The Whydah Gally – Pirate Shipwreck


Whydah Gally

The Whydah Gally was a fully rigged galley ship that was originally built as a passenger, cargo, and slave ship.  It was measured 110 feet (34 m) in length, with a tonnage rating at 300 tuns burthen, and could travel at speeds up to 13 knots (24 km/h; 15 mph).

On the return leg of its maiden voyage of the triangle trade, it began a new role in the Golden Age of Piracy, when it was captured by the pirate Captain Samuel “Black Sam” Bellamy, and was refitted as his flagship.

On 26 April 1717, the Whydah was suddenly struck by an extremely powerful Nor’easter storm with the force of a Category-One hurricane.  Running bow-first into a sandbar 16-feet deep at about 500 feet from the shore at what today is Marconi Beach of Wellfleet, she was battered by 30 to 40 feet waves.

Within minutes the masts fell and the ship was pulled into 30 feet of water where she completely capsized, sending over 4.5 short tons (4.1 tonnes) of silver and gold, more than 60 cannons and 144 people to the ocean floor; with churning shoals and monstrous waves throwing many pieces of Whydah’s shattered body, her rigging and sails, and thousands of objects across four miles of the beach.

The wreck was discovered by Barry Clifford in 1984.  Whydah had eluded discovery for over 260 years became even more surprising when the wreck was found under just 14 feet (4.3 m) of water and 5 feet (1.5 m) of sand.

Source: Wikipedia


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