 01:55:35 pm »
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Nice info Seldom! Still makes you wonder how much stuff might have been missed since it was contraband?  Wink

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