Letters

Whatever happened to the wreck of the Seeadler?

Terry and Mac,
 
Fantastic site you folks have put together. Having read copies of the books "Count Luckner, The Sea Devil" and "The Sea Devil's Fo'c'sle" by Lowell Thomas, I always wondered whatever happened to the wreck of the Seeadler? I have never seen a photo of the wreck and wondered if bits of it might still exist on the beach at Mopilier? or perhaps some parts have made it to museums? Any info you have would be most interesting.
 
Thank you, 
Paul


Dear Paul,

Thank you for your kind comments, the Count has probably attracted more attention from around the world than anything else we have jointly published on AHOY.

I do the writing and research, but none of it would see the light of day if it were not for Terry and his expertise in knocking my rough work into the form that looks out onto the world and anyone who happens to chance upon our site.

I doubt any of the wreck is still around after all these years on the reef where she was blown aground at Mopelia, two sailors from the Australian light cruiser Encounter were reported to have cut off the Seeadler figurehead in 1918, smuggled it on board at the wreck site, then on the ship's return to Sydney, when trying to sneak it ashore, they were caught and it finally wound up at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, our Australian National capital.

see "Figurehead from Wreck of Seeadler removed by Australian Sailors at Mopelia Island in 1917>" and "Seeadler postcards and von Luckner's signature"
 
I have traced it there, its not on display, but their staff sent me a photograph, which I will send in another E-Mail. I will also send a photo of the wreck at the time of her stranding.

The American author, Blaine Pardoe has, earlier this year, publised a new book called "The Cruise of the Sea Eagle," ( Sea Eagle is  the English version of Seeadler ) it is published by The Lyons Press, Guilford, Connecticut, and refutes some of the myths woven by Lowell Thomas, many years ago. I am currently reading and enjoying Blaine's account.

My only complaint is about the poor quality of some of the reproduced photographs in this new account of the Count and his Seeadler.

Nice to hear from you,

Best regards, 
Terry and Mac.


Dear Terry and Mac,
 
Just a short note to thank you for your reply to my inquiry. Thank you also for the photographs you forwarded. They were very interesting as I had seen neither one before. I was inspired to go back to my Lowell Thomas copy of "The Sea Devil" having remembered there are some photos in that volume. One photo showed a view of a sailing ships mast taken at deck level. The mast is broken about halfway up and the caption claims it to be the mast of the Seeadler after the tidal wave. In comparing this photo to the one you emailed, they almost do not appear to be the same wreck. Your photo shows a tremendous mess of rigging, broken masts, and so forth everywhere. The Lowell Thomas photo is simply much too "neat" to be the same ship. But, of course, that is just my opinion. Is does however remind one to be careful of historical facts as more than one author has chosen to stretch the truth. I suppose Lowell Thomas may have decided any broken mast photo could double as the Seeadler wreck.
 
In closing I would like to thank you also for the recomendation of Blaine Pardoe's book. I will obtain a copy, as winter is coming to the Northeastern U.S. A good book is one way to pass the time.
 
All the best; stay in touch
 
Paul


Paul,

It is a pleasure to be of some small assistance.

In fact, I am sure that the wreck of the Seeadler was not caused by any mythical hurricane, and the Count was merely covering his backside, and pledged all his crew to tell this same story.

Most of his company were ashore, including von Luckner, having a picnic, and the anchors did not hold in the coral, and his vessel stranded before those left on board could sail her out of danger, and the result was that the coral reef ripped her to bits.

You will find the true story in Blaine's account, but the Count and his adventures still pose a great deal of interest around this planet of ours.

You should have a look at the von Luckner Society site in Germany, and here is its URL: http://luckner-society.com/

Best Regards,

T & M.


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