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Wrecks Part II
The extraordinary voyages of 16th century seafarers transformed history
as newly-developed deep-water sailing ships, equipped with the mariner’s
compass, enabled Europeans to venture beyond the horizon and scour the
oceans for new land, dreams and gold. During one such voyage in 1592, to
the Magellan Straits, the little recognized but most accomplished
navigator, John Davis, in his ship, Desire, was storm-blown under bare
poles amongst these apparently unknown and unpeopled islands. But it is
likely that the archipelago had been quietly known about for years by
the major sea powers, as an ill-defined cluster of blobs appear, vaguely
positioned near the eastern end of the Magellan Strait, on maps from
1507 onwards. Amerigo Vespucci may well have seen them from the deck of
a Portuguese ship as early as 1502.
The 700 islands, islets, rocks and reefs which comprise the Falklands
are situated some 315 nautical miles down-wind and down-stream from Cape
Horn. Battered by frequent gales and surrounded by strong currents, the
Islands have always provided both peril and sanctuary for the seafarer.
Over 180 ships are known to have met their end in the wild seas which
surround the Falklands. Without doubt there will have been others which
sank without trace.
During the 1850’s there was a sudden upsurge in sea-borne traffic around
Cape Horn. Vessels trading in Californian and Australian gold, Chilean
copper and Peruvian guano began calling into Stanley for repair and
provisions. The nearest alternative port was Montevideo a thousand miles
to the north. Some ships attempting to round the Horn were overloaded,
some unseaworthy, and others simply unlucky. Many suffered severe
battering and, riding the prevailing westerlies, limped back into
harbour to lick their wounds. A few lame ducks never recovered. Others
were deliberately wrecked and their cargoes sold by unscrupulous
dealers. The growing port gained a notorious reputation and a flock of
worn-out windjammers. Several are still stuck in the Stanley harbour
mud. But time and tide and two pernicious sea worms, the teredo and the
gribble, have hastened their demise and in many cases their crumbling
woodwork has all but disappeared.
This issue, the second in the Shipwrecks series, depicts some of those
vessels which finished their days beached along the Falklands’
shorelines. They remain an integral part of the Islands’ history and a
reminder of the salty men who sailed in them.
Glengowan was built of steel in Glasgow in 1895. Two months out on a
maiden voyage from Swansea to San Francisco via Cape Horn, her cargo of
coal became dangerously overheated and she made for Port Stanley. She
caught fire in Port William, was scuttled, and remained as a burned-out
hulk in Whalebone Cove for a decade. In 1910 she was purchased by the
New Whaling Company and towed to New Island to be used as storage. She
later broke her moorings in a gale and now rests on a rocky shoreline
close to the present-day settlement.
The 428-ton, three-masted barque, Jhelum, was launched on 24th May 1849.
During her working life she completed 18 voyages, mainly between Europe
and South America. Under the command of Captain James Beaglehole, she
departed Callao on the return leg of her final voyage on 12th July 1870,
bound for Dunkirk with a cargo of Peruvian guano from the Guanape
Islands. Thirty-eight days out, and following a rough passage, she put
into Stanley “leaky with jettison”. Her crew refused to continue and,
following a survey, Jhelum was condemned and never sailed again. In
recent years her remains were the most intact among the remarkable but
fast decaying collection of 19th century wooden sailing ships which once
decorated the fringes of Stanley Harbour. During a winter storm in
October 2008 the bow finally collapsed. The stern followed suit in
August 2013. All that remains today is part of the vessel’s midsection.
Golden Chance was a 90 ton Lowestoft steam drifter. She was launched in
1914. During the 2nd World War she worked as a barrage balloon boat.
After failing the Board of Trade standards she was purchased by the
Colonial Development Corporation and set off for the Falklands in August
1949. She eventually made it down but only after steel reinforcing in
Montevideo prevented her from possibly breaking up on the high seas. For
much of the voyage she was towed by the Protector 3, which now lies on
the beach at New Island. Golden Chance worked as a sealer for three
years at Albemarle in West Falkland but was eventually pensioned off and
now lies beached at the Canache at the east end of Stanley Harbour.
The “Lady Liz”, as she is affectionately known, sits cradled in sand at
Whalebone Cove. Amongst Stanley’s assortment of dead sailing ships, she
alone retains her masts and her grandeur. A 223ft iron barque, built in
Sunderland in 1879, she made several visits to the Falklands during the
course of her working life. On one voyage, in 1899, she brought bricks
and cement for the new Cathedral and wood for the rival Tabernacle. In
December 1912, under Captain Petersen, Lady Elizabeth departed Vancouver
with a cargo of Oregon pine, bound for Delagoa Bay in Mozambique by way
of Cape Horn. It was to be her final voyage. Severely battered by gales
some 300 miles to the west of the Cape, and with her deck cargo and four
men washed overboard, she put into Berkeley Sound on 12th March 1913. At
the northern entrance she struck the Uranie Rock, was holed, and lost a
section of keel. Three days later she was towed into Stanley by the tug,
Samson, for repairs. But Lady Elizabeth was never to sail again.
Instead, she was condemned and, together with her valuable cargo, sold
to the Falkland Islands Company for just £3350. Stripped to bare
essentials, she became a floating warehouse for the following two
decades. During a gale, on 17th February 1936, the old lady broke free
of her moorings and drifted to her present position close to Stanley
Text by Tony Chater.
Photography Tony Chater
Printer Cartor Security Printing
Perforation 13 x 13 ¼ per 2 cms
Stamp size 30.6 x 38mm
Sheet layout 10
Release date 2 March, 2018
Production Co-ordination Creative Direction (Worldwide) Ltd
- FAL152 Wrecks Part 2 FDC