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The Abandoned Boat on Bouvet Island - A Mystery No More

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  • The Abandoned Boat on Bouvet Island - A Mystery No More

    The 1964 joint South African / Royal Navy expedition to Bouvet Island arrived to fearsome weather, yet still managed to drop a survey team led by Lieutenant Commander Allan Crawford from the antarctic ice vessel HMS Protector onto Nyrøysa by helicopter. It was during this excursion they would find something rather anomalous indeed.

    As they picked through the rocky landscape the team came across a shallow lagoon in the center of which sat a half sunken abandoned boat described as a “whaler or ship’s lifeboat,” yet there was no sign of any crew other than some scattered equipment on shore, and no one had any idea of where it could have possibly come from or how it had ended up there.

    There were no markings on the vessel, nothing to even indicate what nationality it was, and a search of the surrounding terrain showed no trace of anyone having been stranded or of any fire or camp. Oddly, there was found to be a copper flotation device that had been unfurled and made flat for reasons unknown.

    The boat was obviously from a larger vessel, having no motor, nor mast or sails, and only a single pair of oars, but there was no sign of any larger ship either, and furthermore this was over a thousand miles from any known trade route. It was just this mysterious boat sitting out there in the middle of nowhere in the most inhospitable place on Earth.

    Abandoned Boat at Bouvet Island - HMS Protector.

    A party of ten scientists and sailors allegedly led by the fleet captain's son from the scientific reconnaissance vessel “Slava-9” part of the Soviet Antarctic Whaling Fleet, landed by boat on Bouvet Island close to cape Circumcision 27 November 1958.

    They manhandled the boat into the lagoon where they reasoned it would be sheltered from high seas, they couldn’t leave because of worsened weather, and when the storm finally subsided were evacuated by Mi-1Mi helicopter from the Slava-9 piloted by Averyan Rzhevskiy on 29 November, abandoning their boat in situ.
    If the storm had subsided they should have got the boat back in the water and gone back to the mother ship themselves. Ed.

    Mike Dash.