The shifting sands of Porthmeor Beach often completely cover the wreck of the Caroline Parsons – only the top of the boilers can be seen.
In the 1980s, the wreck of the Alba became popular with scuba divers, because the sand had moved and exposed parts of the ship never seen before. You could swim into the bow section and climb the ladder into the forecastle. The engine and boilers were completely uncovered, and brass steam gauges glittered among the wreckage.
One St Ives resident found the ship’s huge bronze propeller while diving the wreck – it had been polished by the sand moving over it and shone like gold. After writing to the Panamanian government, he was given permission to salvage the propeller and put a large deposit on a house in St Ives with the proceeds.