The Museo Regional Mario Brozoski displays relics of the English corvette Swift, sunk off the coast of Deseado in 1776.
Nowadays, the large amount of elements contained by this vessel are displayed at the Mario Brozoski Municipal Museum after being discovered by enthusiastic scuba divers in the troubled waters of the ria in 1982. The museum was named after Mario Brozoski, one of the young divers who took part in the search and passed away some time after the finding.
According to various chronicles, the English corvette set sail from Port Egmont on the Malvinas Islands on March 7, 1770 in order to explore the Patagonian coastline. On March 13, it was hit by a strong tempest and Captain George Farmer decided to take shelter in Ria Deseado, where it ran aground twice and then sank 50 meters off shore.
Thanks to one of the 88 survivors of the shipwreck, the very spot where the episode had occurred could be estimated and some uneasy local scuba divers took charge of finding it and recovering many of the elements today displayed at the museum.
This finding has a very important potential of knowledge for disciplines such as bioanthropology, whose analysis can determine social aspects such as diets, diseases or pathologies related with the labor done by the crew of this vessel.
Upon entering the venue, visitors may observe countless objects like bottles, dishes, an hourglass, glasses, ceramic items, wooden boxes, buttons and wools, among other elements, all of them are displayed in boxes made of glass. Information and data about the features of the corvette is displayed in signposts.
That is how we learned that the HMS Swift was in fact a sloop-of-war, equivalent to the “corbeta” in the Spanish nautical classification. HMS stands for His Majesty's Ship, as it was part of the British Royal Navy.
Also touring around the museum, we learned about some of the habits and lifestyle of the Swift crew. It seems that the sailors had to eat and sleep in the same area. The tables were removable and some hammocks known as “coys” would be used to sleep. Then they were rolled up and kept to take advantage of the space.
At the moment of the shipwreck, the Swift had a crew of 91 men. Only 3 of them died in the shipwreck. Years later, some members of the crew appeared before a court-martial when they returned to England.