Wreck Diving

Recreational Wreck Scuba Diving News

  • Oldest shipwreck in Lake Erie ?

    Shipwreck


    By Emily Petsko - Mentafloss


    In the fall of 1829, a ship had departed from Put-in-Bay, Ohio, but failed to reach its final destination.

    Now, researchers believe they have finally found its remains, which would make it the oldest shipwreck ever recorded in Lake Erie, if their theory is confirmed.

    Remote sensors detected the wreckage three years ago, and the National Museum of the Great Lakes in Toledo, Ohio, has been working to identify the ship ever since then, according to The Blade newspaper in Toledo.

    Experts believe they have narrowed down their search from 200 possible shipwrecks to three. The museum is now raising money via Indiegogo to fund an underwater survey and partial excavation of the ship.

    Strong evidence suggests that the wreckage belongs to one particular schooner—a sailing vessel with at least two masts—that was built in Cleveland in 1821.

    It was named the Lake Serpent in reference to a carving of a sea serpent on its bowsprit, according to the museum. In the fall of 1829, it left from Put-in-Bay on South Bass Island in Lake Erie, where crews loaded limestone onto the ship.

    It's unknown what happened after that, but we do know that the ship never reached its final destination. Local newspapers reported that the bodies of the captain and other crew members washed ashore in Lorain County, located about 25 miles from Cleveland, the ship’s intended destination.


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    Nature Rated, exploring the connection between us and nature

     

     

  • 136-year-old shipwreck found in Georgian Bay

    The Jane Miller


    By Rob Gowan - Calgary Sun


    The wreck of a steamship that went down in Georgian Bay during a storm 136 years ago has been found, with what could be human remains onboard.

    American shipwreck hunters Jared Daniels, Jerry Eliason and Ken Merryman revealed their summer discovery to coincide with the anniversary of the Jane Miller’s sinking Nov. 25, 1881.

    The 24-metre package and passenger steamer went down with 25 people aboard, including the crew. The wreck was found in Colpoys Bay, an inlet of Georgian Bay leading to Wiarton on the east side of the Bruce Peninsula north of Owen Sound in Georgian Bay.

    The ship mostly is structurally intact with its mast still standing, rising within 23 metres of the surface. The shipwreck hunters also reported spotting what could be remains of bodies.

    Merryman, who’s hunted shipwrecks for more than 40 years, said it was exciting to find the missing vessel. “People call these things time capsules and they absolutely are,” he said from his home in Minnesota.

    “That ship took on 10 to 20 tonnes of cargo, so now the archeologists have a snapshot of 1880s life on the Bruce Peninsula with what kinds of things are there.”


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  • SS Thistlegorm images released by Nottingham University

    New 3D images of one of the world's best known World War Two dive sites have been released to the public.


    From BBC News


    British merchant steam ship SS Thistlegorm was hit by a German bomber in 1941 and lies on the bed of the Red Sea off the coast of Egypt. The Thistlegorm Project, led by the University of Nottingham, could help to preserve its valuable remains. Director Dr Jon Henderson said the shipwreck deserved to be seen by the wider public.

    A website has been launched to enable people to view the images. SS Thistlegorm was carrying trains, aircraft parts, trucks and motorbikes, and heading to Egypt to support the allied war effort when it was hit. Five Royal Navy gunners and four merchant sailors lost their lives.

    The wreck has become one of the most famous dive sites in the world due to the clear water and military equipment still on board.

    Dr Henderson, from the university's School of Archaeology, said: "The thing about underwater sites and the importance of underwater cultural heritage is that the only people who've ever seen it are divers. "However, we are now at a point where we have the technology to reconstruct these sites."


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  • ‘S.S. Clifton' discovered in Lake Huron

    Technical diver riding a dive propulsion vehicle near the bow of the Clifton


    From WZZM13
     

    On September 21st, 1924, the steamship S.S. Clifton left Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, carrying a load of stone to Detroit, Michigan. The freighter was seen passing through the Straits of Mackinac at 10:20 a.m., and was last seen by a tug boat on upper Lake Huron that evening.

    A gale came up, sweeping across the lake. The storm was violent and unrelenting. The S.S. Clifton would founder, taking with it the lives of all 28 sailors on board.

    Three days later, when the S.S. Clifton didn’t arrive in Detroit as scheduled, a thorough search of the Lake Huron coast line – from Oscoda (near Alpena) to Port Huron – had failed to reveal any trace of the missing ship.

    Eventually, wreckage from the S.S. Clifton, began drifting ashore on the Canadian side of Lake Huron, indicating that the whaleback freighter sank.

    Also, the fact that no bodies floated ashore told investigators that the S.S. Clifton sank very quickly and that the sailors had no time to get off the ship, or launch lifeboats.

