In the days when pirates existed and many sailors were exploring the new world, many of those ships were either caught in bad weather and wrecked or possible pirate invasions of other ships caused many battles out at sea leaving many shipwrecks abound all over the Atlantic, Pacific and even the Caribbean Sea.
The Northern part of the island has its fair number of shipwrecks mostly in the Rocky Point and Habaneros-Palmeros Area and a few weeks ago the office of Ambergris Today got a lead on a possible shipwreck on North Ambergris Caye about a mile off Sueño Del Mar, and that possible treasures might have already been sold both locally and abroad.
We contacted Miguel Alamilla of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve who he assured us that they had gotten numerous reports about the shipwreck and that they had been told that both residents of the area and fishermen had been excavating the shipwreck. He also mentioned that they visited the area and that the piece of the vessel has been washed up on the shore and that nothing much was found on the site. They are monitoring area since it is near the Bacalar Chico Reserve.
To further our investigation, we contacted Dr. Jaime Awe of the Institute of Archeology at the National Institute of Culture and Heritage (NICH), who explained to us that he was on the island from February 15 to February 17. He visited the wreck site along with San Pedro Police as he had gotten reports of people looting the precious remains of the shipwreck.
“The police were able to get a search warrant and we checked out several of the homes in the vicinity for any artifacts that might have been removed but to no avail,” commented Mr. Awe to Ambergris Today. “We are currently trying to get assistance from government to go back at the location to properly identify the shipwreck and try to recover as many items as we possibly can”. Mr. Awe also mentioned that the police are making constant checks on the area so as to prevent any looting in the area. Charges will be made to those caught doing any legal activities.
There are several ship wrecks off the coast of Belize; about three cannons and an anchor were retrieved from the ship wreck at Rocky Point and the oldest shipwreck site is the Habaneros-Palmeros off Ambergris Caye. Presently there are three anchors, three large cannons and one breach loading swivel cannon still on the reef.
Scattered in the fore-reef there are much encrusted ballast rocks, whose path leads into the reef itself and limitedly into the leeward side of the reef. One of these cannon is in water about 10″ deep. A few silver coins were found on this wreck that dated between 1630 and 1650. The name of this ship is unknown, but some of its explorers suggest that it may have been the “Oxford”, one of Sir Henry Morgan’s privateers. Other shipwrecks can be found at Lighthouse Reef, Turneff Island, Glover’s reef, Sittee River and St. George’s Caye.