Wreck of the Sosostris: Version 3

Wreck of the Sosostris: Version 3

This is from Charles Walker Burris’ book, “Panama, a Guide to the Pacific Coast from Panama to San Francisco in Picture and Word, page 129, copyright 1912.  There is no volcano or tidal wave in this version.


“At Ocos, the boat anchors near the buoy to which the endless cable is attached and swings lengthwise to the swells.  Ocos is a small collection of houses sitting on the beach, but is an important port of export.  Much of the coffee shipped from Guatemala passes through this port.

“Here is the most picturesque wreck along the coast.  In 1909 the German ship, “Sosostres,” of Hamburg, on her first voyage, a stranger along a strange coast, arrived at this anchorage.  She was 375 feet long and fifty feet wide, full rigged and with a full complement of officers and crew.

“The night was calm, the moon shone brightly and the waters apparently held no danger.  The ship anchored, and the crew, proceeding to take advantage of so peaceful a coast and so propitious a time, drew the fires for the purpose of cleaning the boilers.”

“Night came and peace yet reigned.  All retired except the watchman, who slept without retiring.  The giant swells soon came into their own, for the continual movement caused the cable to slip its anchor.  The first alarm was given by the ship itself when it began to drift sidewise onto the shore and its keel began to pound on the sandy beach.  Too late the crew sprang to their places.  There was no power on board, nor at sea, nor ashore, to prevent the progress of the ship toward the beach.  Each swell put her further in-shore, untl she now rests upright 200 or 300 feet inland, a complete steamer on an even keel, sails at yars, small boats at davits and all the ship’s furnishings in their proper places–an object lesson to the maritime wayfarer, pointing to the first lesson of success in various walks of life, as well as to liberty–eternal vigilance, which is the price of safety as well as successful progress on land or on sea.

“The result in this case was a loss of a quarter of a million dollars’ worth of ship, the cargo and crew being saved.

“The underwriters paid the loss, and after unsuccessful attempts to float the vessel, sold it as it stood to a citizen of Mexicl Cith for $10,000.00 gold.  He has sit attached, as it stands in the sand, broadside to the sea, with cables to anchors embedded off-shore, arguing that “someday” a tidal wave may come, and if it does it might wash the ship to sea, thereby using the force that caused the vessel to run aground to also set the ship afloat.  It would seem that there are dead game sports, and persons who are willing to take a long shot at the game, located in all parts of the world.”

I can’t reconcile the disparate stories, but I did find what seem to be official salvage reports,  That installment coming soon…

Been Here? Done That? Tell Me About It!