Amazonense Wreck

The “Amazonense” wreck is the remains of an iron screw steamer, built at Southampton in 1879, and of 1865t gross and powered by 170Hp engines. She was registered at Liverpool, and was owned by Mr. Robert Singlehurst of that city. She was commanded by Mr. Henry Holgate, had a crew of 35 hands, and carried one passenger and a general cargo of about 1,100 tons the day she was wrecked. 

She had three compasses on deck, of which two were for the most part used, the vessel being navigated by the standard compass, which was on the upper bridge, the steering compass being four feet lower down. The compasses had been adjusted when the ship was built, but some alterations were made afterwards in the vessel, and the magnets had been removed and not replaced. On leaving Liverpool on the 15th of April destined for Para and other Brazilian ports via Havre, the draught of water was 18 feet aft and 17 ft. 5 in. forward. She left the river Mersey about 11.30 a.m., just before high water, in charge of a pilot, who left at the Bar Lightship about 1.15 p.m. The master then set a course W. 1/2 S., on which course there were, as he said, 28° easterly deviation, which gave correct magnetic W.N.W. northerly. Immediately after leaving the Lightship the steamer got into a thick fog, which continued till she struck, and the engines were said to have been put on half speed. The master stated that about 2.10 p.m. he heard the N.W. Lightship fog horn on the port beam about 3 miles distant. About 7.15 p.m., up to which time they had been going about 8 1/2 knots over the ground, they stopped and took a cast, and got no bottom at 45 fathoms; but on taking a second cast, they got 53 fathoms, sand, shell, and black specks. After that they went on the same course, according to the master dead slow, till 8 p.m., making about 4 knots, when they got another cast at 55 fathoms, same bottom as before. The master then altered the course to S.S.W. nothing to southward, allowing 26° 30′ easterly deviation, which made S.W. 1/2 W. correct magnetic. They stopped again at 10 p.m. to sound, and after three casts got no bottom at 60 fathoms.

At midnight they sounded again and got 29 fathoms and then 30 fathoms, and the master stated that these casts confirmed him in the belief that he was in the right course. The master said he thought that at this time he heard the gun from the Stack, and he estimated his distance from it at 12 miles. He still went on, allowing half a point W. for the tide, knowing that if at all out of the fair way the tide would act upon his vessel to some extent. At 3.30 a.m. on the 16th, they sounded again in 51 fathoms, sand, shell, and small stones. At that time the master thought he would be in mid-channel. At 8 a.m. he took a cast again and got 44 fathoms, still going dead slow, making 3 1/2 to 4 knots, and the fog as dense as ever. The master intended to take another cast at 10.30 a.m., but at about 10.10 a.m. “breakers ahead” were reported by the look-out, the engines were immediately stopped and reversed, but in about three minutes the ship struck, and remained fast, about a mile and a half east of St. David s Head. The water shortly found its way through the bulkheads, all available pumps were set to work, but the leak gained rapidly, and in the course of an hour the fires were put out. The boats were got into the water, and at 11.30 a.m. the ship having filled, the crew left, and all were safely landed with the exception of John Love, the storekeeper, who dropped down dead as he was speaking to the captain on the bridge. The master remained with the wreck until the 20th April, when he gave her up to the underwriters.

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Published by Mark Lewis Adventures

I am a passionate adventurer, loving being in the mountains walking, climbing, scrambling as much as I love being under the water exploring shipwrecks, mines and caverns, or in search of treasure in the depths. My real passion lies in combining mountains and water and as such you’ll often find me either in the mountains altitude diving, or in the mountains ice diving. Both exhilarating and peaceful – allowing me to regenerate the inner me, whilst pushing myself physically and mentally.

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