Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 57 > Page 75 - Alex Storm: Treasure Ship Chameau

Page 75 - Alex Storm: Treasure Ship Chameau

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1991/6/1 (321 reads)

Chameau. He and the two divers carried on as best they could, sailing and rowing their small vessel along the reef and over the grounds of the cove, while towing a large grap- nell at the end of a line, a short distance off the bottom. It was hoped that the grapnel1 would hook into the wreck, but time after time it only took hold of another bedrock outcrop jutting up from the sea floor. The hardship suffered by the divers must have been considerab'le, as they de? scended hand over hand along the line. They wore no protective clothing save a layer of grease. The waters surrounding Cape Breton Island are icy cold year round and young Le Normant, son of the Commis? saire, who was in charge of the operation, made sure that the men were well fed. His requests for supplies from Louisbourg in? cluded fresh beef, milk, vegetables and chocolate for his divers. Bad weather hindered the operations almost continually and Le Normant and the others spent more time shooting game and ducks than in searching for the treasure. The divers failed to see the cannons, anchors and cables from the wreck near Chameau Rock. They were misled by their expecta? tion of finding a substantial hull section holding most of the valuables. The search lasted from 9 September to the beginning of October 1726, when Le Normant wrote a final letter to his father, the commis? saire-ordonnateur, asking for more sup? plies and "five or six days of good weath? er, or an order to return." The latter came in due course. In what seems to have been a last-ditch effort, a search was made of the rocks close to the shore of the cove. When nothing new was found, the wreck was abandoned. On 14 December 1726, De Mezy wrote the minister, giving an account of the salvage work. The coins were still at the bottom of the ocean, but the sale of the goods that had washed ashore had amounted to 6,000 livres. At least that is what it A plan of the wreck site of the Chameau, showing the pattern of material spilled from the hull ought to have been. The treasurer, Antoine Sabatier, had in fact received only 3,080 livres. This stim was for goods sold to of? ficers in Louisbourg who had paid cash. The other buyers had not yet paid. If they failed to pay, it meant that the profit from the salvage was only 70 livres, since the expenses had mounted to 3,010 livres. Disastrous though the wreck of the Chameau was, it did lead to a major improvement in navigation. It prompted the establishment of Canada's first permanent lighthouse at A New Eating Experience Ic'oadian dKeals Full Menu - Specializing in Acadian Dishes Chowders & Fish Dishes Meat Pies Take-Out Orders Available May 12-October 15 224-3207 Co-op Artisanale de Cheticamp Ltee* Hand Hooked Virgin Wool Products May 6th - October 15th • 224-2170 • ' Open Every Day to Welcome You TkE LONGER'U Sm A?Y, 'DieCloserYouGex 'M'''&s; *70 SHERAiDffS EndlessWeekend Includes Fbii Breakfast R)r1/o And Late SunlwChbck-Out n, per night. [ Take a summer recess from the routine weekend. Your break can begin as early as Thursday, then you'll awake to complimentary breakfasts Friday, Saturday, and Sunday mornings. And to make the most of the lazy days of summer, Sunday check-out isn't until 6:00 pm. This weekend, spend a little time alone • together. Call your travel agent or 800-325-3535 and ask for Sheraton's Endless Weekend Package. Sheraton Mariner SYDNEY, INOVA SCOTIA 300 ESPLANADE. SYDNEY, NS BIP 1A7 PHONE: (902) 562-7500 FAX: (902) 562-3023 -ITTSheraton.TIie Natural Choice.. 75
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