The Bay of Honduras

Shipwrecks in Belize

Rocky Point: Three cannon and one anchor retrieved and on display in various hotels. One 151 anchor presently in about 20'to 25'of water, one cannon in about 121 of water. on the beach there are many broken bottles of circa 1750. A few small ballast rocks may be found on the beach. Several chisel headed bronze nails and drifts encrusted in the exposed rocks. Unverified reports indicate there may be a large ballast pile in 401 to 60' of water off the point. From Marx, 1971, "Before 1792. An English Chart dated 1792 states that some years earlier a Spanish galleon named "Santa Yaga was lost off the Three Brothers, which are several small keys off the northeastern tip of Ambergris Key"

Habaneros-Palmeros: This is probably one of the oldest wrecks sites off Ambergris Caye. Presently there are three anchors, three large cannon and one breach loading swivel cannon still on the reef. Scattered in the forereef there are very 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.

Morgan was very active in the Roatan, Honduras area. Here are a few historical notes on Morgan. A Welshman (b. 1635, d. 1688), he was kidnapped as a boy in Bristol and later sold in Barbados. In 1664, he led a commission as Lt. Governor of Jamaica and 1665-1666, sailing from Jamaica he attacked Vildemos, Truxillo in Honduras, in 1668 the Spaniards were planning an attack on Jamaica and Morgan attacked Porto Bello, Panama and the buccaneers subsequently ravaged Cuba. Before being made Lt. Governor, he was Commander-In-Chief of the entire naval force of Jamaica. In all probability Morgan was familiar at least in part, with the reefs, channels and passages on the Belizean coast.

1751 Two Rhode Island sloops and a Jamaican snow lost on the north keys (Lighthouse Reef

1764 English merchantman, "Mary Oxford", coming from Jamaica lost on Turneffe Island.

1774 Two ships wrecked on Glover's Reef: English merchantman, "Argyle", Capt. Fisher, about 5 leagues (a league is about 3 nautical miles) from the southwestern end of the reef: the American ship "Polly", Capt Waid, going to New York, on the Northeastern end of the reef, crews and part of cargo saved.

1780 The English ship "Live Oak", sailing to Jamaica, wrecked on the coast at Black River (Sittee River), crew was saved.

1786 English merchantman, "Assisstance", Capt Galt, coming from Jamaica, lost crossing the bar at Black River

1786 Unidentified Scottish ship, Capt Carr, wrecked on Glovers reef, the crew saved.

1787 On Sept. 2, (a hurricane), 30 plus English merchantmen were on coast and off-lying areas; 15 were lost in the port of Belize. The only ship identified by name was the "HMS Triumvirate" lost at St. George's Caye which was carrying a large amount of silver specie. The large ballast pile off St George's Caye may be from this ship.

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The Pirate Treasure of Roatan Island by Daryl Friesen


A Treasure Hunters Guide to Roatan Island and Beyond