    The exact cause of her sinking was never determined, and her final resting place at the bottom of Lake Huron has remained a mystery for nearly a century.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Shipwreck from the Russian military discovered in Lake Van

    Shipwreck of a military cargo vessel made by the Russians in 1915 in Lake Van,


    From Daily Sabah


    An underwater research team has discovered the shipwreck of a military cargo vessel made by the Russians in 1915 in Lake Van, located in Turkey's eastern Bitlis province, reports said on Thursday.

    After almost 18 months of research, the team found the 100-year-old Russian vessel, which was used for military freight shipment, and ran aground 23 meters down Lake Van during a storm in 1958.

    The vessel is reportedly 40 meters in length and is still in good condition, despite the fact that it hit rocks before it sank.

    Underwater Cinematographer Tahsin Ceylan, Lake Van Underground Research Association (VANSAD) Chairman Dr. Mustafa Akkuş and six more members of the team have been conducting research off Çanakdüzü coast in Reşadiye district, Bitlis, the Doğan News Agency reported.

    The finding marks the first time a sunken-ship has been discovered in the lake.

    Cinematographer Tahsin Ceylan said that the lake is full of 'mysteries' and the team is working collectively to solve these mysteries.

    "We learned that there are three cargo vessels from the 1900s, which sank around Bitlis region" Ceylan said.

    He continued by adding that they would love to work with a Russian team to find out the rest of the remaining shipwrecks under Lake Van.

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Shipwrecks in Lake Erie, Lake Huron

    On the Grecian wreck in Lake Huron, it's possible to swim through two complete floors beneath the deck, in chilly water some 100 feet below the surface.


    By Zachary Lewis - The Plain Dealer


    Cleveland's museums don't house all the city's treasures. Plenty of other great artifacts lie in Lake Erie, just waiting to be beheld.

    Beneath the surface, in some cases just so, and often not far from Cleveland ports, sit any number of fascinating old shipwrecks, victims of Erie's violent and unpredictable temperament.

    All one needs to interact with them are the right training, equipment and interest. Neither is Lake Erie the only such sanctuary. All the Great Lakes, including those adjacent to Erie, are home to underwater ruins, many of them well over a century old, making of Northern Ohio and the Upper Midwest a kind of playground for the amateur wreck diver.

    Intrigued by this portal to history, I've spent the last few years obtaining the proper certification and gear to scuba-dive in the Great Lakes.

    Now that effort is paying off. In the last two months, I've visited four separate wrecks and come away from each with what I hope are fascinating images and memories.

    Around this time of year in 1864, while the Civil War was still raging, a novice captain on Lake Erie ignored warnings and made the foolhardy choice to press onward out of Cleveland in a storm.

    He ended up paying the ultimate price. Six lives, including his own, were lost that September day, when his ship laden with huge grindstones listed and sank in tumultuous waters roughly a mile off-shore, well within sight of what is today Burke Lakefront Airport.

    The Sultan was my intro to wreck diving. Resting in just 35 feet of water a quick boat ride out of the Flats, it's relatively shallow and easy to visit and navigate.

    All one needs to dive it are basic open-water certification and conditions clear enough to make its features visible. A small buoy marks its location on the surface, and to find it, a diver simply follows a line down to a nearby anchor.


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  • Forgotten wartime shipwrecks

    A diver swims along side a huge shipwreck off the North West coast of Ireland


    From the Mirror


    Littering the sea floor like discarded toys these are the forgotten shipwrecks of the Atlantic Ocean dating back to the First World War .

    The liners were sunk by torpedoes and mines and now lie on the seabed, just off the Irish coast.

    Among the wrecks are merchant vessels, submarines and ocean liners, with HMS Audacious being the oldest ruin. HMS Audacious sank in October 1914 after hitting a German mine.

    All but one passengers survived after Titanic’s sister ship, the White Star liner Olympic, came to the rescue. Also lying on the seabed is HMS Viknor, an armed merchant cruiser which sank without sending a distress signal with all 295 Royal Navy officers on board.

    Remarkably, the wreck was not found until 2006 even though it met its fate on January 13 1915 and now rests under more than 250 feet of water.


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  • 213-year-old shipwreck discovered in Lake Ontario

    213-Year-Old Shipwreck Discovered in Lake Ontario


    From Sputnik News


    A team of three archeologist-enthusiasts from New York State discovered the wreck deep at the bottom of Lake Ontario.

    Adventurers Jim Kennard, Roger Pawlowski and Roland Stevens identified the vessel using high-resolution side-scan sonar in late June. It took several more weeks to confirm that the discovery was the same ship known to have sunk there in 1803.

