Fly on the Wall tries to be many things for many people. In addition to posting real news so weird it seems fake and fake news so obvious it seems real, we also tell the occasional joke, trend spot cool things, and highlight bits of wonderful Memphisness that might otherwise fall between the cracks. Once in a while our bloggers like to spotlight the magnificent obsessions that drive our fellow Memphians to do the kinds of unusual things things that make our shining city on a bluff just a little more magnificent. And, of course, just a little more obsessed. This is one of those stories.
Meet Peter Ceren, author of historical fiction with fantastical twists. Ceren is currently raising funds in order to document an attempt by scholars and divers to find and explore the San Marcos, an ill-fated Spanish Galleon that sank off the coast of Ireland in 1588.
Ceren has been collecting information about the San Marcos since he heard his first folk stories about the ship while visiting Ireland 47 years ago. The San Marcos also featured prominently Ceren's novel Waking Remembering and he hopes the followup to that first book will be a work of non-fiction about academics, divers, and adventures on and under the sea.
Here's a video explaining the whole thing.
In the 16th-Century, anybody not betting on the Spanish Armada and its battle-hardened soldiers over Britain’s rag tag military and ratty, run down fortifications would have probably been accused of throwing away good money. The Spanish were an empire flush with New World gold, and able to claim God’s will as long as they at least pretended that the Armada was sailing north to win England back for Catholicism. But if the British weren't at the height of their powers, England's best sailors had at least learned a thing or two about how to fight the Spanish like pirates. Using those skills they managed win a major victory and spook Spain’s superior ships off mission and into an advancing storm off the coast of Ireland, where many troops were lost.
Previous searches for the San Marcos, a vessel with 60 bronze cannons, and 500 passengers, including royals, have proven futile.
Ceren sees the hand of fate in action. John Treacy a PhD. candidate in the final stages of his doctorate in Irish naval history isn’t so keen on the whole fate thing. But lately the two men, attracted to the San Marcos for different reasons, have been sharing information regarding the lost ship. Treacy is bringing 60 divers together for a search called Project San Marcos 2014. This is the expedition Ceren hopes to document.
Exactly seven years ago this week, I wrote a column decrying a proposal by city engineers to turn the Overton Park Greensward into an 18-foot-deep "detention basin" designed to stop flooding in Midtown. The engineers claimed we'd hardly notice the football-field-sized bowl. "Except," I wrote then, "when it rains hard, at which time, users of Overton Park would probably notice a large, 18-foot-deep lake in the Greensward. Or afterward, a large, muddy, trash-filled depression."