On August 9, 2015, a group of volunteers stacked sandbags on the wreck of the Sea Venture in Bermuda. Why? To protect the remains of the boat from teredo worms, which eat wet wood. However, they are unable to eat wood that is protected with sand.
The history of the Sea Venture is a good one. The ship set sail from England in 1609. It was one of nine ships that set sail for Virginia, in the new English colonies. Along the way, the fleet of ships were caught in a storm and the Sea Venture was separated from the group. The ships Captain, Sir George Somers intentionally crashed the ship into the reefs east of the island, to prevent the ship from sinking. All on board were saved, which included 150 people, and one dog.
The survivors remained on the island for ten months. During that time, the Sea Venture was stripped for parts, to create a new ship. The majority of those that survived the harsh environment of a previously uninhabited island, left the island to either continue on to Virginia, or to return to England, but a few stayed behind to lay claim to the island for England.
Some consider the wrecking of the Sea Venture the beginning of the civilization of Bermuda, although an official settlement didn’t happen until 1612.
Today, the remains of the Sea Venture are very important to the residence of Bermuda. The hope is the use of the sand bags on the ship will help keep what little is left, around for many more years.
Painting by Christopher Grimes, Bermuda