    The ship, called the Washington, was a single-masted sloop, a rare type of vessel that navigated the Great Lakes in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

    The 36-ton Washington was built by Americans on Lake Erie in 1798 to transport goods and passengers between New York, Pennsylvania and Ontario.

    Some four years later the sloop was sold to Canadian merchants that portaged it to Lake Ontario using oxen.

    A year later, the boat, carrying $20,000 worth of East India goods from Kingston, Ontario, en route to Niagara, Ontario was caught in a severe storm.

    The ship sank, and all five aboard drowned, including three crewmembers and two merchants. Historians said that no signs of the ship were found.

    Contemporary reports claimed that some pieces of the ship washed ashore near Oswego.


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  • 'Muddy bunch of rags' found at the bottom of the North Sea

    Place of the shipwreck


    By Hugo Gye - Mail Online


    A collection of rags found at the bottom of the North Sea has been revealed to contain a luxurious wardrobe which may have belonged to one of Charles I's female courtiers.

    Divers off the coast of the Netherlands found the treasure, which came from a shipwreck, after it was exposed by a storm which washed away silt that had covered it for four centuries.

    When they separated the items, they realised that they had discovered one remarkably well-preserved dress as well as a book linking the find to the Stuart dynasty.

    And now researchers have found a letter which proves that one of the ships carrying the retinue of Queen Henrietta Maria, the wife of Charles I, to Holland in 1642 sank in the same area as the new discovery.

    They have been able to make a tentative suggestion that the gown could have belonged to Jane Ker, Countess of Roxburghe, a controversial Catholic adviser to the queen who accompanied her on the voyage in the early years of the English Civil War.

    Divers from the Dutch island of Texel frequently stumble upon old shipwrecks because the area was used by vessels as a safe harbour while they were ploughing the North Sea, and many got in trouble while entering or leaving the region.

    They first found the Stuart haul in August 2014, shortly after the treasure was uncovered from the silt due to turbulent conditions.


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  • The Mount Gambier teenager finding the south east's lost ships

    Well hidden: scattered bricks and the shape of a hull is all that remains of the Iron Age, which sank near Cape Douglas in 1855. (Supplied: Carl von Stanke)


    By Kate Hill - ABC News


    Diving down into the murky blue waters off Cape Douglas in South Australia's south east one morning last year, Carl von Stanke came across a ghost. 

    Last seen in 1855, the Iron Age was a steel-hulled barque on its maiden voyage from England when the crew ran into trouble in heavy seas near the south-east coastline. The ship's crew managed to get to safety, but the brand new vessel sank below the surface.

    After 160 years at the bottom of the ocean, all that is left is the rough outline of the ship's wooden hull, buried in the silt and the odd brick left over from its ballast. For the 18-year-old shipwreck hunter, witnessing it for the first time was a moment of delight and reward. With a knack for research and with nearly 10 years of diving experience under his belt, it is not the first wreck the Mount Gambier teenager has discovered — nor will it be his last.

    During the last few years, Mr von Stanke has been working with the State Heritage Unit and Adelaide university researchers to rediscover and document the wreck of the Hawthorn, which sank in Bucks Bay in 1949.

    He also believes he has found the 1892 wreck of the Lotus, lying near the coast of Port Macdonnell.

    "That was accidental," he said, with a grin. According to Mr von Stanke, it is not only time and extensive research, but a combination of good weather and simple luck required to stumble across a ship's remains.

    Rattling off names including the Adelaide, Witness, Galatea and the Prince of Wales, Mr von Stanke has a long list of the region's undiscovered shipwrecks firmly imprinted in his mind.

    He smiles when asked if he would like to find those ships, many lost at sea in the 19th century. "I wouldn't mind it," he said. "I just enjoy finding things."
     

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  • Japan's underwater graveyard

    A couple of Type Three Chi-Nu Japanese tanks lie piled on top of each other on the ocean floor, where they have become home to an array of wildlife.


    By Tom Wyke - Daily Mail


    Covered in coral and left to rest on the Pacific ocean floor, these are the stunning remains of Japan's arsenal of military vehicles which were targeted in one of America's most important bombing operations during World War II.

    From tanks to submarines, this military equipment was once part of a key Japanese naval base in Chuuk Lagoon, one of the federated states of Micronesia.

    American Fleet Task Force 58 targeted the naval base on 17 February 1944 during a vital two day mission known as Operation Hailstone.

    The success of the daring raid played a vital part in allowing Allied forces to gain the advantage in the Pacific campaign. 191,000 tons of war shipping now lies one hundred and eighty feet down at the bottom of the ocean, untouched since one of Japan's worst World War II defeats.

    Much of Japan's war machines are now covered in a stunning layer of multi-coloured coral and the home to an array of fish and wildlife. The remains are part of over 40 different World War II wreckage sites at the bottom of the lagoon.

