By Paul Fattig
February 25, 2008
GOLD BEACH It was the luminescent glow that caught Loretta LeGuee’s attention.
"The sun was shining through it it kind of looked like a huge egg," said the Gold Beach resident who has been combing the local beach each morning for years.
The oval-shaped amber object resting on the storm-tossed log early that December morning was no egg.
Experts believe it’s a chunk of beeswax from a Spanish trading vessel that sank off the coast of what is now Oregon more than 300 years ago.
"From the picture they sent me, that’s what it looks like to me it’s definitely beeswax," said Scott Williams of Olympia, Wash., assistant state archaeologist for Washington.
Williams would know: He’s the leader of the "Beeswax Wreck Project," an effort by a nonprofit group of volunteers whose mission it is to solve the mystery of why blocks of beeswax have been popping up along the Oregon Coast for centuries.
They suspect the beeswax is either from the Santo Christo de Burgos, which sank in 1693, or the San Francisco Xavier, which disappeared in 1705. In both were tons of beeswax from the Philippines bound for Mexico via the Manilla-Acapulco trade route, Williams explained. There is historic evidence one of the ships wrecked in Nehalem Bay, creating the beeswax bounty, according to the team that hopes to conduct archaeological research at the site.
"Where she (LeGuee) found it would be unusual, being so far south," Williams said, noting the ocean currents off Oregon flow north, not south. "But we know the Indians were trading it prehistorically up and down the coast."
Jaspers and La Tapatia planned for the Chips clan……[;)]
There have been so many newly discovered shipwrecks this winter. We are heading to the coast next month when we make the family trek to Ashland for Shakespeare.
I listened to an interview on NPR this afternoon about the Oregon Coast finds and it was fascinating – check out Brad_Olson’s link to it – it covers the finds – from the shipwrecks to the iron towers and my personal favorite – the ghost forests.
Sounds like you and the family have been keeping busy, while the world around you "slides" by. Is Sam ready for spring and Baseball?? This will be the first year my son has shown interest in playing on a team, I can’t wait!!!
At least Sam is older, my son dragged me (kicking and screaming, me not him) to see the Hannah Montana movie. [:(][:(][:(][:(][:(]
Be glad you live in Portland with its fine choices of eateries. Port Angeles on the other hand………
What kind of finds?
Yesterday I read a CNN.com story about some of the interesting finds along parts of the Oregon coast that’ve been affected by the storms. Have you been able to see any of them in person?
Just a brief update on the family. Our winter has not featured much travel as landslides and ice storms and/or threats of such events have closed roads north and south, east and west of Portland on the weekends we have wished to travel. Trudy has been working hard at a new job and both she and I have been saving money so Sam can take a 10 day east coast trip at the end of May. Sam and i have been watching the Blazers and were fortunate enough to see the game with LeBron James and the Cleveland cavaiers where Mr. James scored the last 10 points and led his team to a 1 point win. Sam and I saw "No Country for Old Men" and "There Will Be Blood" and I was pleased to note that Sam saw the cinematic stylistic differences between the movies and was able to articulate the themes of the two works rather eloquently. I remember these great moments when Sam acts less than ideally as almost any 14 year old boy will do at times.
The Chips family winter
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