What Comes Ashore, Stays Ashore

Where I live you can practically call me landlocked. What water there is is hardly worth mentioning in that it is dirty and carries harsh and dangerous currents. This is obviously quite an extreme compared to my writing subjects and interests, but unfortunately, I can do nothing about it. So I drench myself in research…

Terschelling, Photo Courtesy of DivingHeritage.com

In a land much farther away, like so many others, water and what comes from it is their life. No, they do not fish commercially or anything on that order. They merely wait for the northerly winds to bring them their “treasures”. Surprised? I’d say.

It’s called Terschelling, located in the West Frisian Islands of The Netherlands, where Jutters are the professional looters that live there. And what a job! In times past, ships were constantly lost in their treacherous waters providing modern islanders age old artifacts in incredible quantities. But not only do they discover old treasures. Freighters passing by, near or far, lose cargo despite their precautions and the islanders are the first to receive it. From bananas to shoes, the people of Terschelling live the looter’s life.

Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

Years ago, this prospect made a minor but noticeable change to their society. It was said to be 1840 when a barrel of cranberries being shipped from the New World fell into the ocean and floated onto the Dutch island’s shore. The climate was so agreeable to the fruit that it took root. Now it is the only island in the Netherlands to grow cranberries. Though not grown for commercial purposes, the restaurants and bakeries of the island are known for the delicacies they produce with this product. And all because of a “random incident”; but I hardly believe it was merely coincidental.

As only natural, the island has their own dive team and museum. With the growing use of SCUBA diving, salvaging was moved to the ocean itself where the men brought up treasure after treasure. With more than they could do anything with, the team ECUADOR opened the Wreck Museum Terschelling. In it you will find any assortment of artifacts from centuries past, some under glass, others open for close viewing. With a passion for history, as well as treasure, the Terschelling dive team is said to rarely come back empty handed.

And all because of those incredible northerly winds…

The HMS Lutine, Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia

I must add though, what fascinates me most is their proximity to shipwrecks. They’re right at their fingertips and they don’t hesitate to explore and excavate. Some are recent, having wrecked in the 40’s and thereabouts, but one known wreck, the Lutine, went down in 1799 and is still dwelling in their waters today. What more might be out there? What treasures are still waiting to be found? The thought is exhilarating!

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