    American scuba instructor Brandi Mueller, 32, was able to photograph the incredible detail of the remaining underwater wrecks at one of the best diving locations in the world, Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia.

    She spent a week diving up to five times a day to capture these incredible shots, revealing the stunning natural beauty left at the site. It is estimated that over 400 aircrafts and 50 Japanese naval ships were destroyed in the deadly operation.

    Over 2,000 Japanese troops lost their lives in the deadly 36 hour US aerial assault.


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  • Shipwreck hunter finds ghost from Great Storm of 1913

    This historical photo of the Hydrus freighter shows it at an unnamed port being loaded with iron ore. The photo is provided by diver and Hydrus enthusiast Jared Danie


    By Jim Schaefer - Detroit Free Press


    The diver descended, slowly, the sun’s rays refracting as he dropped toward the floor of Lake Huron. The shimmering green-blue water turned navy as he swam down 50 feet, then 100. And finally, near 150, the diver saw a dark mass materializing in the murk.

    A broad, flat expanse with two big black rectangles on it came into focus. He knew that expanse was a ship’s deck.

    That those rectangles were cargo hatches. This was exactly what he had come to find, and there he was, swimming right down to it, the first person to see it, 102 years after it vanished. The Hydrus.

    Since the Great Storm of 1913, the 436-foot steamship Hydrus had been lost. It sank, most likely on Nov. 9 of that year, during a storm so ferocious it has been called the “White Hurricane.”

    The sky unleashed a blizzard over the Great Lakes, hitting Lake Huron hardest with wind gusts up to 90 m.p.h. and waves to 35 feet. The Great Storm, even today, is the worst recorded on the lakes. Not even the weather that sank the Edmund Fitzgerald, 40 years ago this week compares to the 1913 disaster.

    There were a dozen major shipwrecks from Nov. 7 through 10, and eight of them were on Lake Huron. More than 250 people perished.

    The Hydrus had been headed south toward the St. Clair River, iron ore in its belly. The ship lost everyone on board, a crew of 22, including five found frozen to death in a lifeboat that washed up in Canada.

    Since that time, every ship believed to have gone down in U.S. waters in Lake Huron was discovered except the Hydrus.


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  • 152-year-old shipwreck discovered in Lake Ontario

    SS Bay State


    By Garret Ellison - mlive


    When it comes to Great Lakes shipwreck hunting, sometimes it's a matter of feast or famine.

    In 2014, New York wreck sleuths Jim Kennard and Roger Pawlowski found four undiscovered shipwrecks in the waters of Lake Ontario.

    This year, the duo found one — a propeller steamer named the Bay State, which foundered in a storm off Fair Haven, N.Y. in 1862.

    Discovery of the ship, launched before the Civil War, was announced on Wednesday, Oct. 21. "We were getting pretty discouraged when something popped up on the depth finder," said Kennard. "About 15 seconds later, the side-scan sonar went over." "Finally, we found something."

    The Bay State is the oldest propeller-driven steamship discovered in Lake Ontario. It sank en route to Ohio with a cargo of general merchandise after leaving Oswego, N.Y. late on Nov. 4, 1862.

    There were no survivors. Kennard, who has been exploring shipwrecks since the 1970s, would only say the wreck is in several hundred feet of water about seve miles north of Fair Haven.

    Vagueness helps guard the wreck from potential looting and inexperienced divers, he said.


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  • 2 sunken canal boats from mid-1800s in Lake Ontario

    Lake Ontario


    By Sarah Moses - Syracuse

    A team of shipwreck enthusiasts who have made several discoveries of sunken schooners, steamers and even an airplane in Lake Ontario have discovered two canal boats on the bottom of the lake.

    "They aren't suppose to be there," said Jim Kennard, a member of the team. "What is a canal boat doing out there ?"

    Kennard said the two canal boats, which may date back to the mid-1800s, could have been used on the Oswego Canal, but were not built to be used on Lake Ontario.

    Kennard, Roger Pawlowski, and Roland Stevens, all from the Rochester area, have announced several of their discoveries over the past few years but they typically wait to make a discovery public until they know exactly what they've found.

    "We like to put a name to these boats first, but we haven't been able to identify them," Kennard said.

    The boats were discovered off of the shores of Oswego. Locating canal boats in Lake Ontario is an unusual event as these craft were not built for transportation on the open lake and therefore Kennard wanted to make sure that these were canal boats.

    Divers and an underwater remote operated vehicle were able to confirm that they were canal boats this summer.


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  • Perfectly preserved 'ghost ship' from 1923

    USS Kailua


    By Mark Prigg - Mail Online

    Divers have uncovered a preserved 'ghost ship' in 2,000 feet of water nearly 20 miles off the coast of Oahu in Hawaii.

