Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 57 > Page 73 - Alex Storm: Treasure Ship Chameau

Page 73 - Alex Storm: Treasure Ship Chameau

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1991/6/1 (419 reads)

view and sounding with the lead was impos? sible as the ship plunged across the dark water. No one saw the dark granite bottom suddenly shoaling up, underwater shapes, even darker than the surrounding water. The lookout in the bow may have been the only person to spot, in horror, how the Chameau raced towards its end. A great billowing wave, its swirling water in? creasing her speed, drove the ship's bow first into a wall of unyielding granite rising steeply from the depths. The jagged mass of rock must have trembled under the violence of the shuddering impact. The collision had a devastating effect on board. The fore-mast toppled and disap? peared, taking lookouts and sailors along. The three-feet thick main mast met the same fate, breaking just below the lower gun deck. As it fell over the starboard side of the stricken ship, a rain of blocks and tackle swept over the deck, in turn pulling the mizzen mast down and into the raging tide. Horrified passengers on the lower gun deck were thrown and sub? jected to instant carnage as 12-pounder guns and carriages broke their lashings, tearing ringbolts clear from the woodwork and rolling freely across the deck, crush? ing all that came before them. Tons of bales and barrels and crates shifted in the hold, crushing many of the soldiers. Survivors scrambled madly looking for lad- If you are looking for more than just a piece of land... EXCLUSIVE PROPERTIES Call for more information: GOODYEAR, LeDREW LIMITED saies Associate: Wemor Helm 851 Kings Rd, Sydney, N.S. B1S 1C2 Private Phone: (902) 756-2274 international Marketing of Farms & Recreational Properties Private Fax: (902) 756-3456 INTRODUCING HYUNDAI'S ALL NEW SURPRISE FOR 1991 THE HRST LOOK AT THIS BEAUTY IS THE START OF THE LOVE AFFAIR. AND ITS PERFORMANCE LIVES UP TO ITS LOOKS. "TEST DRIVE ONE TODAY. HYunoni i "Where the smart money goes'' ders leading to the deck, non-existant ladders as all were swept away by the shifting mass. Breakers, rearing up over the reef, would have burst through the fragile windows of the stern gallery, smashing all panes, freely washing into the sleeping cabins. Their battering force drove the ship round, throwing her over on her beam ends and disloding the bow from the jagged pinnacle that held the hull briefly imprisoned. The once-proud Chameau skipped off the reef, tons of water rushing into its hold. A few people managed to stay alive by clinging to pieces of wreckage but they were repeatedly struck by other fragments in the heaving waters. Cut and bruised, they slipped under, long before reaching the shore where towering surf crashed against the rocks. Breakers, crashing against the hull, pushed the wreck away from the rock where it first struck. Lightened by the loss of upper deck guns and three starboard anchors, the Chameau skidded over the bedrock bottom towards the shore some three-quarters of a mile to the northwest. Even as the sea rolled over the entire ship, there were men still alive on the aftercastle to witness the final breakup of Commander St. James' transport. The main deck began to separate from the hull, parts of the ship's interi? or floating out. The forecastle broke free and drifted off in the raging tide. In less than an hour, the Chameau was no more. What remained of the lower hull slid off the reef and settled in about 60 feet of water, waves tearing loose the upper part of the aftercastle with a large sec? tion of the ship's side. Miraculously, a few desperate men still clung to this wreckage as it drifted away in the swirl? ing water, temporary survivors of the 316 embarked at Rochefort. The current carried them to the rocky shore, still unseen in the dark? ness of early morning, where white-crested combers roared over them. Some lost their grip and were sucked away by the undertow. The section hold? ing the last two survivors was thrown up on the beach where the men, unconscious from exposure and exhaus? tion, soon ex? pired. When "Car Manufacturer of the Year" -Awarded by CBC's Driver's Seat / AUTO / BALSB 34 STATE STREET SYDNEY, NOVA SCOTIA t>QQ./[7i i P.O. BOX 728 B1P6H7 wJw *T # I I 73
Cape Breton's Magazine
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