St. Augustine Shrimp Fleet

St. Augustine Shrimp Fleet


  • St. Augustine Shrimp Fleet

Published Date

  • published 1940


[page 12]

Ponce de Leon in 1513, the Fontuna ran northward toward Mayport and the
entrance to the St. Johns River. Although not 200 yards from the beach,
it was surprising to find from four to five fathoms were under the keel
most of the time. Several times it seemed as if the ship were headed for
the beach and disaster, but each time the apparently preoccupied Skipper
would give the helm a few deft touches and put the wheel in the basket

The Fortuna passed the wreck of a shrimp boat that had piled up
on the beach during one of the hard northeasters so prevalent on this
coast. During the blew the boat had been taking water badly, so the
master ordered the crew to abandon ship for a cold half-mile swim to the
nearest craft. The crew got off safely and was rescued by another
trawler of the fleet. The engine of the trawler was salvaged under
tremendous difficulties, but the hull lay bleaching on the sand, a constant
reminder of the fury of the storm and the hazards of the sea.

After a period of about a half-hour, the windlass was again set in
motion and the deckhands stood by to raise the net. Soon it was
alongside. A loop was thrown around its middle, block and tackles were
brought into play, and the dripping not rose above the after-deck. A pull
of the draw rope at the tip released a deluge of creatures of the sea. A
four-foot hammerhead shark flopped among a tub full of flounder, trout,
and whiting, while hideous stingrays and