Friday, 25 July 2014
One lump or two
Following on from the previous posting when I came across lumps of coal and old pieces of ships timbers ashore. A week later I returned to the site of my discoveries only to find that the beach had completely changed and that the tides that had pushed my discovery ashore have now reclaimed everything by taking it back out to sea again. All except this large lump of coal and a beam end of a ships timber riddled with terrado worm. This piece of coal photographed with a golf ball I found nearby weighs in at 14.6 kg. To find a lump of coal this size on the foreshore is unusual as big lumps normally range at 1 to 2 kg.
My gut instinct tells me that an inshore wreck of a collier somewhere along the coast is scouring out. It is difficult to pin point which one as our southern coastline is littered with wrecks of many 19th century colliers that never completed their hazardous voyages from the North East in winter time. The maritime coal trade into Thanet is well documented and so is the loss of life bringing a much needed commodity to keep 19th century southern homes warm in winter time. Many of the vessels even though they were sea worthy were near the end of their days and loaded up to capacity . Given that the demand for coal was always in the most harshest of weather the law of averages does point to the fact that some vessels would not make the final destination. This was generally accepted and many shipping owners would only insure the cargo and that really does speak volumes on how they operated in a very profit orientated lucrative trade.