    Sitting upright, its solitary mast still standing and the ship's wheel still in place, the hulk of the former cable ship Dickenson, later the USS Kailua, was found on the seabed.

    Experts were stunned to find the ship was surprisingly intact for a vessel that was sunk with a torpedo.

    Researchers from the University of Hawai'i (UH) and NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries today revealed the ship was found by a robotic submersible. 

    It is always a thrill when you are closing in on a large sonar target with the Pisces submersible and you don't know what big piece of history is going to come looming out of the dark, said Terry Kerby, the submersible pilot.

    One of our first views of the USS Kailua was the classic helms wheel on the fantail. 


    Full article





  • Shipwreck of SS Ventnor and its dead finally found

    SS Ventnor


    From Stuff

    It has been 112 years since the ill-fated SS Ventnor left New Zealand shores carrying the bodies of 499 Chinese miners who died here and couldn't afford the passage home.

    The gold miners had been buried in New Zealand then disinterred and sent home so that, according to Chinese culture, their souls could be tended to by their families and they could finally be at peace. Chinese community members had pooled their money to send the remains home but tragically, the men never arrived.

    Today, Maori and Chinese community leaders announced that the ship's wreckage has finally been recovered and efforts are being made to bring closure to the families of those lost at sea.

    The SS Ventnor sank off the Hokianga Heads after striking a reef near the coast of Taranaki in October 1902.

    Officially 13 crewmen died in the shipwreck and local iwi on the coast buried the bones which washed up.

    This is the first time artefacts and footage from the wreck have been shown publicly.

    Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis and MP Jian Yang spoke at the conference as did the chairman of the Ventnor Project Group John Albert and vice president of the New Zealand Underwater Heritage Group Keith Gordon.

    Yang said there was a saying in China that fallen leaves return to their roots. "So it is very important for these people to be returned to China."

    The great great grand-daughter of one of the miners Angela Sew Hoy said it would be "just amazing" to be able to pay the respect to the dead men that they deserved. "For me it's about my

    children's heritage as well and it would be nice to see him make the trip home."

    The ship was only built a year before it sank so it didn't last long, Gordon said. "The wreck is in a state of deterioration and in a few years there won't be much there."

    In 2012, Albert and Gordon studied the wreck using an echo sounder. Last year, the group travelled to the site and deployed a remote operated vehicle onto the wreck. 


    Full story...



  • Michigan's Lake Huron 'Shipwreck Alley'

    Shipwreck alley


    From The Guardian

    The Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary in northern Michigan has received federal approval to expand its size nearly tenfold and boost the preservation of scores of sunken vessels in an area of Lake Huron once known as “Shipwreck Alley”.

    Thunder Bay, the only freshwater national sanctuary, is announcing on Friday that the Obama administration has approved the years-in-the-making effort to grow from about 450 square miles to 4,300 square miles.

    The expansion — which incorporates the waters from off Alcona, Alpena and Presque Isle in the north-eastern Lower Peninsula and to the maritime border with Canada — also doubles the number of estimated shipwrecks to roughly 200.

    The effort to expand the sanctuary, originally created in 2000, started with three failed congressional bids and then the administrative review process through the Commerce Department.

    The department oversees the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which manages the sanctuary along with the state of Michigan.

    “It’s been a long, long effort,” the sanctuary superintendent, Jeff Gray, said.

    “It’s a pretty monumental thing ... In a small way we raise the Great Lakes into this national dialogue.”

    While many spots along the Great Lakes are hazardous,Thunder Bay became known as “Shipwreck Alley” in the 19th century, as it was part of a major shipping channel during an era when the region had few alternatives.


    Full story...



  • Largest shipwreck discovered in Sri Lankan waters

    By Lankinda Nanayakkara - Daily News

     

    The wreck of a steamer discovered off the coast of Batticaloa has been identified by the Galle Maritime Archeology Unit (MAU) to be the largest such shipwreck discovered in Sri Lankan waters.

    Official records indicate that the wreck is that of the steamer Sir John Jackson, which was wrecked on Brennus Shoal in the Navaladi Lagoon off Batticaloa on September 26, 1908, according to Galle MAU's Rukshan Priyandana.

    The unit was initially alerted to the wreck by a local diver named G. Yogaraja, he added. The steamer weighs 4231 tons and had been built in 1905 by the Northumberland Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. It had been registered with the Westminister Shipping Co. Ltd in London.

    According to official records, the steamer was enroute to London via Colombo from Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) in Vietnam, carrying a cargo of rice and wheat, when it struck the Brennus Shoal and sank.

    It is believed the Captain of the vessel had made a mistake and taken the steamer too close to shore while trying to use as a guide, the lamps put up by fishermen on shore in order to make their fishing activities easier.

