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The Saba Bank

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A picture of the circular posted in marinas in the South of Florida and Bahamas in 1974.

   The 54-foot yacht Saba Bank was on an extended Bahamian cruise. For a major part of it, the course was over the aquamarine waters of the shallow Grand Bahama Bank and the deep Tongue of the Ocean. It was her maiden voyage, and it began from Nassau on March 10, 1974. March weather is usually good. The weather was fair, very nice indeed. She was a large luxury yacht handled by 4 capable crewmen: Cy Zenter (skipper), Elliot Cohen, Raphael Kaplan, and John Tarquinio.

   Yet by April, circulars were posted in Miami’s yacht marina requesting information on the yacht’s whereabouts.

$2,500.00 REWARD FOR INFORMATION LEADING TO THE RECOVERING OF THE VESSEL OR CREW OR LIFEBOATS as well as wreckage therefrom
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Last seen March 10, 1974 at Nassau Yacht Haven, NASSAU. Last heard from approximately March 24 while on an extended shakedown cruise somewhere in the BAHAMA ISLANDS.
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13’ Boston Whaler Dinghy aboard named “Little S.B.” plus 2 rafts.

   Because the Saba Bank disappeared at a time when The Bermuda Triangle was feverishly hot, she has received more attention than other missing yachts, perhaps more than she deserved. She appears in a number of books written at that time, and is always played up in mystery. Although her loss is certainly a mystery, there is little detailed information to go on like, for instance, in the case of the Witchcraft that tempts the logical. In fact, she does not stand out from the basic scenario.

   The circular says it all. Long after she has vanished, notice is posted— long after a vengeful sea has had its chance to hide and disperse any telltale clues. It is hardly surprising nothing is found even in the most coordinated searches. Anything could have happened to her, of course, anything. Often it is weeks after they are late in sending a message (if any was expected to begin with) that a search begins.

     Yet we have to remember context. The excuse above belies mystery in one incident, but can it really explain the lack of debris from all those that have vanished in the same area? After all, anything could have happened, from the fantastic to the mundane. The mystery of The Bermuda Triangle is created by this one bit, this one tangible clue: that it happens to so many others as well, without trace, without SOS, and without reason.

   This basic scenario— simply traveling out into this sea to never be seen again— when put together in a litany is enough to make even the most hardened skeptic wonder. Then add to this another curious fact: that in 40 years or more no one has ever found wreckage, even on the very shallow banks of the Bahamas where most vanished.

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