ship wrecks


Bassa da India Ship Wrecks - Once in a lifetime Adventure Holiday

Bassas da India was first recorded by Portuguese explorers in the early 16th century. It was first named Baixo da Judia, "Shoal of Judia". "Judia" was the name of a Portuguese ship that ran aground on this reef. This ship was named "Judia" (Jewess in Portuguese), because its owner was a Jewish trader from Portugal.

Apparently this reef was renamed Bassas da India by subsequent cartographers owing to mistakes in their writing the word "Judia" by confusing letters while copying former maps (Capital "J" changed to "I" and "u" to "n"). In 1897 it became a French possession, later being placed under the administration of a commissioner residing in Réunion in 1968

Though the atoll is fairly well charted, and has been so for centuries, it is a most treacherous reef simply because it cannot be seen at high tide. For this reason it is a graveyard of ships. Nobody seems to know exactly how many but the place is littered with wrecks, perhaps as many as a hundred. Some of these wreck are centuries old, others more recent. 

The most famous of these is the Santiago, a Portuguese East Indiaman that ran aground here en route to Goa in 1585, the remains of which are still is visible on the reef. Salvage divers have recovered around 10,000 Spanish pieces of eight, emeralds, jewellery, 20 bronze canons and a rare Portuguese nautical astrolabe from this wreck site. The 4.5m long anchor lying on the reef-top visibly identifies this wreck. 

NO ITEMS OR ARTIFACTS ARE TO BE REMOVED FROM THE REEF OR WRECKS. ANYONE CAUGHT DOING SO WILL BE ASKED TO LEAVE THE YACHT!


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