    The vessel had five boilers and two propellers. However, one propeller had broken off when the vessel sank and was found some distance away.

    Maritime archaeologists said the shipwreck of another vessel was located in close proximity to the Sir John Jackson.

    Over the course of time, the shipwreck had become a home for corals and many species of ornamental fish. It has been attracting local and foreign diving enthusiasts for some time and Priyandana said it has the potential to be developed as a tourist attraction for divers.

    The Galle Maritime Archaeology Unit has so far located 17 shipwrecks along the country's eastern coast.


     

  • Long-sought shipwreck of the Roberval

    The Roberval


    By Chris Carola - National Post

    Jim Kennard and his partners were wrapping up their season of searching for historic shipwrecks on Lake Ontario’s eastern end when they decided to make one last sweep of the lake bottom with their sonar equipment.

    The U.S. team’s last-ditch effort earlier this month paid off with the discovery of the shipwreck of the Roberval, a 39-meter Canadian steamer that sank nearly a century ago, killing two of the vessel’s nine crew members.

    The Roberval was one of only two sunken steel-clad ships still undiscovered in the lake, which made it a much sought-after find by Great Lakes shipwreck hunters, Kennard said.

    “We’ve been looking for this for two years now,” he said. “It was a nice way to end the season.”

    The Ottawa-based steamer was hauling lumber across the lake’s eastern end, bound for Oswego, N.Y., when it ran into rough conditions in late September 1916.

    According to the explorers, tons of spruce lumber piled on deck broke lose when winds kicked up high waves that knocked the ship on its side. Some of the lumber smashed into the upper cabin structure and hit a crewman, who was knocked overboard and drowned.

    A second crewman went down with the ship when the shifting timber trapped him in a forward compartment.


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  • Atlas, shipwreck of 1839, discovered near Oswego

    The hold of the Atlas, containing a load of limestone.


    By Justin Murphy - Democrat and Chronicle

    Almost 175 years ago, a 52-foot boat carrying a load of limestone ran into a violent storm as it approached the port of Oswego.

    The combination of high winds, tall waves and a heavy cargo proved fatal to the five sailors aboard.

    But the ship itself, the Atlas, has been located by a team of Rochester-area shipwreck hunters, who hailed it as the oldest confirmed commercial shipwreck site in the Great Lakes.

    The find was made last month by a three-man team using a torpedo-like sonar device and a remote-controlled underwater camera the size of a microwave.

    Matching the wreck location with the cargo and the ship’s size and construction proved the pile of timber, seaweed and mussels was in fact the Atlas.

    The condition of the wreck indicates the ship, sailing from Chaumont, Jefferson County, went down in a hurry after its heavy cargo shifted suddenly in the bad weather.

    The deck collapsed on impact, the sides fell away and the two masts toppled to the side.

    The boat came to rest at a depth of 300 feet and had not been noticed since it settled there in 1839.

    It went down like the stone it was carrying,” said Jim Kennard of Perinton, one of the explorers.

    “With a strong northwest gale, the buildup of the waves can get pretty fierce. A boat like that gets hit by a strong wave and that’s all it takes.”


    Full story...



  • Deep water video confirms Lake Superior shipwreck

    From Star Tribune

     

    Video taken more than 500 feet down in Lake Superior has confirmed that a shipwreck is the long-lost freighter Henry B. Smith.

    Shipwreck hunters located the wreck May 24 about 30 miles north of Marquette, Mich.

    They had little doubt then that they had found the Smith, which vanished in a storm with a crew of 25 in 1913, but the group wasn't able to get video showing the ship's name until a return trip to the site last week, the Duluth News Tribune reported Monday.

    "We were blessed with gorgeous weather," while out on the water last Sunday and Monday, said Jerry Eliason, of Cloquet. And the camera — despite getting caught on the wreck for a half-hour — captured video of lettering spelling out "Henry B. Smith" on the ship's stern.

    The 525-foot Henry B. Smith sank in the massive Great Lakes Storm of November 1913, after it ventured out from Marquette during a lull. The storm kicked up again and the freighter sank, leaving scattered wreckage and just two bodies along the shores of Lake Superior.


     


     

  • Shipwreck lost 100 years discovered in Lake Superior

    SS Henry B. Smith


    From Associated Press

    Almost 100 years after the Henry B. Smith freighter went down during a November storm in Lake Superior, a group of shipwreck hunters thinks it has found the ship - and much of it is largely intact.

    The group found the wreck last month in about 535 feet of water off the shore of Marquette, Mich.

    The group says it hasn't seen the name of the ship on the wreck yet, but all signs indicate it's the Smith, sitting amid a spilled load of iron ore.

