Monday, 24 January 2011
We arrived at Thurlestone to find the lowest tide we had ever seen. The landscape that is usually hidden underwater was revealed in all its secret beauty; it was as though God had pulled the plug out. We could have walked out to Thurlestone Rock; the reef it sits on was completely exposed. We saw some divers, as well as noticing something sticking out of the sea. I realised they were exploring a shipwreck. (in the picture above it is the small blobs in the distance). I swam out to it with my ten year old son, through the most beautifully clear and still water. It felt very strange and slightly creepy as we approached the wreck; there is something eerie about a sunken ship. We explored it, seeing a porthole and various pipework underwater. We couldn't resist climbing on top of it and waving before swimming back. By the time we reached the shore the ship was hidden again. Later I found out it is the wreck of the Louis Sheid. It's a Belgian steamship which ran aground in 1939. There is a sad story behind it. It was travelling through the Channel en route for Antwerp when it stopped to help another ship which had been attacked by German U boats. It then carried on, but the Captain decided to stay inshore, for fear of getting attacked by the U boats himself. However because of the blackout there were no lights along the coast, and the ship ran aground. Luckily everyone was rescued by the Salcombe lifeboat.