- Visit Of The Wreck -
Appendices: Passing Away ...
© Montage: Jürgen de Haas
1. Appendix, March ´06: Flying Across ...
By now, from an altitude of approximately 8 km, you can see that the American Star is in pretty bad shape. On February 27th, 2006, Timo Weber, an airline´s copilot took his photographs from this altitude. And on the enlargement done from one of his photographs, you can already imagine where the American Star´s destiny will take her after only ten days of our visit (click on the picture below on the right) ...
Among others, you can also notice beautifully from this altitude: The hill with the remnants of the containers where we had our final fiesta - will most likely be the last ...
during the summer of 2005, I was there to visit the wreck and on February 27, 2006, I was lucky enough to photograph the remnants from an altitude of approximately 8 km. The photographs were taken with pretty high resolution of 7.2 mega pixels and high quality ...
Due to my last vacations during the summer of 2005, I had a very good idea of the ship´s position. Despite the window, I think the photographs came out well and I hope that you might be able to use those.
I optically zoomed the picture and when zooming digitally, you can see that the wreck lies on the side: however; you will surely have more recent photographs. I would really appreciate receiving a response from you.
2. Appendix, March ´06: The Wreck Continues To Collapse ...
Exactly 14 days after our last visit, Thomas Tamme and Heidi were at the Playa de Garcey. Their current photographs show that "our" ship is deteriorating rapidly during a short period of time i.e. in a few days. Similar to 1994, the stern worsened very quickly (have a look at the report by Bill Lee regarding this topic) and the same will happen to the bow: It is deforming more and more and the tilt increases.
We are still happy with Thomas´ discovery of another relic: The instructions for one of the lifejackets of the SS Australis provided by Chandris Lines! (Where was this piece 14 days ago ..? )
Dear Explorer Team:
We are sending you a small status report and a couple of photographs from our American patient. During our first vacation on Fuerteventura in 2003, we were strongly advised not to visit the wreck. Since then, we have been following your website extensively and, unfortunately, learnt about her slant in December.
Therefore, we canceled all our other Canarian destinations and started our crusade to the bay of the Playa de Garcey. Shortly before our trip, we were worried about the report regarding the broken-into cars but we were ready to take the risk. We would just leave the windows open.
On March 3rd, after two days of severe weather, we started our trip to the wreck that was slanted even more. The bridge is leaning towards the ocean and the hull is considerably twisted. Knee-deep, you can find many interesting things: I took a few door handles and ledges from a few cabin doors. Apparently, nobody considered the instructions for the lifejacket from the days of the "SS Australis" owned by Chandris valuable-for us the special of the day ...
My girlfriend simply found the instructions for the lifejacket on the beach in the first (northern) bay. There were also numerous American toilet seats (I was not allowed to take them ). We did not proceed to the next bay since a small group of teenage moped drivers was camping there. They were not at all interested in the ship ... I will take a photograph of the instructions so that it will be more legible. The small sign "SS Australis" in the right corner was added later on-below there was initially written : "RHMS BRITANIS". The item is laminated greatly and was apparently from the "smoking room" ...
After 1 1/2 hours, we said goodbye to the ship. We are sure that we will never see it again.
We visited the parking lot with the glass splinters as well. However, we recommend everybody to simply drive into the bay and not to leave the car too far away from this spot.
We hope that we did not bore you with this report and the photographs. We admit we would be proud if we were mentioned on your website. But now enough.
Best wishes from Thomas and Heidi from Halle
Dear Thomas, dear Heidi: Your report was anything but boring and we like to publish it at this point - even though you do not have any good news for the friend´s of the American Star ...
3. Appendix, still March ´06: New Website
Due to considerable interest in the American Star by our readers, we decided to create another website - in addition to our CD version being expanded continuously - which holds a summary of current reports in our magazine in regards to the ship.
