, Newburyport, MA

Local News

December 18, 2009

Shipwreck exposed

Erosion on Plum Island brings remains of vessel to surface

PLUM ISLAND — Call it the return of the Ingomar.

Jerry and Bobbi Klima were walking on the beach at Plum Island's Parker River National Wildlife Refuge when they came upon an arrangement of blackened boards sticking out of the sand.

The Klimas, who live on Ring's Island, Salisbury, recognized the wood as a wreck of some kind.

It appeared to be about a 15-foot-long boat, Jerry Klima said in e-mail. "Both the bow and the sternpost were protruding from the sand as well as a curved line of ribs. The bow had a drilled hole for a rope and no sign of any metal fittings."

The placement of the wreck — a little less than a mile south of refuge parking lot 3 — led deputy refuge manager Frank Drauszewski to conclude that what the Klimas had seen was a small part of the wreck of the Ingomar.

The Ingomar, launched in 1904, was a 116-foot Gloucester fishing schooner that ran aground in heavy fog on Feb. 18, 1936, with a crew of 21 and 50,000 pounds of fresh fish in her hold, bound for Boston.

"The big seas cast her high and dry on the beach, breaking her back," is the way the Ingomar's end was described in "Fast & Able: Life Stories of Great Gloucester Fishing Schooners," a 1973 book by Gordon W. Thomas.

The crew members, including Capt. John Atwood, all survived. The wreck was scavenged by souvenir hunters, according to Thomas.

Drauszewski said he had seen a larger portion of the wreck in October.

"It's shown itself over the years," Drauszewski said. "Whenever there's sand transport or erosion, it gets covered or uncovered."

Drauszewski said the wreck has been positively identified and located on the global positioning system.

The island's shifting sand sporadically buries or exposes pieces of the Ingomar's carcass, which can only be seen near low tide. There have been dozens of shipwrecks off Plum Island over the past four centuries.

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