Could a ship drift at sea for 38 years without a crew?
Abandoned by her captain and crew after being damaged in a storm, the Baychimo drifted off when the ice flows broke apart. Many claim to have spotted her over almost 40-years. During that time, she was boarded and found to be deserted. For decades sailor and Eskimos claimed to have sighted her. Is it possible? It's interesting to wonder about how this could happen. The odds are certainly against it. Every sailor knows that the Baychimo's engines and bilge pumps would fail, waves would swamp her and she'd sink within weeks, months at the most. Watch this video and decide for yourself.
As for me, I believe the Baychimo was damaged beyond repair and left frozen in the ice by her captain and crew. I believe she broke free from the ice and drifted for months, perhaps even a year or two before she was frozen in the ice again. When the ice melted for a second time, she drifted for a while longer. Eventually, she sank but the tale of the Baychimo drifting at sea with no crew became a sea story (an urban legend). The story was passed from sailor to sailor and ship to ship over the years. As a result of the stories being told over and over, the Baychimo became nautical mystery, a legend among sailors and ship's passengers. As the years went by, whenever a darkened ship was sighted out on the open sea and it couldn't be identified, those on watch who had sighted it called it the Baychimo with a wink and a nod. As years went by and the stories continued to be passed around, more and more sailors were in on the joke. Gradually the story was passed over into popular culture where today it's exploited as a nautical mystery.
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Malcolm Torres is the author of original sea stories and nautical novels.