Rapid

GPS: S 22° 44.366

         E 113° 41.559'

Location: Jane Bay, Ningaloo

Site depth: 4 metre

Divable conditions: <1.0m swell

Visibilty: 10 metres

Vessel: Barque

Construction: Wood

Tons: 366 tons

Vessel length: 31 metres

Wreck event: Wrecked on reef 1811

In 1978 a group of spearfisherman, including Frank and Barry Paxman, discovered an unknown wreck site that was littered with 18,540 Spanish silver coins. The site was later identified as the Boston owned America to China trader named the Rapid, skippered by Captain Henry Dorr. Intially carrying 280,000 American dollars when wrecked, the crew burnt the ship to the water line and sailed to Java in a 16 foot boat. Eventually they returned to the isolated site with a larger ship and recovered as much of the the coins and cargo as they could leaving almost 20,000 coins on the site before returning to America.

The site sits between two coral reefs in 5 metres of water only about a mile out from the Ningaloo homestead. Still left on the site after many excavations by the museum lay two anchors, large piles of ballast stones and sections of hull partially buried in the seafloor. When the site was visited in 2015 it was covered over by shade cloth and sand bags by the museum to stabilise the site, it had however been uncovered either by interference or ocean movement and has since been re-covered again. In its covered state the anchors nearby are still interesting and worth a short visit or snorkel, if the site is found uncovered it can be reported to the Maritime Museum to help keep the site remaining for many more years.

note: as of 2019 (site model below) the site remains well covered to be preserved for decades to come with a dense layer of marine growth stabilising the site.