When we first got our boat in 2004 we took her for a fortnight’s holiday in the Med. The River Medway I mean, one of the tributaries to the Thames near the estuary. The weather, unlike this September was glorious, and we enjoyed a true Indian summer, swimming, sunbathing & generally messing about on the river.
One morning was mistier than the others, so we decided to go for a little explore round the Swale. As we headed out into the river, the following image came into view through the mists…
…surrounded by yellow red and green navigation and warning buoy of the exclusion zone, the masts of the SS Richard Montgomery could be seen, emerging from the mists.
Sunk in 1944 when she ran aground following dragging her anchor, the ship was loaded with 1,500 tons of explosives. The salvage operation failed to recover much of the cargo, and as a result the ship was designated as a dangerous wreck and an exclusion zone was placed around it.
A survey conducted in 2000 found that the wreck still contained 1,500 tons of TNT high explosive which could be detonated by a collision, an attack or even shifting of the cargo in the tide.
According to a BBC news report in 1970 a 5m tidal wave would be generated by the blast however subsequent reports have stated that the wave would be about 1m high, still enough to cause flooding to some coastal towns.
In 1967 a similar wreck in Folkstone from 1946 exploded with force equivalent to an earthquake measuring 4.5 on the Richter scale, which has discouraged the salvage of the munitions from the Montgomery.
Seeing the masts of the SS Richard Montgomery slowly appear through the mists was most definitely the spookiest thing I have ever seen at sea!
Here’s the post that reminded me of my photo, thanks Jody!
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Wonderful, Barbara! And very spooky!
Thanks! It really was scary!
That is scary stuff. The worst sea conditions I ever encountered was from Larne to Stranraer in a force 9 gale. No. We were not in a small boat, it was a ferry. It was my first visit to Scotland with Jack and that was a story in itself.
My worst sea journey was in the Irish Sea too, a force 8/9 coming back from Stratford on Avon on a school trip in November 1986. The Hollyhead boat was cancelled due to the weather so we drove to Liverpool instead and caught the ferry there. The sea crossing was supposed to take 8 hours, but it took 12. Even the crew were sick!
The encounter with the Montgomery was spookier though!
Love this story Barbara. Ship crossings can be so bad at times. That Irish one yours sound nightmarish. Once when we were crossing to England from Holland OMG…ours was the last ship allowed to leave, and they boarded up the big glass windows. You couldn’t get near the toilets for vomiting people.
The toilets on our boat were the same, disgusting. There was water swamping the floor. Luckily we were able to get out on deck (would NEVER be allowed these days) so my friends and I had a ball running around the ship flying every third step!
Nowadays I would definitely be sick, I have a much weaker stomach now & haven’t the energy to run round a lurching car ferry in a storm for 12 hours!!
I was traveling with my ex, and I was really pissed at him. He had been out celebrating the night before we left and I had to do everything. He had a massive hangover and felt so ill already. He went down in to the boat to try to find a cabin that was open to be sick. Well [I found out later that day], there he was puking in the toilet when the boat hit a massive wave and lurched, throwing it all right back on to his face. I peed myself laughing. Ain’t karma a bitch at times ???
Karma definitely 🙂
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That’s a captivating picture!
In four years in the Navy, on many oceans, the only time I was close to being seasick was in the North Sea off England. You folks really know how to piss off old Neptune over there.
And the Irish Sea is worse 🙂