And Again: Hunt For Relics ...
Only a few days after our flight, we drive again towards the Playa de Garcey: Before our departure, we eagerly want to visit the wreck again - even if it is again from the normal perspective this time.
And we still have something else in mind. We remember clearly a report from Thomas Tamme who was making a discovery last year: The instructions for a life vest from the time of the SS AUSTRALIS. Today, Dirk has another surprise for us. He found another one the day before - from the SS ITALIS! When he proudly presents his find, it is clear: Of course, we want to finally find something like that ourselves!
And the incredible happens: When searching the beach today, we also find such instructions! This piece originates as the one from Dirk from the time of the SS ITALIS - to be more exact from its "Smoking Room".
The model wearing the life vest and shown on the instructions is the same woman as the one on the instructions from the SS AUSTRALIS. When looking at the picture more closely, one can ask oneself whether a well-known German chancellor worked as a swimsuit model in her younger years ...
What might have happened? Last year, did instructions from the AUSTRALIS wash ashore and nowadays two from the ITALIS? Did the ocean enter into a room containing many of these instructions? The SS ITALIS was the last name under which the ship went to sea end of the 70ies - after one year, she ended her active career including a diverse history only after a few cruises. As NOGA or ALFERDOSS, she only moored in a Greek harbor later on.
We will never be able to explain why we found two of the same instructions in these days - the American Star still has a lot of secrets, but we already know this for a long time!
We find many other things: planks, plugs, metal pieces, and everything easy to classify - a steady source, the wreck in front of our eyes ...
We reach a remote and deserted bay that Dirk has visited many times during his visits: Lots of debris but mostly wood and various indefinable components.
The by now complete loss of the American Star's structures
lead to a vast amount of planks and other wooden leftovers distributed
throughout all bays across the ship. Who has space in the luggage, can
possibly take one or another piece as a souvenir - however, even the
most beautiful planks we find with porthole's metal parts, we cannot
consider taking with us: All is way too heavy ...
When we are ready to end our search, we are impressed: In the second bay - directly across the wreck - we discover something very familiar. It is our wreath that the ocean washed back ashore.
The bands with the inscription in honor of the USS WEST POINT's veterans are gone - the wreck obviously kept those. The wreath itself is completely intact - we take it again with us: It becomes a new place of honor on a rock - very close and across the wreck ...
© 2007 Explorer Magazin
English Translation: Britta Schaa, Venice Florida