Shallows of Os Meixidos

The ships’ graveyard

One of the most dangerous points of all of the Costa da Morte is between the estuaries of Corcubión and Muros. The shallows of Os Meixidoswhich, along with its brethren Los Brullos and A Ximiela, spread out like a minefield about 4 miles from the nearest coast. If under normal viewing conditions they are difficult to locate, in bad weather they are a nightmare for any sailor who ventures into this area.

Their danger has caused the loss of many ships and what is worse, countless lives have been lost among sailors and ships’ passengers who had the misfortune to venture into these dangerous waters. The sad record in loss of life is held by the Spanish passenger steamer Larache with the loss of 85 lives, among the 154 people it was carrying when it sank in the shallow of A Ximiela on 23rd June 1908.

However, the most important ship among all the shipwrecks in this area is the armoured cruiser of the Spanish Armada, Cardenal Cisneros, which sunk after hitting the shallow of the Ximiela in 1905. Today it lies about 50 metres deep.

A British ship called Skyro, loaded with a treasure trove of silver bullion, was also lost on these rocks in 1891. The value of the load meant that a risky salvage operation was carried out, led by the Spanish diver Angel Erostarbe. This feat cost him much of his health although this was in exchange for a substantial reward. At more than 50 m deep it was a record at the time and went down in history as one of the most successful salvages. The entire treasure was never recovered, at least officially.