Sailfeed
January 20th

Lost WWII wreck- found in Thailand?

Posted by // January 20, 2014 // COMMENT (7 Comments)

Cruising,

Sailing to Koh Phayam

We like to think we’re pretty observant about the world around us. In this region vigilance is essential, thanks to the many fish traps and unattended fish nets in local waters. A thin stake with a ragged flag, a piece of Styrofoam that is the body double of floating garbage may be the only sign of prop-snagging lines in our path. There were masses of these as we worked our way coastwise to the north from Phuket, so Jamie and I spent a lot of time glued to the scenery around us. With glorious sailing weather (finally, after so many miles of motoring or motorsailing) it was hardly a burden.

Fish trap marker

 

A few boats headed north at the same time, as eager as we were for a break from the crowds in Phuket. Traveling in company means the chance for a few shots of boats under sail.

Sailing to Koh Phayam

You know the saying- if there’s another boat on the horizon, you’re racing? Jamie was in his element as we cruised raced north with Kittani.

Sailing to Koh Phayam
Sailing to Koh Phayam
The province north of Phuket is the least populated in Thailand. Only a handful of communities broke the wall of green and occasional beaches along the way. That, and approximately 100,000 fish traps.
Fisherman

At one point, we passed a shipyard, with what appeared to be bamboo frames forming a grid for scaffolding to work on boats careened on the sand.

rustic shipyard
To the north end was a rusted out cruise ship- I snapped a few shots as we went by.
LST wreck

After arriving in Koh Phayam, we settled in with the sunset. Niall was flipping through pictures from the trip north and got to the few of that rusted old hulk. He called to me, frustration in his voice. “Why didn’t you tell me that we passed a World War II era wreck?” Well…because I didn’t know we had? So much for the powers of observation.

Niall’s interest in WWII started a few years ago, but kicked into high gear while we were in Papua New Guinea in 2012 and had the chance to see and explore a number of wrecks, on land and in the water. It was immediately obvious to him that what Jamie and I took for an an abandoned commercial ship was an LST (landing ships that carried tanks and personnel, landing them on an unimproved shoreline). We even discussed it as we sat in the cockpit, passing by, wondering about the fate of the rusty hulk.
He’s a researcher like his mama, so Niall dug in to try and identify the original name of the ship. We didn’t see anything obvious at first blush, just what appeared to be a Thai name. He found that a number of LSTs had been sold to the Thai navy after the war, and their names carried a theme: Lincoln County, Stark County, Stone County, Dodge County. Zooming in, there appears to be a match with one of the “missing” LSTs, Dodge County.
LST wreck
Two of the sites that Niall uses to find and reference information about the wrecks we’ve seen, PacificWrecks and NavSource, don’t have a current location for the Dodge County. He dug further, and couldn’t find it anywhere- it was just noted as lost. He’s thrilled to have “found” this lost ship and set about providing updated data to the websites… and composing a poem to LST-722, Dodge County.

Commissioned at the close of forty-four
She departed to serve on many a shore
And this she did with great renown
Till the end of the war had come around
She cheated the sea of a grave so deep
Instead lies beached in eternal sleep
With the retention and memories of her captain and crew
Of the old LST, seven twenty-two

I love it when our children teach us a lesson. That this came with a reminder to look deeper: smug as we were, feeling so observant from our floating perch.

—-

If you’re reading this on the Sailfeed website, you’re a reader with a keen sense of observation. Thank you! Thanksn also to the crew of Kittani for sharing their photos of Totem.

This article was syndicated from S/V Totem - a family sailing the world

Comments

7 comments on “Lost WWII wreck- found in Thailand?

  1. Stanley Yokell

    Roald Zvonic, a member of the first crew of LST 722 sent this to me. I was the 722’s first engineering officer. When I left her to return to civilian life, I was both her executive officer and engineering officer, so named by Captain Victor Morris Merchant, who had been promoted from Chief to lieutenant.

    To the best of my knowledge, Roald and I are the only living survivors of the first crew to man the 722. Nial has been in touch with me, and I believe he has a bright future ahead of him. His travels remind me of many of my own, and especially of those of my son Michael D. Yokell, who has sailed his 55-ft Oyster across the Atlantic, in the Mediterranean, and across the Pacific, having transited the Panama Canal. His most recent voyage was from New Guinea to New Zealand, where his boat, Questar is currently.

    I have scuba dived in much of the world’s waters. If you are interested, get a copy of An Old Timer’s Scuba Tales from Amazon.com. You might also be interested in my book, Beneath the Surface that is a compendium of fictional scuba stories.

    Although I am reasonably healthy, and in good spirits, at age 92 (03 next May 9th if I survive that long), I don’t think I will be around many more years. I retired from active work and closed my consulting engineering firm last June 2nd in anticipation of my possible demise from a PAVR surgery to insert a replacement aortic valve. I lucked out and was home from the hospital in a week, and now am capable of and do swim 3/8 of a mile and work out at the gym.

    In the meantime, I was the lead author of Closed Feedwater Heaters for Power Generation: A Working Guide, that McGraw-Hill published last November, and the sole author of 2084 The Secularist Revolution that Outskirts Press published last October. You can find out about my other books on the website. Outskirts Press is in the process of publishing The Murder on the Mall, that was recently edited, and should be on the market in February or March. The idea is to keep doing what I enjoy until my time comes to die.

    The website for my technical books is http://stanyokell.wix.com/heatexchangerbooks

    Friend me on Facebook, or email me.

    Stan Yokell Lt. JG (retired)

  2. Melissa

    It’s seems Niall had both grandmothers to thank for his gift of prose. ….maybe a future poet laureate.

  3. Kathleen Simis

    We are so proud of you, Niall, for your keen eye, and for the wonderful poem! It’s really excellent, and has Morgan over the moon that you get to log that boat as found after all these years! Congratulations! and Behan, nice article!

  4. kirsty

    that’s a wonderful poem! how exciting to be able to provide the information about the ship’s resting place.

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