- Appendices "Search for the wreck" -
"American Star" - The Beginning of the End ...
© Foto: JŘrgen de Haas
12. and 13. Appendix, September 2005: Pictures, Pictures, Pictures ...
Regularly, readers are sending us photographs of the American Star what we really appreciate because this keeps us updated with the ship. However, we kindly ask you to understand that we cannot publish all because many pictures are very similar - which can be advantageous in regards to the ship┤s condition. If there is a picture that is a little different from the others, we are certainly thankful and like to publish it here.
Hello explorer team!
Yesterday (August 25, 2005), we returned from Fuerteventura. In the luggage, there are a couple of current photographs of the American Star. Should you wish to publish those on your website, with this you have my permission ;-)))
And another mail with photographs: This time from Herbert Edelhoff who became aware of the ship through our magazine. From him also the suspicion that we have heard many times before in regards to the wreck:
I became aware of the American Star through your website. Then during our approaching vacation on Fuerteventura we drove there with our rented Jeep Wrangler. In my opinion, the dirt road is pretty passable. It took us only 10 to 15 minutes.
I was as most of the others really impressed. The ship┤s portside actually does not look very stable anymore. Who likes to see the wreck in person, should do it this year. Who knows whether or not she will be still there after the next winter. Since we were there in the morning, everybody was still sleeping in the numerous tents and RVs. Therefore, we were able to cool down briefly on the beach.
Should you be interested, I like to offer you the photographs I took.
14. Appendix, October 2005: And She Is Visited Continuously ...
We continue to remain up-to-date! Our readers take care of this and we thank all writers. A small assortment of mail from Carola Hoehn, Friedrich F÷ste, Frank Rose, and Ulf Jungjohann follows. We ask for your understanding that we cannot publish all photographs that we received again!
Hello dear explorer team!
This year, we spent our vacation on Fuerte. Of course, we visited the wreck of the American Star. We were at the beach on September 22, 2005. I took a couple of photographs. It is indeed fascinating how close to the beach she stands in the water. I hope she will be there for a couple more years.
Dear team, this is all what I wanted to tell you. Your website is fantastic as well as the links.
Hello explorer team!
A few weeks ago, I stumbled across your website while looking again for information about Fuerteventura. Because of your many interesting article about Fuerte and GPS, I obtained a navigation system with PDA, GPS antenna, and Fugawi including a "Fuerte map."
Then I also discovered spots on Fuerteventura unbeknownst to me before.
But now enough with the "sweet-talk." At night, I arrived in Germany and I like to provide you with current pictures of the American Star. The photographs are from September 13, 2005. You are allowed to use those on your website. The link to my homepage is: www.fietefoeste.de.vu
Just got back from Fuerte! After a long search, we found the American Star. Of course, we landed first in the military zone. Since my girlfriend was a little frightened, we turned around and found another way. I have never seen anything like this!!! A proud ship that does not want to give up.
Of course, I wanted to know more about the American Star - so I landed on your website. Thank you very much for all the information!!!
First of all thank you very much for all the fantastic information concerning the American Star. This year, I visited her again and sent you a current picture - it cannot take long anymore. :-(
15. Appendix, November 2005: With The Surfboard On Board ...
As we wrote previously in our report, during the more than ten years lying at the Playa de Garcey, many adventurers working their way up on board of the wreck visited the ship. We are happy that one of those visitors provided us with three photographs - famous by now - and described how he entered the deck at that time. Here is Ingo Turtenwald┤s story:
... I believe that I took those in the summer of 2002 (maybe 2003 but not later). I paddled across with a surfboard. The ladder on the starboard┤s wall was easily accessible and in good condition. The way up is very beautiful. The flaking off paint, the rust ... I remember well. And the view. On the deck, you had to hold on tight. Because of the salty surface, it was slippery like soft soap and the ship was leaning enough that you could easily slide down portside. In the hallways, there was lots of junk. You had to climb around. At the bow is a hatch or something similar. You can watch the ocean flushing the hull.
I tied the surfboard with its leash to the bottom of the ladder. Partly it was hanging; partly it was swimming. Then, you could reach the ladder only with the help of an additional rope. There were one to two meters missing; however, you could pull yourself up without a problem. There were no difficulties on the way back either. I was only very careful to win distance from the ship quickly. It seems there was a strong undercurrent alongside and you certainly gain respect. Anyway, everything is written much easier than done and I do not want this to be mistaken as instructions. You will risk your life and maybe one or the other underestimates the distance from the beach because of the enormous size of the wreck ...
Comment of the editor: Of course, we do not want to advice anybody to go on board of the ship even though we really like to do it. Regarding this topic, Ulf Jungjohann - the last picture in appendix 14 belonged to him - provided us with an additional photograph: "I have a beautiful picture and maybe it goes along well with Ingo┤s report who surfed to the American Star."
We do not have anything else to add!
16. and 17. Appendix, still November 2005: The Beginning Of The End ...
Ulf Jungjohann had apparently a premonition in his last mail from previous month and with his latest wonderful pictures of the wreck (see above). Oliver Heinrich┤s photograph from May of the year prior (on the right) clearly shows that the ship┤s portside could not withstand much longer and it was only a matter of time to partially break apart.
However, we were taken by a big surprise when we received the current photograph from our new reader Stephan Roth documenting something unpleasant while "on location" a couple of days ago: Obviously, the wreck moved considerably, since the unavoidable on the portside happened. Parts of the ship┤s hull broke off and therefore the slope increased significantly.
