FREELANCE JOURNALIST AND AUTHOR
Anthony Poulton-Smith

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Torbay Wrecks

One of the English Riviera's attractions, aside from its mild climate, is the bay and its waters. The great headland of Berry Head protects the eastward-facing bay from the ravages of the prevailing weather heading into the English Channel from the Atlantic. Look west and it is clear the landmass of Dartmoor also provides shelter. Together these topographical features mean the bay is generally sheltered and visitors are often heard to remark on how the quiet waters of the bay are like a mill pond. Residents will be more than aware how this changes out of season, particularly when strong winds whip up great waves.

Within these pages discover an astonishing array of vessels, learn about those who were on board and what they carried. From a purely logistical perspective it proved well-nigh impossible to uncover any details from earlier than the middle of the eighteenth century and thus this is chosen as the starting point. This does mean such famous shipwrecked individuals as the 397 who came ashore from the failed Spanish Armada, held prisoner at Torre Abbey in July 1688, are omitted. Yet still we find an average of one wreck every year among stories of hurricanes, Nazis, aircraft, and the story of how Savage Hole got its name.

The waters of the bay are not ideal for diving. As no river worthy of the name empties into it, the waters are very murky and visibility poor, although this does provide a haven for marine life. This book lifts that veil to give a clearer view of what-lies-where beneath those murky waters known so well from above.


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