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stepping stones of maritime history


L’Herminie, launched in 1824 but not completed until four years later, is a first-class, 91.4-meter-long, 60-gun French frigate. She was only one of eight frigates designed by Martin Boucher in 1823 and designated as a La Surveillante-class warship. This ship was one of the last frigates built before the shift to auxiliary steam power in French warships. In 1837, L’Herminie was ordered to Mexico to participate in the blockade of Vera Cruz and other ports during the Mexican Revolution. The ship arrived at Havana in August of that year, ready to serve. However, 130 crew members caught yellow fever, recalling the ship and her crew to France. Under the command of Commodore Bazoche, L’Herminie left Havana on December 3, 1837 towards France. During her voyage, the ship encountered rough weather, causing them to seek shelter on the island of Bermuda. As they tried to reach the island, the ship inadvertently wandered inside of the dangerous stretch of Bermuda’s northwestern-facing barrier reef. In early 1838, L’Hermine grounded on a reef in this area. All crew were saved along with many of the stores of goods onboard. Many of these goods and parts of the ship were later put up for sale, including mast hoops, copper hinges, and tables.

Remnants of what was on board the L’Herminie lay scattered across the seafloor. Source:


Length299.9 feet (91.4 m)


Bermuda’s most impressive warship wreck, L’Herminie, rests today in 1 to 10 meters of water on a sand seabed surrounded by a reef and corals. Though most of the wooden hull is now gone, the ship itself is relatively clean of marine growth, and many of the ship features can still be seen. Forty cannons, two massive anchors, timbers, cannon balls, and other small artifacts can be seen on the wreck site.


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