A US underwater investigator has said he believes he has found the wreck of the Santa Maria, the flagship of Christopher Columbus’s famed expedition.
Barry Clifford said evidence “strongly suggests” a ruin off Haiti’s north coast is the Santa Maria.
Mr Clifford’s team has measured and taken photos of the wreck.
He says he is working with the Haitian government to protect the site for a more detailed investigation.
The Santa Maria, along with the La Nina and La Pinta, were part of Columbus’s expedition in 1492, which explored islands in the Caribbean in an attempt to find a westward passage to Asia.
The flagship was lost during the expedition, shortly before Columbus returned to Spain.
“All the geographical, underwater topography and archaeological evidence strongly suggests that this wreck is Columbus’s famous flagship, the Santa Maria,” said Mr Clifford.
Columbus and his flagship
- The Santa Maria left Spain in August 1492, along with La Pinta and La Nina, sailing westward
- It was the largest ship in the expedition, about 117ft (36m) long
- The ship ran aground on a reef near Haiti on Christmas Day, 1492
- Columbus told his crew to strip timbers from the ship to build an outpost or fort nearby, leaving sailors behind while he returned to Spain
- The fort, known as La Navidad, was found destroyed upon Columbus’s return to the island he called Hispanola
Sources: Encyclopaedia Britannica, Smithsonian Magazine
“I am confident that a full excavation of the wreck will yield the first-ever detailed marine archaeological evidence of Columbus’ discovery of America,” he added.
Mr Clifford said he identified the potential location of the Santa Maria through earlier archaeological findings that pinpointed a likely location for Columbus’s fort – a building that experts always thought was erected near to where the ship ran aground.
He also used information from the explorer’s diary, and a recent diving mission near the site further burnished Mr Clifford’s belief the wreck was the Santa Maria.
Mr Clifford told US broadcaster CNN the “smoking gun” was a cannon of 15th Century design found at the site.
A marine archaeologist who accompanied Mr Clifford on that mission said there was “very compelling evidence” but an excavation of the site would be necessary to confirm the wreck’s identity.
Further investigation will be supported by the government of Haiti and the History Channel, which plans to make a documentary programme about the wreck.
Mr Clifford is best known for the excavation of the first fully verified pirate shipwreck, the Whydah.
SCUBAPRO Free Octopus Promotion 2023
Free Octopus with every purchase of a SCUBAPRO regulator system
Just in time for the festive season, divers can save money again with the FREE OCTOPUS winter promotion! Until December 31st SCUBAPRO offers one of the two new Octopus models S270 or R105 for free with every purchase of a regulator system!
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Indo siren destroyed by fire
Indo Siren, a vessel from the Master Liveaboards Fleet, has been destroyed by a fire this morning. Thankfully, all guests and crew members are safe.
Master Liveaboards have released the following statement:
During our current cruise in Raja Ampat, on the morning of 30th November, a fire broke
out on Indo Siren. At the current time we are still assessing the events around the incident,
and will be working with authorities, so cannot currently comment further.
All guests and staff departed the boat, without further incident. They are now with our
ground crew who have organised accommodations while we assist with all their other
needs going forwards.
We are currently evaluating the issues created by the fire on upcoming trips. Guests who
are likely to be affected by enforced cancellations or changes will be contacted in due time
when plans are finalised.
We are incredibly grateful that this incident was not more serious and that everyone who
was onboard, both crew and guests, are safe and well.
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