First stone frigate
Last updated: March 13, 2018 at 16:54 pm
HMS Diamond Rock – In 1804, the steep basalt island of Diamond Rock off the southern coast of Martinique was designated a sloop-of-war by Commodore Sir Samuel Hood. Its purpose was to watch for and harass French warships sailing for Fort-de-France. The 175-m (574 ft) high island harboured a British garrison and several cannons during the Napoleonic Wars. Perched at the very top, the guns were able to fire far out to sea where strong currents often prevented French vessels from approaching the harbour in Fort-de-France. The island was retaken by the French after 17 months and many unsuccessful attempts. Today, the uninhabited island is a wildlife refuge for several bird species as well as the endemic Couress grass snake. It is also a highly popular dive site where divers swim through a 30-m (100 ft) long volcanic tunnel running across the island at a depth of 45 feet (14m). A stone frigate is a nickname for a naval establishment on land.