The Wreck of the Batavia

Yesterday was an exciting day for us in Geraldton as at our second stop on the HO-HO bus was at the Maritime Museum. Again, like before, other port visits, Geraldton has a world class Maritime Museum. One of the main attractions was a room devoted to the Wreck of the Batavia.

Since it was close to lunch time by the time we arrived and Barbara was fascinated by the “Batavia” room, I decided to head out for lunch at a place recommended by our Memorial guide Trevor; Skeetas

My lunch of Beer, and Lamb Kebbeh, take a gander at the prices on their Menu

The Batavia was a retourshepen (return ship) and was named after its destination port, the modern day Jakarta. She was the Dutch East India Company (VOC) flagship of the time and under the command of Francisco Pelsart, set sail on her maiden voyage on the 28th October 1628

Before dawn on the 4th June 1629 she struck one of the many reefs that are the Abroolhos Islands and never returned. It is a fascinating story the lives of folks, many of whom were women and children, who survived the shipwreck.

But here is the focus of my story displayed in the following image.

This is a cross section representing how sailing/cargo/passenger ships of the day were loaded and is about 12 feet in height. The primary purpose of this journey was to purchase valuable spices from Indonesia and the area. Included in the cargo were chests of silver coins with which to purchase the spices. They were some nasty folks on board the Batavia that took the opportunity brought on by grounding on the reef to become even nastier.

The above ship model was available to purchase in the gift shop of the museum, but we did not have space for it in our luggage.

Sailing ships needed heavy ballast (see the bricks and stones) to stabilize the ship, most of which could be sold at their destination. The dark long object at the bottom of the hull could be an old worn out cannon. Today, cargo planes have skilled “loadmasters” to make sure the cargo is properly stowed, I am sure the deck crew of those sailing would to have had similar skills.

In an EXC presentation here on the ship last evening a fact/theory was presented about the worth of the Dutch East India Company and at today’s dollars the amount was 1.9 TRILLION dollars. Worth more that all of our major companies of today. They were wealthier that some countries of the day, and very powerful.

We are currently sailing along the Kimberly Coast, and seas offshore are littered with ancient shipwrecks. Thanks to uncharted waters and strong wind storms.

I am closing this entry with two “paintings” created by our vessel and a following sea as she sails these waters;

Next: Our Day in Exmouth, Northwest Cape a very special experience

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4 thoughts on “The Wreck of the Batavia

  1. Very interesting. Love museums. And your lunch looked delicious. What a location. Lastly, your “water paintings” are mysterious looking, hiding what lies below. That photo would make a great computer desk- top page with its flowing patterns.
    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Did some reading about the Batavia. That’s quite the sad story of attempted survival by the crew, passengers and soldiers. Love your painting pictures. Expensive looking menu.! You just about need ship wreck treasure finds to feed yourself, smile.

  3. Interesting historical memoir. The ships that were built in that time have always fascinated me. Glad you get to enjoy so many maritime museums. I love the art that you attached. It’s very unusual to see such realistic paintings. Be careful sailing in those wild seas over there!

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