Image: nick boren (not the Lost Ship)
Intrepid explorer Charley Clusker treks across a desolate landscape, never taking his eyes off the horizon should he loose track of his precious path. Parched and dry from the desert winds and scorching sun, the emergence of a tall ship would ordinarily seem nothing more than a mirage, but Clusker knows that this strange, hazy vision before him is no trick off the mind. Senses in check he heads towards the marooned vessel, with increasing vigor on every step. He has found exactly what he was looking for – the mythical Lost Ship of the Mojave.
Legends say that deep in California’s Salton Sea Basin lies an ancient tall ship filled with pearls and other goodies that would make a pirate’s Christmas. And, although there are a number of theories, no one knows for sure where the ship came from or how it got there.
Image: Weird CA
The first story dates back to the early 1600s when King Phillip of Spain sent a fleet to the western coast of Mexico to dive for pearls, which at the time could fetch a pretty penny. The group didn’t find as many pearls as they thought they would, so when they came across a Native American village that had baskets of the round beauties just lying around they offered lush European garments in exchange for scores of pearls.
When it came to the trade, however, the Spanish duped the Native Americans and swapped the pearls for rags instead. Outraged, the tribe attacked the ship as it tried to set sail, wounding the captain who ordered the two other ships in the fleet to continue looking for pearls in the Gulf of California. Here it’s thought one of the ships struck a reef and was sunk, but before it was completely submerged the crew ferried all the treasures to the one remaining ship. It carried on up the Colorado River and into the Salton Sea where it met its demise.
Storms, freak flooding, earthquakes and a rapidly evaporating sea have all been blamed for the eventual beaching of the ship, which is now said to lie 100 miles inland, buried in what was once the bottom of a lake or sea.