    "It's the most satisfying find of my shipwreck-hunting career," said Jerry Eliason of Cloquet, part of the group that has found many lost ships in recent years.

    "It's a fantastic find," said maritime historian Frederick Stonehouse of Marquette, who has written about the Smith. "I'm excited at the opportunity to look at the video and see if we can learn the cause of the wreck, to write the final chapter of the ship."

    The Henry B. Smith and its crew of 25 disappeared after sailing into the Great Lakes Storm of 1913.

    The storm, one of the biggest on the lakes, wrecked more than a dozen ships and killed about 250 sailors. The Smith was safe in the Marquette harbor on Nov. 7 and 8, loading iron ore, but on the evening of Nov. 9, Capt. James Owen decided to leave port for Cleveland.

    "The lake was still rolling, but there seemed to be a lull in the wind, the velocity having dropped to 32 mph," shipwreck expert and longtime University of Minnesota Duluth professor Julius Wolff wrote in "Lake Superior Shipwrecks."

    "The gale ... should have blown itself out. But, this was no conventional storm. In taking his vessel out of the safety of Marquette Harbor, Captain James Owen sailed into eternity."


    Full story...



  • British deep water diver dies at Italy wreck

    Wreck diving - Sardinia


    From CityTalk

    A British man has died during a dive on a wreck in Italy, coastguard officials have confirmed.

    The man was in a group of six divers taking part in a week-long programme involving several deep water explorations on ships that had been sunk during World War Two.

    Coastguard officials said the man had been diving at a depth of around 300 feet when he got into difficulty and died shortly after reaching the surface of the water.

    Paramedics were immediately called to the scene near Villasimius on the south-east coast of the Mediterranean island of Sardinia but the man could not be saved.

    The ship the man was diving on was a steamship called the Bengasi, which was torpedoed by the Royal Navy's HMS Truant in May 1941 and sank within 10 minutes of being struck.

    It was primarily used as a troopship but at the time was empty and sailing between its home port of Naples and the Sardinian city of Cagliari.

    Divers are drawn to the wreck because at the time it was sunk it was carrying a large cargo of glassware products.

    The wreck is about a mile from the uninhabited Isola dei Cavoli.

    A coastguard spokesman in Cagliari said: ''We were called to an incident involving a group of divers who had been at the wreck of the Bengasi.

    "It appears that one of them, a British man, was in difficulty and when he got to the surface he was already unconscious.

    "The paramedics tried to save him but he was declared dead at the scene. It looks like he suffered a heart attack."



  • Shipwrecks on Warrnambool sea shore

    Shipwrecks on Warrnambool


    From News AU
     

    There's a storm blowing in from the Southern Ocean and we're tucked up in Lighthouse Lodge listening to the squall outside.

    An unruly wind is whistling around the historic Warrnambool cottage, the lingering rumble of distant thunder accompanies bolts of lightning, and the deluge is so heavy we can hardly hear each other talking over the thud of raindrops on the tin roof.

    In any other part of Australia, the sounds of a storm would be an entertaining diversion, but on Victoria's Shipwreck Coast it's a reminder of the unforgiving conditions that claimed so many lives between 1834 and 1914, when dozens of ships were lost to the east and west of here, trying to find the narrow shipping route into Port Phillip Bay.

    Safe and sound in Lighthouse Lodge - the old Warrnambool harbourmaster's house built in the shadows of the Lady Bay Lighthouse near the summit of Flagstaff Hill - we imagine the town's chief mariner heading out on stormy nights to check ships caught in the bad weather.

    It was a foul night, just like this, almost 140 years ago, that the clipper Loch Ard became lost in a storm and sank at nearby Mutton Bird Island, taking 53 people to the bottom and making local legends out of Eva Carmichael and Tom Pearce who were its only survivors.

    Tom, 19, and a member of the ship's crew, found land first by scrambling on to the hull of an overturned lifeboat but he waded back into the churning water when he heard the cries of a female passenger to find 18-year-old Eva clinging to a spar.

    The pair washed into a protected ravine, the Great Ocean Rd landmark that became known as Loch Ard Gorge, where Tom hid Eva in a cave and went to search for more survivors before returning to the freezing Irishwoman and rubbing brandy on her legs to keep her warm.


    Full article...
     



  • 1911 shipwreck identified off Florida coast

    Steamship Hannah M. Bel


    From International Science Times
     

    Right off Key Largo, Florida, is a well-known underwater shipwreck known as "Mike's Wreck."

    Discovered and popularized by Mike Butler during the 1980's, the site still attracts numerous tourists seeking a one-of-a-kind diving adventure.

    However, despite the popularity of the location, the actual identity and the history behind the sunken ship has remained a mystery - until now.

