It was smooth sailing from Portsmouth to Star Island for 25 conferees, including many first-timers, who attended ISHRA’s September conference, “The Undersea History of the Isles of Shoals.” But then, tales of harrowing shipwrecks echoed through Elliott Hall in the Oceanic Hotel.
Conference chair Laurence Bussey got things underway Friday night with an overview lecture and videos. The next morning, Stephen Erickson, co-author of Boon Island: A True Story of Mutiny, Shipwreck and Cannibalism, told of the 1710 wreck of the Nottingham Galley on Boon Island.
A violent thunderstorm struck the Shoals just after lunch, and many rushed to the porch with their cameras to witness the excitement. Later, all were relieved to hear that Erickson’s boat had made it back to Rye safely, despite having been caught in the storm.
Saturday afternoon, Professor Warren Riess told of his suspenseful search for the Angel Gabriel, a merchant ship that sank off Pemaquid Point in Maine in 1635. Later, he showed photographs of recovering nine cannons from the Nottingham Galley wreck.
After lobster dinner, ISHRA’s group joined the Writers in the Round conference for a candlelit chapel service, followed by an ice cream social at the snack bar.
On Sunday, Ray Demers and his son John showed photographs and artifacts from their discovery of the 1744 Royal Navy ship Asterea in the Piscataqua River, and ISHRA President Nathan Hamilton told of archaeological investigations at the Isles of Shoals.
A great time was had by all!