SEASCAPE Ancient ship anchors on coral reef

Once, travel by sea in sailing ships through uncharted coral reef waters offered the chance to become seafood for sharks yourself. The northern shipwrecks like the twin anchors at Great Detached Reef just south of Raine Island are evidence of the Australian sea disasters of the 19th century.

This picture of exposed soft corals and twin anchors at low tide, was taken near our favourite part of the Great Barrier Reef during a filming expedition in the spring 2003.

In their time, a shipwreck like this was equal to an airline disaster of today. As the sailing ship was blown across the reef from the seaward side, anchors were thrown over but to no avail.

The ship was smashed to pieces by surf. Those who did survive were later eaten by cannibals on the mainland. Tough times indeed.

(copyright 2004)