The mystery of the schooner Marlborough: ship found 24 years after disappearance

When, in October 1913, the assistant captain and several members of his crew boarded the schooner Marlborough in one of the bays of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago, they were shocked by a terrible sight: the bodies of the ship’s passengers and crew were scattered all over the deck, dried up like mummies. The masts of the “Marlborough” were absolutely intact, but the sails were hanging in shreds, torn by the merciless elements of wind and sea water. The whole schooner was covered with mold.

The story of this mysterious vessel began in early January 1890, when the three-masted sailing vessel left the New Zealand port of Littleton bound for Scotland, her home port of Glasgow. On board were many passengers, a full crew of experienced sailors, and a variety of cargo. Captain Heard, a seasoned sailor, was in command. However, for some unknown reason, the schooner Marlborough did not arrive in Glasgow.

During an official inquiry in April 1891, it was learned that a vessel sailing in the vicinity of the Strait of Magellan had sighted the schooner Marlborough shortly after it left the New Zealand port. From the account of the captain who saw the missing vessel, the Marlborough was by all accounts in good condition and did not transmit any signals for help or requests for any information.

The members of the commission of inquiry had one question that remained unanswered: why did the Marlborough choose to sail around South America rather than past Africa? This question still remains open and is one of the key mysteries of this maritime tragedy.

There were no reports of the missing ship until that October day in 1913 when it was discovered in a bay off the southern coast of Argentina. The Marlborough had become rotten and porous like a sponge from rot and mold. Sailors who boarded it realized that the ship could not have drifted in the bay for a full 24 years. The fierce storms for which Tierra del Fuego is famous would have long ago blown the schooner to pieces.

However, what happened to the ship’s passengers and crew? Did the doldrums deprive the ship of wind and make it drift aimlessly until all drinking water was exhausted? Or perhaps food poisoning or some epidemic had struck all life on the schooner overnight?

The story of the Marlborough remains a mystery to this day, and many theories and assumptions have been made in an attempt to solve this maritime mystery. Some scientists believe that the ship may have collided with an unknown force of nature or an experimental weapon that caused the deaths of everyone on board. Others speculate that there was a mass illness or poisoning on the ship that caused the deaths of the passengers and crew.

The story of the schooner Marlborough remains one of the most mysterious and frightening maritime tragedies. Its disappearance and sudden reappearance 24 years later remain unsolved puzzles for researchers and maritime mystery buffs.

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