By: Christiana Mosca
In the wake of recent brutal winter storms that have swept across the United States, bringing bitter cold and perilous conditions, the state of Maine witnessed an extraordinary event. Acadia National Park, already battered by record-breaking storm surges and severe flooding, revealed a rare glimpse of history as the 112-year-old shipwreck, Tay, resurfaced on Mount Desert Island’s Sand Beach.
The Tragic Tale of the Tay
The two-masted schooner Tay met its unfortunate fate in July 1911 when it ran aground on Mount Desert Island during a storm. Captain I.W. Scott of Saint John, New Brunswick, attempted to navigate the vessel to harbor, but a leak caused by the storm proved insurmountable. The ship’s main sheet parted, the main boom was lost, and despite Captain Scott’s efforts, the Tay struck hard and began to disintegrate rapidly.
Following the wreck, the ship’s cook, J.B. Whelpley, tragically lost his life. The Bar Harbor Record documented the incident, recounting the desperate moments leading to the ship’s demise. The Tay’s crew, including the captain and his son, managed to reach shore, seeking refuge in the summer home of the local Satterlee family. Despite the loss, the salvaged lumber from the wreck was used by the family to build a boat house in honor of the shipwreck.
A Rare Glimpse into the Past
Visitors, including Bar Harbor local Molly Moon, were able to witness the exposed wreckage. Moon, with familial ties to the area dating back generations, described the experience as a rare opportunity to connect with history buried beneath the sands for over a century.
With subsequent bad weather over the weekend, the sea seems to have reclaimed some of the wreckage, underscoring the transient nature of such historical revelations. Acadia National Park, although experiencing “significant damage” from the January 10 storm, remains open, allowing visitors to witness the shipwreck’s appearance.
The unexpected emergence of the Tay’s shipwreck at Acadia National Park serves as a poignant reminder of the power of nature to uncover and reclaim pieces of our past. As visitors explore the exposed remnants, they not only witness a tangible link to history but also reflect on the resilience of coastal communities facing the unpredictable forces of the sea. The tale of the Tay continues to resonate, weaving its narrative into the fabric of Acadia National Park’s rich history.