The new additional site: www.american-star.eu
4. And 5. Appendix, April ´06: The Foremast And More Is Gone ...
In theses days, the bad news surrounding the American Star do not end: Bill Lee, the "unofficial historian" of the ship and author of the our outstanding reports in regards to the ship´s history as well as the "autopsy" by sea, sent us a current photograph taken by Matt and Sandy Barker: Unfortunately, it does not show anything good ...
Here is a short analysis from Bill and thank him as well as Matt & Sandy for the current information!
Shows much more damage in bridge area, foremast is completely gone, and the area beneath the forward funnel stub has been washed away.
Can´t tell for sure, but it appears that propeller which has been resting on the foredeck since before the tow began (note of the editor: see also our photograph on the bottom at the beginning of this report) has now tumbled into the sea (perhaps because the wreck is listing even further to port - can´t be sure). Certainly, the bridge and forward funnel base are listed more that way than the rest of what remains.
... in the near future I suspect you´ll get pictures showing even more damage. I think the weight of the emergency diesel generator and batteries in the forward funnel base will soon cause that to fall as well. ...
From those pictures - one of which was ´head-on´, I was able to calculate that what´s left of the ship's hull is now listing to port about 45 degrees. And the bridge structure and base of the forward stack are leaning even further - about 55 degrees. The pictures indicate that the sea is rapidly ripping apart the lightweight superstructure beneath the bridge, so I suspect a few more weeks of pounding will cause the bridge and funnel base to follow the mast into the sea.
After that, the next thing to go, perhaps, might be the port-forward king post - whose standing rigging (and attachment points on the hull) are being assailed by the sea almost continuously. Of course, the hull itself might tumble to port at any moment; impossible to tell if its stable or not, but the movements since November certainly indicate that is a distinct possibility at any time.
And now, we know it exactly: Also the second propeller stored on the forecastle (the other one fell overboard while locals tried to salvage the propeller in vain) is vanished by now. Our photograph by Klaus Roemer below clearly shows that this was taken only a couple of days after the above one. Here is his mail:
Dear Explorer Team:
As a fan of the "American Star" and regular visitor of the shipwreck, I caught the dramatic changes of the position and substance. My last visit dates back to April 19, 2006 and my attached photograph is from the same date. You can see that massive wind gusts even further damaged the ship.
Among others, the bridge structure completely collapsed and the wreck´s prior critical slant to the seaside has even further increased. When considering the remnants of a few containers corroding on shore above the ship and from which there are only rusty skeletons left facing the sky and looking spooky and bizarre, you know how the aggressive salty air will literally eat the bits of metal still left of the "American Star" in the next few years.
In misery, I follow the slow unavoidable death of this former ocean giant and know that this is the way of all mundane. At least, there is one positive aspect due to this condition, it is almost impossible to enter this totally slanted pile of junk and above all, it is totally useless since the interesting interior is inaccessible. Therefore, there will not be any additional human victims of this ship's catastrophe. Nonetheless, the legend "American Star" will still enjoy vast interest and remains a "must see" excursion during each stay on Fuerteventura.
For this reason, a heartfelt thank you from me for this awesome website providing me with information for which I would have been charged a fee by the German "Navigation Agency" resp. various shipping companies.
A faithful fan of the "American Star"
Klaus Römer from Rodenkirchen near Cologne.
6. Appendix, May 6, 2006: Once Upon A Time ...
Let's take the few days remaining until the latest terrible news about the wreck will reach us again to look back again: We published a new report online concerning the years 1994 to 1999 off the western coast of Fuerteventura. It is the then TV report of NDR which had been requested many times. More below
Then we have also included two zoomed-in photographs of the American Star. First, an impressive aerial shot from past March given to us by Rheinhessen-Luftbild:
And for all who become weepy, we have a zoomed-in photograph from the good old time. We used a photograph provided by Rolf Weigert in the summer of 2005.
