View Full Version : Archived: Wreck of the MV Johanna, Hartland Point, Devon, July 2009

03-08-2009, 09:16 PM
Visited with BK. Not a UE as such but a bit of history!
Hope you enjoy.
This wreck was on my 'To Do' List whilst I was down in Devon:thumb
I last visited this site, some 5, years ago and stood on the top of the 150 foot, cliff face, and saw the Johanna, down on the rocks. I had to get down there somehow?

Fast forward to July 2009, The only way down was via the road that leads down to Hartland Lighthouse, then over the rocks to the ship.

But fate was to be my enemy again:mad: the road was closed off and heavily gated due to regular rock slides. Not even Trinity House use the road anymore, instead they 'Helo' maintenance crews in these days:w00t

We walked out to the Point and, rather dangerously - scrambled out onto the high rocks above the lighthouse. Do not even think about this if you suffer the slightest twinge of vertigo.

One of the biggest shipwrecks in the region, the Johanna lays on its side just to the west of the Point. The entire stern section of the cargo ship is just underneath the cliffs and you can gaze down at the massive superstructure and wonder at the power of the waves that hurled this mighty thing to its destruction.

A quarter of a mile along the shore you will see the bow section, with a single mast pointing like a forlorn and accusative finger at the sea that did for it.

The Johanna foundered here on 31st December 1982 within hailing distance of the lighthouse. As a New Year treat her crew got a helicopter ride on a chopper from Chivenor. The three officers were later taken off by the Clovelly lifeboat.

She was carrying wheat to Barry in South Wales when she came to grief.
Within days of her grounding, wreckers had stripped her bare, how they managed this is one of those tales that only people from these parts could do, yet alone tell you how:confused:

Hartland Point was, for centuries, known as "The Sailors' Grave". The first documented wreck around here occurred in 1321 and since then the razor rocks, have been piling them high with regular monotony.

Man himself was responsible for a good many of the sinkings: in the First World War this was a favourite hunting ground for German U-boats and between 1914 and 18 no fewer than 268 vessels were sunk by the Wolf Packs in the Bristol Channel - the majority in the vicinity of Hartland Point.

On with the pics:


The MV Johanna, on her grounding, 31 December 1982.


Within days the power of the waves had driven the ship high up onto the rocks, and her bow had broken off!


The 'Johanna' smashed on the rocks, pic taken on my last visit 5 years ago. Compare this with the latest pics, the power of the waves has taken its toll:(


The remains of the stern section. Telephoto lens at its extreme:)


Bow section with the mast acting like an accusing finger pointing out to sea:)


Memorial stone to just one of the ships lost to the U-boats on the top of the cliff.


A calm sea, as night falls over Hartland Point.

Dedicated to all those who go down to the sea in boats:thumb