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View all New York Times newsletters. Coxon had a shrewder eye for commercial opportunity than for seamanship and navigation.

Caliban's Shore: The Wreck of the Grosvenor and the Strange Fate of Her Survivors

He calculated that salvation lay within miles, and, characteristically, he was wide of the mark -- it was almost miles off. The bedraggled huddle who set out to find it included seven women -- one, Lydia Logie, in an advanced state of pregnancy -- as well as five children and a number of injured and sick men.

They forded rivers, dragged themselves up and down precipitous valleys and, without so much as a knife among them, hacked away at a putrefying whale carcass with oyster shells in a desperate quest for food. They split into groups and re-formed; some were stoned or looted by Africans, and others were abandoned where they fell. Taylor painstakingly plots the various routes and formations as the protean bands fanned through the live green shadows of the bush.

On Nov. Rescue attempts brought more survivors to the outlying Dutch settlement of Swellendam, but men, women and children perished.

Catalog Record: The wreck of the Grosvenor | HathiTrust Digital Library

Of the vanished Coxon and the Hoseas nothing was known, though some information dribbled out later. The East India Company's official inquiry into the shipwreck was brief and inconclusive. For years the press indulged in lurid speculation as stories circulated that Lydia Logie had been captured by tribesmen and still lived among them, bearing children to an African prince. It is known that various 18th-century white castaways did stay in southeast Africa; whether they were from the Grosvenor is less certain, except in the case of one sailor. Taylor deals at length with the aftermath of the tragedy, exhaustively examining the possibilities, pursuing rumors down the centuries and studying strands of Pondo and other tribal myths.

He even unearths a tenuous link with the bloodline of Nelson Mandela. Like all good histories, it opens a window onto the past -- in this case the exotic, pestilential and perilous world of those doughty men and women who braved the high seas more than years ago. Please upgrade your browser.

London, ". Abraham Chiron on the evidence given by Barney Leary and seven other survivors concerning the wreck of the Grosvenor": p. Request this item to view in the Library's reading rooms using your library card. To learn more about how to request items watch this short online video.

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You must be logged in to Tag Records. Even if all the recovered artefacts were sold, the Hungarians say they would be lucky to break even. Excavation costs are rumoured to cost several thousand dollars a week, and the sea conditions at the excavation site are so terrible that they have only managed to get in 18 days of diving over the past three months.

Fortunately, the wreck site is relatively shallow - varying between 6m and 8m. But adding to their problems is the fact that most of the wreckage has literally been encased by the ocean floor. Most of the artefacts are glued into rock-like concretions caused by the chemical reaction of metal and calcium - so they had to be chiselled out carefully and then painstakingly removed and cleaned up on land.

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Apart from the coins, they've also turned up a wide assortment of items - ranging from cannon balls to lice combs, to a brass pistol, shards of glass and porcelain, sewing pins, navigational dividers and brass bowls. All this is being carefully classified and logged in relation to the position of discovery. The eventual plan is to house at least 50 percent of the items permanently in East London Museum, while some could be used for exhibition purposes aboard a full-scale replica of the Grosvenor.

Fifteen people lost their lives when the Grosvenor crashed into rocks and broke up in stormy seas in August The weary survivors who reached land rested for three days and gathered provisions. Two men stayed behind and integrated with the local Pondo people, while the remaining survivors set off for the Cape of Good Hope or the Dutch settlements near Port Elizabeth.

After three months of walking, only 15 people remained.