Maríagalante, Gallega, San Juan, Cardera
1494 and 1495

In 1494 and 1495, hurricanes struck Bahía Isabela, located in what is now the República Dominicana. The storms destroyed at least eight ships belonging to the first European colony in the New World. Gallega, Maríagalante, Cardera, and San Juan were from Columbusís second fleet. Only Niña survived the disasters. No wonder it was Columbusís favorite vessel.

Several expeditions have searched in vain for the lost ships that lie buried under at least three meters of mud, dead coral, and debris. While the thick blanket of sediments is difficult to penetrate, it would preserve organic materials very well.

The Capitana and San Juan

In the mid-1980s, our colleague Dr. Roger Smith searched St. Annís Bay, Jamaica, for Columbusís last two shipsóCapitana and Santiago de Palos. The story of how Columbus was marooned there for a year is a fascinating tale. The team spent several summers surveying the Bay but did not find the lost vessels. Nevertheless, the work did locate a number of later, historically signficant archaeological remains.