On closer inspection, the event became all the more bizarre; all the ship’s papers with the exception of the captain’s logbook were missing; the clock was not working and the compass was smashed, in addition the sextant and the marine chronometer were missing. Compounding the mystery – there had being no attempt to weigh the anchor, roll up the canvas or tie the steering wheel – all contributing to the ship’s wild drifting. Mysteriously, the peak halyard, which is used to hoist the main sail, was found tied to the ship, with the other end, terribly frayed, trailing in the water behind.
Deveau’s party inspected the ship’s cargo, finding it to be completely intact; however, when it was eventually unloaded in Genoa, nine barrels were found to be empty but there was no evidence of a leak. Also, no protective clothing or raingear had being taken off the ship onto the yawl; nor had any of the six month provisions of food and clean, fresh water. Initial solutions offered, thought that the Marie Celeste had been the victim of a piracy raid but the cargo had not being touched nor had the crew’s personal valuables, making such an attack seem very unlikely.
On closer inspection of the ship, things were discovered that indicated that the ship had been vacated in a hurry; such as an untidy mess in the captain’s quarters and unfinished calculations in the First Mate’s quarters. Unfortunately, the captain’s log only added to the puzzle as there was no mention of any bad weather or any unforeseen events, the last entry was dated 24 November and placed her one hundred miles west of the Azores. In addition to the captain’s log, the ship’s slate showed that the Marie Celeste had reached the island of Santa Maria in the Azores on the morning of the 25 November.
Russell Shortt is a travel consultant with Exploring Ireland, the leading specialists in customised, private escorted tours, escorted coach tours and independent self drive tours of Ireland.
Find More Sailing Articles