National Geographic : 1971 Jul
I asked about the guns, which were Eng lish, dated 1577. "That doesn't mean anything," he said. "The English exported guns all over. Many of the guns in the Spanish Armada were cast in England. "I discussed the marine growths on her bottom with R. Tucker Abbott, a biologist at the Delaware Museum of Natural History. He tells me that the ship must have been anchored in the Azores, or maybe the Canary Islands, for at least eight months before com ing to Bermuda. But beyond that, I'm not sure of too much about her. She's a tight one with her secrets." Teddy sounded resigned. He knows that the sea conceals far more than it reveals. Islands' History Haunted by Shipwrecks The Bermudians' affair with the sea has been going on for nearly four centuries. It has been a stormy relationship. The first men to set foot on Bermuda were shipwrecked sail ors, though no one is sure when that hap pened. Officially the islands were discovered sometime before 1515 by the Spaniard Juan de Bermiidez, whose name they bear. The English were the first to settle (again, by shipwreck) in 1609; by then one castaway had taken the extraordinary trouble to carve ini tials resembling FT, a cross, and the date 1543 in a rock on the south shore. Bermudians have had to make their living from the vexing sea, but the reefs that ring the islands have made them pay dearly. Div ers have found the graves of some 120 ships that had mortal encounters with Bermuda coral (right). And modern navigational aids have failed to render the reefs benign. A three-masted barkentine, the Ramona C., came to grief less than four years ago. Today, however, most of those who inhabit and visit the lovely islands are content to partake of the sea's delights rather than to challenge its power. The more than 375,000 S*e ingto n,D.C. UNITED STS CapeHatteras S BERMUDA ' (UNITED KINGDOM) Mi 0 500 STATUTEMILES ' '\ "°N.G.S . Navigator's nightmare: The bones of some 120 ships have been located amid the reefs that guard Bermuda; perhaps as many more await discovery. Englishmen who struggled ashore in 1609 from the wrecked Virginia bound vessel Sea Venture became unwilling founders of the colony.