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Orca Sea

Cornwall’s number one boat trip.

Wildlife watching and coastal safaris in some of the UK’s most stunning waters


Smuggling, Legends and Literature

Tales of smuggling in days gone by...

Discover local legends such as the Cornish Sea monster 'Mawgar,' and visit places that have been bought to life in literature such as Daphne Du Mauriers ' Frenchmans Creek.'

The South coast of Cornwall was much preferred by smugglers to the North Coast, due to the wide choice of secluded coves, landing places, and sheltered bays where kegs could be sunk and then collected later.

Many of the Creeks and inlets that we will visit on your boat trip were ideal landing places for booty - places such as Porthallow, Porthoustock, Coverack, Portloe and Portscatho have a rich smuggling history.

Goods were smuggled onto Cornish shores mainly due to high taxes levied on goods such as tea, brandy, gin, rum and tobacco and the smuggling industry boomed until the end of the 18th Century.

Smugglers or 'free traders', as they were known were generally shown sympathy by all classes of the public and smuggling was not seen as a criminal act. However, from the 1800's the revenue men became more organised using fast cutters to patrol the coastline.

There were generally two teams of men involved in a major smuggling operation, those on the ship and those on the shore.

As well as being caught by revenue cutters at sea, ambush by customs could also happen on shore and if this should happen, the shore team could signal to their ship by lighting a fire (a pile of furze prepared earlier just in case) - this happened so often that it became an offence to light a fire upon the coast!