On the 10th of June 1987 I drove north in a rental car from Brisbane to Noosa Heads. There was a continuous urban settlement between the highway and the coast pretty much all the way, but when I got the ferry across the river at Noosa Heads I had left civilisation behind. One of the keepers from Double Island Point met me and drove me along the long beach to the lighthouse, about fifty kilometres.
And here it is, the Cherry Venture, emerging out of the sand like a Marie Celeste with Double Island Point lighthouse in the distance.
I’m not sure whether this was on the way to the lighthouse or whether we came back later. It’s a long slow process setting up for exposures on large format film. The initial exposure here was probably a minute or two, but each time I measured the exposure halfway through it had doubled. The exposure ended up at 20 minutes and it was pretty dark by then. I started wondering whether a supplementary light source would work and I suddenly realised I had a lighting kit with me, otherwise known as Landrover headlights. So I shut my exposure down, got the keeper to point the Landrover at the Cherry Venture and measured the light. Then I added a supplementary exposure with the headlights and that is what you see here.
The Cherry Venture ended up on the beach in 1973. It was sailing from Brisbane to Auckland when it was driven up on the beach by a combination of huge storms with forty foot waves, and because it had no cargo. You can read the story of this on an ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) page here.
Someone bought the salvage rights soon after it ran aground. First they tried to refloat it but did not succeed. Then there were repeated attempts to strip the ship of all its metal. That didn’t work out so well though and they abandoned the salvage attempt. A keeper told me there was at least one occasion when a truck laden with metal sank down in the sands and was claimed by the tide.
I took this exposure the next day when a lighthouse keeper took me back along the beach. This is more from the rear of the boat and it must be close to the middle of the day.
I could give you the GPS coordinates to go and search for the wreck but it wouldn’t do you much good; it’s not there any more. It had rusted away over the years and the authorities determined it was unsafe to climb on but they couldn’t keep people off it so it was removed from the beach in 2007.