On September 1, a storm scattered the fleet. The ships regrouped but spread apart again on September 4. The storm damaged six of the ships; however, all except two made it safely to harbor. One of those ships, El Corazón de Jesús y Santa Bárbara, wrecked somewhere off the coast of Texas. The other ship, El Nuevo Constante, sprang leaks and began taking on water. Afterward, the crew concluded that the pounding seas had worked the caulking out of the seams, or possibly had knocked knots from the planking.
Realizing that El Nuevo Constante was sinking, the officers decided to head for the nearest land. The ship struck the bottom on September 5, coming to rest in 10 feet of water and roughly 1,600 feet from shore. The force of the storm worked El Nuevo Constante into the muddy sea bottom.
Fortunately, no one on board died during the hurricane. Two days later, the seas calmed enough for the crew members to go to shore, where they built a temporary camp. Over the next few days, they saved as much cargo as they could from the stranded ship. The captain picked a few men to go by boat to report the wreck to the Spanish authorities. They made the journey to Balize, about 180 miles to the east, at the entrance to the Mississippi River.
Spain's new Governor of Louisiana, Antonio de Ulloa, then sent six ships to help transport the cargo and people from El Nuevo Constante. The last of the ships left the camp in November 1766. It carried some cargo, as well as the captain and a few passengers and crew. Eventually, the goods arrived in Cadiz, Spain. The final value of the recovered cargo was only 11 percent of what it was originally in Veracruz.
The map to the right shows the location of the wrecked ship (marked with an X), the survivor's camp and Balize, from which rescue ships were sent to recover crew and cargo.
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