Don’t Believe What you Read in the Papers

You’re shipwrecked on a coral reef, you and the crew jump in the dories and row and row and row for shore for three hours. The Mexican coast guard arrives. You’re saved! No, your troubles have just begun if you are Dr. William Lorenz and the 10 fishermen wrecked off the Mexican coast in 1925. This is part three of the series about the newly released book, Gauntlet in the Gulf. Read Part I here and Part II here.

Let’s paint the scene with the local Yucatan newspaper writer’s story compared to Dr. William Lorenz own words from his diary of his trip.

January 14, 1925

Newspaper said:

“By virtue of the fact that the sunk vessel and the crew are American nationals, the US Counsul of the port of Progreso, Mr. Hernan Vogenitz has taken note of this matter, relating the case to his government and visiting the detained crew frequently to give them food, etc. The municipal authorities, as their resources allow, have also given every sort of attention to the detailed, making sure they are well treated, etc.” (La Revista de Yucatan, 14 January 1925, p.2. article “Suspected of Contraband. What the Shipwrecked Crew Say”)

From a jail in Progreso Dr. Lorenz said:

Jan 13 “We have been held here [in jail] continuously since that time [Jan. 12, 1925 11:30 am] and given no food other than the stinking water we shared with the animals from a cistern. Had I not succeeded by personal funds in the hands of the consul, our condition would have been far worse. –I have been able to purchase a meal for all yesterday, Jan 12–and so far coffee & bread, a cup and a small piece for each man today.” (From Dr. William Lorenz’ diary)

Jan 13, 8 pm “I am suffering from hunger…I cannot communicate with the consul…Hunger and cold is combined–but just as I am writing, my effort at [sic. with] the Hotel is successful. Some food is being brought.–Hot soup–and  fried egg a piece, and a piece of bread. Probably will cost me $10 but it is worth twice that to a hungry man.”
(Note: $10 in 1925 = $172 today)

William Lorenz’ words jump off the page, nearly 100 years later. Check out the full story in the recently published, “Gauntlet in the Gulf: The 1925 Marine Log & Mexican Prison Journal of William F. Lorenz, MD.” The Mexican newspaper transcriptions about his adventure I researched and their translations are included.

Thanks for reading!

¡olé! –Rebecca

PS This is not the real ship, see below…

Fishing Schooner Reproduction Photo: Henk Monster

(Fake ship, well a reproduction, on Fake Flamenco 😉

Rebecca Cuningham

31 thoughts on “Don’t Believe What you Read in the Papers

  1. Arbitrary happens all the time. (I’ve been to Progreso, several times… I don’t think I would like to know the jail…)
    When was the American intervention in Mexico? I remember young MacArthur was in it. The attack on Veracruz? 1925 were also difficult times if I recall. Endless revolution. Not settled yet.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Not so sure you have, in historical terms… If I look at European history, France, England, germany, Spain have been at war with each other for centuries and centuries… In comparative terms, you’ve been… “moderate”. LOL.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Or just realistic? 😉 (Tell you the truth I have lived in so many countries, some of which have suffered from dictatorship, political murders, widespread violence, even genocide… It makes for balanced assessments…)

        Liked by 1 person

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