I was with a group of friends on Fuerteventura last week. On November 7th, we were at the American Star┤s "mooring." Since there were going around many horror stories about the ship┤s history, I started to search on the Internet. And so I found you! Thank you very much for your insight. Unfortunately, I must tell you that the ship does not "stand" there so well. It seemed to have tilted a few degrees. I added a photograph of the American Star from this week. I assume that this is pretty up to date!
Our two photographs comparing the wreck's "stern" during a two months period show how bad it really looks. Both pictures were taken at low tide. On the right the condition a few days ago ...
Jens Schmidt who was also on Fuerte the past week sent us the following pictures and captured the drama. Thank you very much for the current pictures!
18. Appendix, still November 2005: The Smokestack Is Gone And She Is Going Downhill ...
At the same time, two readers sent us current pictures that are only a few days old. And now it happens: The smokestack could not withstand the enormous tilt as well as the ocean rolling unimpeded and disappeared. The pictures from Hans Lipp (at low tide) and Katrin Mein (during incoming tide) bring the question into mind: How much longer ..?
We also visited the wreck of the American Star. Unfortunately, we had to learn that she had changed considerably. These are photographs dated November 19, 2005. In the morning at 9:30 am, we were at the ship during low tide and it was very impressive. Since a cut slowly runs through the whole sidewall, the American Star appears to be very vulnerable!!! We hope that one can still visit her for long time.
Hans and Natalie Lipp
... I visited her in November and she looks pretty awful. We do not know how much longer she will be there. We hope it will be a little longer. In 2001, I saw her for the first time and since then she has been going downhill.
19. and 20. Appendix, November/December 2005: Tropical Storm Delta - The Shocking End?
It was Fuertewolf of all informing us about the storm on November 28, 2005: The "original" from "American Star Tours" mentioned in the beginning of our report (on the right a photograph from the old days on Fuerte) let us know as well that his tours do not exist anymore - he moved to Lanzarote with his life partner Biggy.
...unfortunately, have to write you that I am not on Fuerte any longer ... Lanzarote is our home now. We have a storm with 130 km/h and it rains on Fuerte as well - once in while I do tours from Lanza to Fuerte as a part time gig ...
Greetings from Lanzarote Wolgang
A bad omen for "our" wreck, the American Star? Now, after the storm "Delta" we will see what is left of her ...
Eva Walder - visiting the wreck at the same day before the storm really kicked in during the afternoon - provided us with a photograph fascinating and troublesome at the same time: "And with each wave she ┤grunts┤ and ┤groans┤..."
And similar to our animation that we created using the above pictures from Katrin Mein (below on the right) it might have happened ...
21. and 22. Appendix, December 2005: She Is Still There ...
When taking a closer look at one of Eva Walder┤s pictures dated November 28, 2005 of the wreck' "stern," we feared the worst: Again, a huge piece seemed to have broken off. But upon request of many American Star fans we asked Antonio from FuerteFunFactory (see appendices 6 and 7) via e-mail to send us current photographs and we could see with "relief": She is still there! Obviously, a wave on Eva Walder┤s photograph made us believe that another piece was missing in the back. It is still there. Nonetheless, the wreck looks pretty dreadful by now even if she is still a destination of the quad tours. Thank you very much for the recent pictures, Tonio.
These pictures (comment from the editor: below in the middle and on the right, on the left from the week before) are from December 12, 2005 at 13:00 h. This is the present condition of the American Star. Sending today (kalima respectively scirocco) wishes from Fuerte. Tonio
Comment from the editor: Something else, the back part in the picture on the left is only a sheet metal facade - there is no hull anymore as you can see from the oceanside or out of the air. Not only the smokestack broke off but also the biggest part of the remaining hull (see also below) ...
Many photographs like the ones from Eva Walder (on the left below) or Johannes G÷bel (on the right below) proof that there are many the aerial shots taken lately and we really appreciate that!
When comparing the aerial shot from Google Earth (see previous page and on the left below) with the one above from Johannes G÷bel, you can see the whole disaster: In the picture below on the left, you can make out the silhouette of both smokestacks. On the right, the whole hull area with the back smokestack is vanished. In this context, a mail from Johannes G÷bel:
At that time, the ship broke at her weakest spot-the area of the elevators and staircase. Thanks to two pillars-visible perpendicular at the back cut-the front hull survived for more than ten years. The pillars ruptured during the latest break. Therefore, the whole part became completely unstable and due to new and various forces for which the ship was not equipped she will soon intertwine and collapse. Only very few have the chance to see the wreck from the other side as well. Therefore enclosed the aerial shot from the portside.
23. Appendix, end of December 2005: Greetings From Lanzarote ...
Shortly before the turn of the year, we received another mail from Wolfgang - former "Fuertewolf". He came one more time from Lanzarote to visit "his" ship on the 2nd Christmas Day. And what he saw made him sad ...
Best wishes from the island of Lanzarote. Had a tour from Lanza to Fuerte. Rain and rain, as well as today. And my ship is slowly but surely dissolving. The beach is full of trash - all from the ship. Sad.
Happy New Year 2006
With the melancholic mail and the two heartbreaking photographs we like to end the reporting about "our" wreck in the year 2005. However, we have many plans for next year: In only a few weeks, the Explorer Team will pack their suitcases to pay the wreck another (possibly the last?) visit. We will see what we will be able to find and continue to report in the new year!
And It Goes On!
In the meantime, the Explorer Team returned from the island with one of their trip reports "Fuerte 2006:"
- Visit of the wreck: How much longer will she make it, the American Star?
© 2004-2006 Explorer Magazin
© Photographs on board: Ingo Turtenwald, Berlin; aerial shot: Johannes G÷bel, Fuerteventura
English Translation: Britta Schaa, Venice Florida