Pat Shingleton: "Lewis and Clark and Wrecked Ships..."
When Meriwether Lewis and William Clark began their expedition of discovery to the Pacific Ocean, President Jefferson made sure they were well supplied. Along with the best Kentucky rifles, powder horns and lead shot, their supplies included portable soup, fish hooks, mosquito netting, flints, the finest instruments of navigation, a microscope, and cloth for trading. Lewis and Clark’s journals noted a variety of flora and fauna unknown to science at that time. They also transported three thermometers into a portion of America where meteorological observations had never been reported. Their notations included the number of rainy, cloudy and clear days along with lightning, snow, hail, ice, seasonal prevailing winds and plants and animals reactions to the elements. From the land to the sea and weather that created unlucky situations for four ships in October, 1829. Sailing from Australia, the schooner “Mermaid,” encountered a squall that slammed the ship onto a reef. The crew of 22 clung to a rock for three days until their rescue by the “Swiftsure.” Five days later, the “Swiftsure” was bashed upon the rocks, destroying the ship as the crews of both vessels made it ashore. After eight hours, the “Governor Ready” saw their signals and rescued everyone. Three hours later the crews of all three boats abandoned ship as fire erupted. Outside the shipping lanes, crammed lifeboats were found by “The Comet,” a cutter that continued the sequence of rescues. A nasty storm wrecked this boat but “The Jupiter” came to the rescue with not one life lost.