** Update 2/6/2012 – Someone commented on this post today so I’ve added another picture here: Thanks Bridie Miller!
***Updated 2/22/2013 – Someone commented on this post again today (a year later) and I’ve tried to clean up some of the links and add pic’s
Strange how things just come together. I was loading some podcast onto my MP3 player today and noticed I had this picture of the Amaryllis. So I thought I’d do a search and see if I could find anything about this event in my life back in 1965. Here’s what I found: (This takes place in Singer Island, Florida, the area I grew up in)
The Story of Amaryllis
The day was September 9th, 1965. Gale force winds from Hurricane Betsy whipped the normally calm seas off Singer Island into a frenzied nightmare of 20-foot breakers and 80-mph winds. Palm trees leaned horizontally away from the onslaught, but many uprooted and were sent soaring by gusts of unthinkable velocity.
A lone ship struggled against uncertain odds. The Amaryllis was nearing the safety of the Palm Beach Inlet, but found itself being literally blown into the shallow waters less than a mile from the beach. The crew made desperate attempts to compensate for the winds and the storm damaged steering, but the gale force winds were too much and the foundering ship grounded on the shore immediately in front of the Rutledge Inn.
As dawn broke, so did the fury of the storm. Where last night had been a beautiful beach, now rested the storm beaten wreck of the Greek banana freighter, Amaryllis. As the day went on it soon became evident that that this great 450 foot ship would be resting here for some time.
Shortly thereafter, local surfers found the ship to be one of the most spectacular surf spots in the area. A little more than three years later, the foundered ship was finally removed from the beach, and towed out to its final resting spot about one half mile from shore in about 75 feet of water.
Here are some memories of other people whose lives were touched by this ship:
(*Note: I’m trying to refresh the 1st two links as they are broken)
More good stuff: http://surfhistoryproject.org/news/article_ship_at_beach.pdf (This one works!)
This must be a log of sorts about different ships. You can do a Ctrl F and type in “Amaryllis”, and you’ll find interesting data going back to 1828
More to come as I tell you why I posted this.
Okay, so WHY did I post this? Well, because I lived in the area where this happened back in Florida and we used to go down to see the ship a lot. I mean it was bigger than life! At least to me it was. I would have been…lets see, 11 years old, when this happened, and I can remember going down to the beach with my family and seeing this HUGE ship jammed into the beach! It was the biggest darn thing I’d had ever seen! And I remember the longer it sat there the cooler the beach became. I mean on one side the beach was being built up, but on the other side it was being washed away. So much so that it uncovered a reef that must have been covered over years before, but now it was a brand new place for fish, sea urchins, moray eels, lobsters, you name it, came and populated it.
What was cool, was that the people on the boat just started hucking things over the side and each thing they threw over would eventually become encrusted with barnicles and sea creatures and would start a reef of their own. It also created territories for barracuda’s to guard! That was the scary part! You would be skin diving and come across a piece of the ship and there would be a BIG barracuda guarding it’s treasure and they would NOT back down! You could go up to them and the just stay there and wouldn’t budge. You could see their fins go up in like a warning, “stay away buddy, or there’s gonna be trouble!”, but if you continued pushing closer to them, they would eventually back down. But MAN, those teeth! (These pictures are not mine, but they show how big these things are, and they look even BIGGER underwater!)
I remember a time I was diving with a good friend of mine, Mike Ellis, and he always wore a St. Christopher’s medal, and one day we were out on the reef and all of a sudden a BIG cuda swam right underneath Mike because he was curious about the “shinny thing” hanging off of Mike neck. That always made me wonder, “Why do they make diving mask with a nice shinny chrome ring around the glass?”.
Well eventually they must have thrown enough stuff off of the ship so that they were able to get a couple of tug boats and pull it off the shore. Wow, what a sight!
Here’s a link to some Surf History Project pictures: http://surfhistoryproject.org/photos.htm
TriMoot…out…mmm, I might add some more later.