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Two islands in Bantry Bay: Roancarrigmore (with the lighthouse) and Roancarrigbeg (with the wreck). Sea mist rising on a very warm April day.
This is the true story of the 27 year old Spanish fishing vessel Nuestra Senora de Gardotza, the wreck that now deteriorates year by year on this rock. Having become stranded on this rock in heavy seas on 30th January 1990, the wreck was nothing more than an eyesore for 10 years, until it became famous 10 years later in December 2000. Another Spanish fishing vessel called the Zorro Zaurre, got into difficulties after the vessel sprang a leak with 13 crew on board, 140 miles south of Mizen Head on November 30th. All the crew were airlifted by the RAF to Cornwall. The crew described the ship as being swamped with water and said they believed it was within an hour of sinking. The vessel was abandoned to sink. It didn’t, at least not immediately. Over a week later, on December 8th the Irish naval ship L.E. Orla was asked to follow up a report that a slight diesel slick and fish boxes had been seen in Bantry Bay just east of Castletownbere. A Naval Service diving team identified the sunken wreck, which which had ended up underwater, a mere 400 metres from the Nuestra Senora de Gardotza. Imagine the shock when it transpired the two were sister ships, same owner, same manufacturer, same hometown in Spain a thousand miles away. The Zorro Zaurre had travelled 160 unguided and unplanned miles, barely floating and in her death throes, to lie forever in a foreign land immediately beside her sister the Nuestra Senora de Gardotza. Strange, but true.