SALT ISLAND AND THE WRECK OF THE RHONE
It was a dark and stormy night when the Mail Packet Steamship Rhone came to grief on the rocks at the western tip of Salt Island. The captain had asked for full steam in an effort to drive the ship out of danger but the wind was too strong and when the rocks breached the hull the seawater rushing in caused a boiler explosion and the ship broke in two.
I had motored the 6 miles across to Salt Island keeping my eye on the new pump and it's repaired pulley but all seems tickity boo. Dropped anchor in Lee Bay and went off to snorkel the must see wreck of the Rhone. Again I was lucky as I was expecting queues at the dinghy moorings and underwater traffic jams at the popular spots but there were only a couple of charter boats on the visitors mooring buoys and no commercial dive boats at all. The water was empty of bodies and I had the Rhone to myself.
Flopping over the side of the dinghy into the water and I only needed a couple of kicks and there it was, iron plates, ribs and pipes clearly identifiable as parts of a ship. I was surprised by how little growth there was on the plates considering the 143 years of submersion in tropical waters. I am sure if I did not antifoul my bottom for 143 years there would be lots more growth than I saw.
Many parts were easily identifiable, here a gate valve, here an actuator arm.
It is no longer a ship shape, the plates mostly lie flat on the bottom, the ribs no longer attached to the keel. I wonder what this was, maybe part of the steam distribution system or a mast? Now the Sargent Majors school around it.
Ah Note to self point camera at fish! Gosh those eyes are scary!
I am anchored in a Bay off Cooper Island just round the corner from the Rhone and regretting my choice of spot as I seem to be betwixt wind and current and am dancing around my anchor at the moment, sometimes getting crosswise to the slight swell and rolling.
Still it was another spectacular sunset!
I am off to the Fat Virgin tomorrow and the delights of Spanish Town and the Baths.
Well the Baths was an interesting stop although a little overhyped by the tourist board methinks. I gave Spanish Town and Savanah Bay a miss as there is a big North swell running and the reefs at both sites are breaking mightily.
I poked my nose, in saw this and decided discretion was the best thing!
So it was on to North Sound and the Bitter End yacht club where I had hoped to pick up my boat papers.
Here is Elephants CHild anchored off Saba Rock the smallest inhabited Isalnd in the BVI, At low tide it measures 1 acre. The Bitter End is to the right.
Again I had fair winds and regularly saw seven knots even though I am towing the dink. It is too much hassle and time to move the engine to the rail and lift the dink on my own.
Speaking of dinghy engines what about this one, bet it was loud!
Now it is decision time, do I watch the Superbowl at Saba Rock or the Bitter End, It is tough out here having to make these hard choices you know.