Scilly Gigs to the Rescue

There’s a force 9 pulverising the Scilly Isles on 27th December 1871.

You’re half asleep on Bryher and about to dream when DRNNGGGG, the siren goes.

The steamship SS Delaware, en route to Calcutta, has been wrecked on rocks off the island of Samson. 

Most of the 50 on board are dead, but not all.

You rouse your six-man crew and the coxswain, but the waves at Great Par are too much even for your gig boat, the Albion, a vessel built to withstand the angriest swell of the Atlantic.

So you drag your 32 ft gig, over the land to Rushy Bay where you launch her and row through the seas of hell to Samson. 

You heave her out of the water and drag the gig across another narrow neck of land before re-launching her into the full face of the storm to make for White Island.  

Death is knocking on the hull but you struggle on through waves and wind, over rocks and wrecks, to reach the last two survivors.  

They look you in the eye like lambs to the slaughter assuming you’ll live up to your ‘Wreckers’ reputation and kill them cold.

But instead you smile, then offer them dry clothes, hot tea and warm blankets.

Somehow, shattered, you make it back to Bryher with the survivors and end up sharing stories, shanties and rum over the open fire.