7. Appendix, May ´06 again: How Much Longer Will The Dummy Smokestack Hold On ..?
Our reader Ralf Faltermann visiting the wreck regularly sent us again a mail including some photographs - among those the latest from May 4, 2006.
Interestingly, the king-post on the port side located now at sea level with its pedestal still holding on (under the present circumstances, we hope for the wreck visitor Dirk Evers, that his name can be found in the next few weeks ... ).
However, the front dummy smokestack is close to its collapse due to the surrounding water. Unbelievable, how it holds on considering the heavy emergency generators and batteries stored there.
Hello dear Explorer Team!
As promised in my last e-mail, I am sending new photographs from my recent visit in FUE. On May 4, 2006, we were at location and have the impression that a few pieces of the remaining hull fell off ...
On the sea side, the complete hull is surrounded by water so that the entire structure will slip off. You can already see that the smokestack almost touches the incoming waves. This was already our third visit of the "American Star" and this time we met so many spectators as never before. Our next visit will probably only be next fall and we are already anxious to see whether the "American Star" is still around or not.
Ralf Faltermann from Viernheim
8. Appendix, still May ´06: A Matter Of Perspective ...
One week later; Thomas Arlitt mailed us the drama from an even more drastic perspective on May 11, 2006: The "dummy" smokestack is still holding on (please click on photograph bottom left) ...
Yesterday, we returned from our one-week vacation on Fuerte. And as in 2004, we planned a visit to the sad but still fascinating remnants of the American Star. The army had their drills and a couple of soldiers apparently took a nap on the beach in front of the "American Star." Both - my wife and I - were left alone. What a friendly "ola" can accomplish ...
But now to the most important aspect: the ship! Before our departure, we looked at your websites in order to obtain the latest details (everything important is already said about your successful websites ...) And now, we can provide you with the latest state - take a look at the photographs which speak for themselves ...
Thomas & Gabi Arlitt
from Neuhauen (Enzkreis)
9. And 10. Appendix, June ´06: "Touch Down" ...
Now, the dummy smokestack with its heavy emergency diesel generators touched down: It is surrounded by the merciless ocean which will take its toll very very soon. A mail and photographs by Uwe Neißl reached us:
We just returned from Fuerteventura and were at the "American Star" for the third time after 2003 and 2004 - a sad sight! It does not really seem to take much longer until you will not be able anymore to see any of the wreck.
The bridge leans more and more towards the water and the remnants of the smokestack lie horizontally by now and it is surrounded by the water (see attached photographs). Will we be able to find anything left of the "American Star" during our next vacation on Fuerteventura?
Melanie & Uwe from Kraichtal
We are especially pleased that Britta Schaa in charge of the creation of the website´s English version about the American Star finally was again able to see the ship herself. Soon, we will meet her in Munich where she will briefly visit after her vacations on Fuerteventura and before her return to Florida.
Britta mailed us a couple of photographs we had asked for from her visit of the wreck on May 30, 2006. She will bring additional photographs on a CD to Munich. We are excited!
We publish one of her dramatic photographs of the wreck's "on board" in original size. Please click on the small photograph above on the right.
... I would have loved to stay longer on Fuerte; however, I got almost everything done that I had planned (Pico de la Zarza, "American Star," Puerto de la Pena, Cofete, and Puerto de Rosario). On May 30th, we were at the wreck. This time (Canarian Holiday), there were many people here (day-trippers and campers) ...
11. Appendix, August ´06: Exodus ...
Quite regularly we receive inquiries according the condition of the wreck. But since Britta sent us her great photographs above it nearly didn´t change at all - we are afraid that this will be the task of the coming autumn and winter storms ...
And there is a steady flow of visitors these days as shown by the photograph of Marco from the 20th of July ...
He was there again, "our man" at location, Dirk Evers.
This time he was not on board as three years ago but once again he was in frightening proximity to the old lady - and as the last time, it was a pretty eerie visit!
© 2006 Explorer Magazin
English Translation 03-09/06: Britta Schaa, Venice Florida