Undersea explorers have discovered the wreckage of the SS Cotopaxi, which disappeared in 1925, off the coast of St Augustine, Florida. And while St Augustine is a few miles shy of the Bermuda Triangle, it certainly does give one pause. A ghost ship?… That disappeared almost a century ago?…. IS BACK? What is this… some sort of Manifest scenario? Where has it been all this time? IN ANOTHER DIMENSION? OUTER SPACE?
A little backstory via HuffPo:
The SS Cotopaxi set off from Charleston, South Carolina and was bound for Havana, Cuba on Nov. 29, 1925, and then vanished. No trace of the ship or its crew of 32 were ever identified, which made the vessel ripe for both folklore and pop culture.
For example: In Steven Spielberg’s 1977 classic “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” the Cotopaxi reappears in the middle of the Gobi Desert.
Recently however, Michael Barnette, the diver, author, and researcher who helped find the wreck, combed through historical documents, including paperwork from the ship’s insurer, to find a previously unknown distress call sent by the Cotopaxi on Dec. 1, 1925.
By mapping the ship’s route, the coordinates of the signal and other hints from the documents, he and his crew honed in on a site discovered 35 years ago known as the “Bear Wreck.”
And lo, and behold, the Bear Wreck turned out to be the Cotopaxi!
“There were several elements that confirmed the identity such as the dimensions of the ship, it’s length and the measurement of the boiler,” he said. “Also, I looked at the general orientation of the machinery. It was all consistent with the information we knew about the Cotopaxi.”
In other words, it had been there all along! Not quite as exciting as the ghost -ship-returning-from-the-damned scenario I was spinning in my head, but interesting none-the-less.
“It was incredibly exciting,” said Barnette via email. “I’ve done a countless number of shipwreck dives but this one truly stood out.”
The story of Barnett’s search for the Cotopaxi will be on the new series “Shipwreck Secrets” which debuts at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Feb. 9 on the Science Channel, followed by the premiere of a second new series, “Curse of the Bermuda Triangle” at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
(Photos via Pixabay are completely random and have nothing to do with the Cotopaxi wreck, they just look pretty and were free.)