[Shane – I write a monthly article for All At Sea – South Florida and this month I wrote about Hogsty Reef. I think this is such a cool place that I want to share the article as today’s blog. Enjoy]
The of the most remote locations in the Bahamas is Hogsty Reef in the southern part of the country. It is a place more at home in the Pacific, not the Atlantic, because Hogsty Reef is an atoll that is three miles wide by five miles long. The waters around Hogsty Reef are 600 feet deep or more and the reef rises up to within a foot or two from the surface and surround a somewhat circular lagoon with depths in the 15-20 foot range.
Hogsty Reef roughly halfway between Acklins Island and Great Inagua Island. In my opinion the best way to get there is to stage off Castle Island on the southern tip of Acklins Island. Get up in the morning and make the 35-40 mile journey approaching Hogsty Reef from the west. I do not recommend going with wind over 15 knots and under 10 knots is best due to the lack of protection.
Once you have arrived you can enter the lagoon through a ¾ mile wide break in the reef on the west side. The only island here is called Northwest Cay and is more of a sand bar at roughly 1500 x 200 feet. On the island you will find scrub brush, a stone day marker, an automated light tower, and lots of sand. In the lagoon you will find a sandy bottom with lots of coral heads around to snorkel, but please make sure you have good sunlight to help navigate.
As great as the little island and snorkeling the coral heads are, it was the ship wrecks that really interested me. There have been over 600 wrecks on this reef, but most of them have surrender themselves to the depths surrounding the atoll. With that said, there are two still sitting atop the reef. The first one is in the northeast potion of the atoll and has been here since 1963, which shows given how it has rusted and is collapsing onto itself. It was a Liberty class ship built in North Carolina during World War 2. Originally it was named the Richard P Hobson and used for trans-Atlantic shipments during the war. After the war it was a cargo ship that traded hand several times before being renamed Trebisnjica under a Yugoslavia flag in 1961.
The second shipwreck is much more recent and is an inter-island transport named the Lady Eagle. Unfortunately, I have not been able to gather more information about this wreck than that, but the crew was able to drive this wreck into the reef so hard that it is firmly in the middle of the top of the reef and no part of the wreck hangs off the reef. Getting aboard is quite easy because the loading ramp is down and on deck you will even find a forklift that has been abandoned.
Hogsty Reef was the number one thing I wanted to see in the Bahamas, because of its uniqueness and how remote it is. Very few people ever venture to this atoll. In fact, I just had a friend tell me he wanted to go so he looked it up on the internet and my photos and blogs are some of the first to show up…..and I was there seven years ago!
Martin, I’m writing you this from the airport at LAX. I just returned from New Zealand this morning. I can surely get you some information on the vessel that you mentioned I think I have it on my list already. Please send a query to my email address: Wrecksearch48@gmail.com and I will get back to you as soon as I settle back in at home.
I have an interest in a wreck on the Hogsties, re an ancestor, Captain William Lawrence from Liverpool.
The following entry appears in Lloyds List, September 17 1830:
Liverpool 13th September
The Pyramus, Lawrence, from Jamaica to this port, was lost 18th July on the Hogsties the crew and cargo saved, and arrived at Nassau. If you have any further info I would appreciate it. Martin
Right now it is in the research phase but at an as yet undetermined time in the future it will become a report. Over the years I have put together data and published nine books. For the last ten years I have been on a very deliberate and solitary study of the marine disasters (not all lost vessels() in the state of Rhode Island but wrapped up that project about a year ago and now have moved my interest to the West Indies but mostly focused on the Bahamas and, as you can tell from my interest, with a specific interest in The Hogsties. To date I have gathered data on more than 5,400 documented wrecks in those waters but the search continues unabated and with an unrestrained enthusiasm. Perhaps we can continue to communicate (time permitting) and I will share some data as the notes are brought together.
It would be so cool to take a sub down to see all the wrecks piled up in the 600+ foot depths at the edge of the reef. I do feel very blessed that I had the oppertunity to visit Hogsty Reef, because almost 9 years later I still have only met a handful of people that have been there. Good luck with your continued research. If you have a list or report of your findings I would love to look at it.
Shane, Thanks again for your feedback. I have spent more than half a century in my study and have a pretty good handle on what I research and search for. Generally I don’t dig into wrecks that are smaller than at least 10-15 tons and many much bigger of course like the TREBISNJICA and the LADY EAGLE though as an avid diver my preference is to those whose remains lie on the sea floor and not visible like the former liberty ship. It sounds like you have a most interesting life, indeed.
It is great to have someone interested in my writings. I can tell you Hogsty Reef is truely an amazing place to visit. The three wrecks that I saw were great and we spent over an hour at each one. two were above the water and are fairly well known. The third was broken up and under about 10 feet of water near the sandbar. It is very cool that you are cataloging the different wrecks. The one problem you might have is if a local fishing skiff that hits it and is then salvaged count as a wreck. Then you always have the West Indian lore to shift through. Haha. good luck with all your research and thanks again for the comments.
Thanks for the feedback. I am a marine historian and currently “The Hogsties” is an area of interest to me. So far I can positively identify about 100 wrecks at that location but am not finished by any means. I was just curious as way too often I see numbers which are greatly exaggerated being passed on as fact. I am not criticizing what you wrote but am a stickler for accuracy when it comes to wrecks anywhere! BTW, I wouls not be surprised if your number proves to be true in the long run.
I actually climbed on or swam over three different wrecks, but I am assuming you are asking about the comment of over 600 ships hitting the reef in history. This is a statement i read somewhere, but i can not recall where any more. Sorry.
I am curious as to where you came up with the number of wrecks at the reef.