Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Over the centuries there must have been many shipwrecks around the shores of these islands.

In legend one of our ethnic groups, the Angolars, is derived from the survivors of a slave transport shipwreck who managed to eke an independent living from the forest and fishing in the south of Sao Tome until they were "conquered" by the Portuguese in the 1870s.

So below you will see three contemporary shipwrecks.

Our first is in a small cove in the northwest of the island. I have no idea when it occurred as it was already there when I arrived in 1989. Over the years it has gradually evolved into this lump of rust. It looked like it was a trawler but who knows ...

The next two occurred in the last two years. The capital city and port of Sao Tome are built around a relatively sheltered bay in the northeast but occasionally a storm will descend from the north. This local cargo transport, owned by a Lebanese businessman also running a middle-range hotel on the island, ended up on the beach of the city bay. Stripped of anything valuable and despite pathetic efforts to move it and threats from the local authorities, it remains a sight-seeing eyesore in the centre of the city.

Our third is a similar cargo transport that got carried out of its mooring and some two kilometres down the east coast. Ending up on the rocks, a local businessman imaginatively established a bar/restaurant on the beach directly opposite the wreck named "The Pirate".

To round off this nautical post, UK Admiralty charts for the Gulf of Guinea show an unexploded Depth Charge in the capital city's bay.

No comments: