Wednesday 22 July 2020 – St Leonards-On-Sea.
Tips of the wooden rib cage of the MV Amsterdam spearing out of the sand of Bylverhythe beach is what I expected to see as I strolled sand exposed by the receding tide on this heavily pebbled beach. I saw nothing but sea, shingle, sand, rock banks; both man and nature made, dogs, dog walkers and families, and the deserted equipment of a fisherman no longer in sight. I carried on my hunt.
Checking my watch as I reached the end of the beach I realised there were still 15 more minutes to low tide. I paused briefly, before turning my back to the setting sun and walking back in the direction of St Leonards and home, stopping when I reached the point where I thought the wreck was buried. Peaking out of the almost full low tide I spot wood not stone and know I have found my objective.
The MV Amsterdam set sail from Amsterdam in January 1749 on her maiden voyage, bound for the Dutch colony in Java, Indonesia. It didn’t get very far, caught in a storm and losing her rudder in Pevensey Bay, it foundered on Bulverhythe Beach, St Leonards. 8 years later the wreck had been swallowed by the sand, leaving an almost intact hull buried, supposedly full of goodies. It has lain there ever since.
I spent the next 30 minutes pretty much in the same spot, taking the occasional photo as the tide continued to go out, hoping that the tide would recede enough to just leave sand and the exposed rib tips.
Others wandered past, some stopping to take a photo on their phone, others seemingly wondering why I was just standing there in the setting sun, camera in hand.
The outline did not fully reveal itself, even at the full low tide. I need to come back when that low tide line is even lower than tonight’s.
It was nice to be out my camera, inspired to take it out after a visit from friends last week. While I didn’t get the image that I wanted I did get to enjoy myself, and took some photos on the way.
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