A SIXTEEN-YEAR-OLD French girl found the wreck of a pirate ship which sunk in Denia waters some two centuries ago as she snorkelled off les Marines.
Orianne Marrel was on holiday with her family in Denia when she and her brother Virgil decided to spend the day snorkelling off a boat in the les Marines bay.
Once the boat was moored – some 350 metres from the shore – Orianne and her brother jumped in to the water.
It wasn’t long before Orianne discovered what she described as a “huge wooden skeleton”.
Beneath the sand of the seabed were the ribs of what looked like the hull of a ship. Orianne and her brother were amazed and excitedly took photos and videos.
Their father was equally amazed and immediately informed the Municipal Archaeologist Josep Gisbert.
The family were returning to France the next day so Orianne’s father sent Gisbert 32 photos and eight videos by email.
Investigations took place and the wreck was presented to Denia’s Councillor of Culture Rafa Carrio this week. Gisbert explained that although the wreck was discovered at the end of July, it was not presented sooner to prevent high summer season tourists diving off it in search of ancient treasure.
Presenting the wreck, Gisbert confirmed the sunken ship was the ‘Zefarain’ of ‘Zephir’, a French pirate ship registered in 1810 in the port of Cherbourg.
The ship and its crew ended their days in Denia waters in The Peninsular War in 1813 after being cannonballed by an English frigate.
The shipwreck will now be documented some 204 years later and will include Orianne’s name as its discoverer in its official title.
Orianne’s father told Gisbert: “We are very proud that the name of our family appears amongst the archaeological history of Denia.”