over there is nothing prefer a an excellent sea story, especially about shipwrecks. Recently, while looking through old newspapers, The American Beacon and Norfolk & Portsmouth daily Advertiser, from the day of Nov. 8, 1821, I discovered an particularly article around a ship called the Sea Fox.

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The Sea Fox was capsized by a huge squall in the Caribbean, leaving four of the crew within a hull compartment for three days. Upon reading this true sea story, it reminded me so much of the 1972 disaster movie, "The Poseidon Adventure," ns just had actually to share.


The movie was based on Paul Gallico"s 1969 eponymous novel. The plot centers top top the fictional SS Posei-don, an aged high-end liner top top her last voyage from brand-new York City to Athens prior to being sent to the scrapyard. On brand-new Year"s Eve, she is overturned by a tsunami. Passengers and crew room trapped inside, and also a rebellious preacher make the efforts to command a small group that survivors come the feasible safety of the unsubmerged hull.


The novel and the movie intertwine the surname of actual ships. According to the book, the Poseidon had once been named the RMS Atlantis, which to be scrapped in 1971. And movie scenes are partly shot board the real-life, however retired, RMS Queen Mary, now a moored hotel/museum in long Beach, Calif.


Both the Atlantis and also the Queen Mary offered as troop carrier during human being War II, and the Queen Mary had actually its very own share that real and also near disaster. While to run a zig-zag pattern to prevent U-boats in the phibìc Atlantic, the Queen mar rammed and also split in fifty percent its escort ship, costing the stays of 338 males aboard the HMS Curacoa. And during a record-breaking trip across the Atlantic, Queen mar (carrying more than 16,000 troops) to be hit by a rogue wave approximated at 90 feet. It to be calculated the the ship tipped 52 degrees and also would have capsized had it rolling 3 levels more.


It was that event that may have actually inspired Gallico"s tale of the Poseidon, but, together they say, fact can it is in stranger 보다 fiction.


The Sea Fox sailed out of new York top top a beautiful, cloudless day on Oct. 27, 1821. Her location was Port-au-Prince, Haiti, v 22 passengers. Capt. Wyer was her knowledgeable commander. As she approached the Wayland Islands and also passed safely through the Narrows (a right that the end the Caribbean islands of St. Kitts & Nevis), Wyer dismissed the ship"s pilot.


together evening approached, Wyer took the normal precautions to bring down her sails, royal masts and riggings. The passengers were all asleep in their cabins and four of her crewmen were resolved in their forecastle (crews living quarters below ships deck). The night was calm and all appeared secure.


Capt. Wyer turned over the ship"s wheel to his 2nd mate and also retired come his cabin at midnight. The Sea Fox was moving along peacefully towards her destination when a sudden, large squall brought violent gusts that wind, torrential rain and also heavy seas. The whole ship rocked and shook.


in ~ seconds, Wyer to be on peak deck, providing orders to the crew to secure the top sails, yet while attempting himself to certain a spanker-sheet, he to be flung right into the sea. Prior to his orders might be implemented, the ship to be struck under on that beams-end.


choose all ship disasters, panic ensued. Only three passenger made that to safety from your cabins. Wyer, his mate and also two other sailors regulated to acquire a couple of people in a lifeboat, and also they stayed on the leeward next of the capsized boat – somewhat safeguarded from the heavy wind and also rain – till daybreak.


as light approached, one of the passenger spotted a ship. Yet rough seas tho made conditions daunting for the Iris to make a rescue. After two hours, the Iris"s Capt. Smith had scooped castle up and transferred them to the schooner Delaware.


plank the Sea Fox the frightful night, points went badly for numerous who were later on identified: Lt. Easterbrook that the brothers navy, his lovely mam Lady Easterbrook, who was the daughter of Dr. McNeill of Jamaica, and also their two children were all lost. Mr. Christopher F. Speyer, Mr. J.O. Walker, miss Matilda Dawson, she servant and also four crewmen were every lost. Mr. George Dawson, Mr. Levi Dawson, wilhelm Bev, a black color man, to be lost.


miss Dawson, a well-educated woman, was embracing her parents throughout the storm and actually sank from she parents" arms into her brother"s eight while he to be struggling to conserve her life. They to be all shed in the fierce storm.


A few days later, 2 pilot boats were discharged to look because that the Sea Fox wreck, but returned to port without finding a trace. Big sums of prize money were available for any type of passengers, dead or alive.


three days later, the john & Adam, commanded by Capt. Knight, to be able to obtain to the destructive of the Sea Fox. The waves had actually subsided and the crew that the john & Adam do a stunning discovery. Together they walked top top the wooden hull of the capsized ship, castle heard voices and saw a stick to run up and down with a crack.


Immediately, article ordered axes to cut a hole in the deck – and also four cold, grateful, half-starved guys came out of your watery grave.


simply as in the tale of the capsized Poseidon, these four crew members – in complete darkness – had scrambled through barrels, chairs and debris to discover an air-pocket that had saved your lives. They recalled the horrors that water pouring right into their section. They had actually prayed to not be drowned. Together one survivor said, "God had ceded them, and also they were all indebted come Capt. Knight and his crew because that their for sure deliverance."


Upon showing up in Philadelphia, they were treated v kindness and hospitality. The citizen of new York and Pennsylvania made beneficial donations to Capt. Knight and also his crew for a exceptional rescue that the 4 crewmen of the Sea Fox. And many readers pertained to this sea tragedy together a miracle: after all, why did the Sea Fox not sink?


Looking ago on the movie, "The Poseidon Adventure," it"s tough to problem the similarities. And just as the movie"s theme track relates – "The Morning After" by Maureen McGovern – yes, the 4 crew guys of the Sea Fox did see many mornings after.

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Robert citizen Hitchings is the Archivist/Historian in ~ the Wallace Memorial background Room of the Norfolk county Historical culture located in the Chesapeake main Library, 298 Cedar Road.


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