98km from Asunción and 4km outside the town of Caraguatay is the Paraguayan naval museam at Vapor Cue. It is final resting place for the remains of the Paraguayan fleet abandoned at the end of the War of the Triple Alliance in the late 19th century.

Although Paraguay lies far from the sea the size of it’s rivers are such that there were a number of naval confrontations during the war. On the whole these were between the fleets of Paraguay and Brazil.

The technology avalible to the Brazilians was far superior to that of the Paraguayans. With modern iron clad vessels facing the wooden barques of Paraguay. However as with the rest of the war this was to be no easy onesided affair as their opponents were fighting for the very existence of their homeland.

As with the rest of the war though the Paraguayan forces were slowly worn down by their opponents and by mid 1869 following the loss of Asunción the fleet was like the rest of the army on the retreat heading deeper and deeper into the interior.

When the fleet headed first up the Rio Manduvira and then into the Rio Yhaguy it was pursued by the Brazilian navy seeking both it’s destruction and the recovery of their ship the Anhambay which had been captured by the Paraguayans.

The further up river the Paraguayan fleet was forced the shallower the water became until on the Rio Yhaguy near Vapor Cue it became clear that they could travel no further and the decision was taken to abandon the boats.

They were to be destroyed so that they could not fall into their enemies hands and be used against them. Sinking the boats was not possible as they were stuck fast in the shallow waters and so instead they were set aflame on the river bank.

There the fleet remained slowly rotting away stuck fast in the mud for over 100 years until work began to recover and restore them in 1978.

Investigating the remains it was found that only two still retained enough material to be restored. The Anhambay and the Scottish built Piraveve (formerly The Ranger). These being the only ones being metal. The others being wooden had rotted away leaving behind just engine blocks and anchors.

Over the next few years all that could be recovered was taken to the newly created out door museam at Vapor Cue to be put on permanent display for the public.

As a result of which there is now sitting on open air display in this well kept museam the Anhambay, the Piraveve and all the recoverable remains of the other ships.

There is also a small indoor museam outlining the history of the Paraguayan navy and it’s contribution to the War of the Triple Alliance.

Access to the site is free of charge and Caraguatay is easily reached via the main road from Asunción. From there the road is good the further 4km to Vapor Cue.