Mysterious shipwreck in Holland finally comes out of the water

It took a few cuts with a chainsaw and all the force of a 30-ton excavator, but finally a mysterious Newfoundland shipwreck was pulled from the water near the small community of Cape Ray.

The ship was completely pulled from shore on Sunday, nearly ten weeks after it was spotted in a provincial park on the southeastern coast of Newfoundland. The mystery ship has fascinated locals in the area, who are now raising funds in the hope of building a permanent home for the ship.

“It’s not just the talk of the town, it’s the talk of the entire area. We’re getting people coming to that beach and coming from all over,” said Anne Osmond, who chairs the community’s local services district.

“I think this would be the boost the southwest coast needs.”

Almost nothing is known for certain about the vessel, although some estimates place it at more than 200 years old.

Although not much is known about the boat, some estimates put it at more than 200 years old.

Initial studies by a provincial government archeology team suggested the boat’s construction indicated 19th-century techniques, according to Jamie Brake, provincial archaeologist for Newfoundland and Labrador.

A professor at Memorial University in St. John’s, Netherlands, took a sample to the university’s laboratory in hopes of learning more about the patterns in the vessel’s wood.

Trevor Croft said the construction of the boat is impressive and the wood remains in good condition for its estimated age. (Trevor Croft)

Trevor Croft, who has been working to secure the ship for weeks and helped lift it out of the water on Sunday, said the construction is even more impressive than originally thought and suspects the ship was of some significance.

“I’m surprised it went down in the first place,” he said. “It wasn’t something that was just used for fishing or anything like that.”

Sunday’s move ends weeks of anxiety in Cape Ray. Residents were worried that the ship would disappear again, but this time for good.

“He broke his bindings seven times and we had to tie him up eight times,” Croft said. “No matter what we do, the water comes out and wants to get it back.”

When the boat first came ashore, passersby measured it to be about 120 feet (36.5 meters), Croft said. The relentless pounding of waves in the area broke off parts of the ship, which measured approximately 80 feet (24 meters) before it was cut away and driven ashore.

Croft said it is remarkable that the ship turned up in such good condition.

JT Cheeseman Provincial Park, where the boat was found, is one of the province’s few sandy beaches. The ship managed to avoid dozens of rock banks that would have destroyed it before resurfacing.

Volunteers hope to reattach the boat and move it to the Cape Ray Lighthouse, about 6 kilometers away. According to Osmond, the ultimate goal is to build an addition to the local museum to contain the ship.

“You have to rent a lot of heavy equipment. It’s going to be very expensive,” Osmond said. “And I’m sure we’ll get some funding.”

With NTV files

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