September 25, 1847

Off Gallops Island

Schooner Nun carrying lime.

"On September 25, 1847, the schooner Nun from Thomaston, Maine, went ashore on Gallop's Island with a load of lime. The material ignited and the vessel burned to the waterline.

The greatest danger to craft carrying lime was a leaking hull, for water, air, and lime had to be kept apart or fire would result. Platforms were constructed in the hold to keep lime casks above any bilge water. A smoldering fire in a limer was fairly common.

All portholes, hatches, and the cabin were painstakingly sealed to smother any uncontrollable combustion; the crew therefore had to live on the bare decks. If the fire were not extinguished, the vessel's hull would start to blister as temperature in the cargo hold rose. Scuttling in shallow water was the only way of ending such an ordeal, and complete submersion would sometimes save the vessel."

Robert F. Sullivan, Shipwrecks and Nautical Lore of Boston Harbor