    The race to uncover the truth of "Mike's Wreck" was sparked in 2009 when Matthew Lawrence taught divers from the National Association of Black Scuba Divers on underwater archaeology.

    There was absolutely no history attached to "Mike's Wreck" whatsoever.

    During an interview with ABCNews.com, Lawrence expressed, "I couldn't believe that, with such a large, well-preserved steel steamship, we weren't able to connect the history to the wreck site."

    Identified as an old steamship, researchers have only called the site "Mike's Wreck" for ages before finally digging through a century of documents including shipping records, newspapers, to learn more.

    After three years of research through extensive archives, the mystery has finally been solved.

    The steamship that met its tragic end is a 315-foot steel-hulled vessel named the Hannah M. Bell, which sank off Key Largo on April 4, 1911.

    A tedious process, Lawrence returned to Massachusetts to learn as much as he could about shipwrecks have have accured just six miles off Key Largo.

    Of the numerous incidents, Lawrence was finally able to narrow down the possibilities to just a handfull of possible ships.


    Full article...



  • Irish government publish photos of US army tanks

    Wrecks in Ireland


    By Dara Kelly - Irish Central

    Following a 12 years survey of the offshore waters and coastal seas around Ireland, carried out by Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI) and the Marine Institute, the Irish government has launched an illustrated book entitled “Warships, U-Boats & Liners - A Guide to Shipwrecks Mapped in Irish Waters”.

    The coffee table book, 12 years in the making, features stunning shots of wrecks on the seabed including the Lusitania off the Cork coast and US army tanks on the seabed 17 miles off Donegal.

    Many of the 300 shipwrecks featured in the book where not know about before this survey. The book includes details on the background of the vessels, the loss of like alongside the photograph and sonar images.

    Earlier this week the publication was launched by Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan, TD together with Fergus O'Dowd TD, Minister of State, Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources.

    The book is the result of collaboration between Geological Survey of Ireland (GSI) and the Marine Institute and the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht's Underwater Archaeology Unit (UAU), part of the National Monuments Service.


    Full article...



  • Two men find 19th-century shipwreck in lake near Oswego

    The Shannon


    From Democrat & Chronicle
     

    More than 500 feet below the surface of The Shannona team of determined shipwreck hunters found the final resting place of a coal schooner that left Oswego 138 years ago only to sink 20 miles out to sea.

    The Shannon was discovered by former Greece resident Daniel Scoville and friend Chris Koberstein while looking for another wreck off the shores of Oswego.

    This is not Scoville’s first find. He and his fellow wreck hunters, including Jim Kennard of Perinton, have found more than 20 ships in Lake Ontario and elsewhere over the past decade, but this summer’s find, he said, is pretty sweet.

    “For me the hobby started as a diving hobby and then it became about ‘how deep can we go ?’ ” he said. “Then we decided that it would be cool to see ships no divers have seen before.”

    The Shannon was last seen the night of June 20, 1874. A few hours after setting sail to deliver coal to a client in 

    Ganaoque, Canada, water came gushing through a hole in the hull.

    According to newspaper accounts, the captain ordered the crew to cut down the jib in hopes the Shannon would run over it and blanket the leak to slow the flow of the water.

    But the last-ditch effort did not work and with the pumps unable to keep up, the crew jumped safely to a small boat just in time to see the vessel sink.

    “They only had one oar, but they paddled all the way back to Oswego,” said Scoville.

    Scoville and Kobertein searched the waters of Lake Ontario near Oswego for nearly three weeks in June and July using a side-scan sonar to identify potential targets on the lake bottom.


    Full article...



  • Wreck diving tips and tricks

    Wrecks – above and below the sea


    By Becky Bauer - Allat Sea

    When scuba divers reveal what they consider dream dives, many would say discovering a previously unknown wreck where they find an ancient Greek coin, a bar of Spanish silver or gold, an Etruscan jar, a Columbian emerald destined for royalty before a hurricane sank the ship, or a rare cannon once used by pirates after they appropriated it from the Royal Navy.

    Only a very lucky few ever experience such dives due to the years required for researching ships’ records, obtaining permits, and funding often fruitless searches not to mention the secrecy required in those endeavors.

    There are, however, multitudes of other wrecks throughout the world that bear their own wondrous treasures along with some danger.

    The target of a wreck dive can be watercraft, aircraft, military equipment, and in the case of man-made bodies of fresh water, even the remains of churches, silos, barns, and homes.

    There are two types of wreck diving.  The first is open water surveying of the exterior of wrecks which we address herein.

    With a watchful dive master or instructor, even the most novice divers can participate in these dives.

    The second type of wreck dive is known as penetration diving wherein divers enter the wrecks eliminating not only ambient light but also direct access to the surface. 

    This type of wreck dive should unconditionally be considered technical diving and should never be attempted by divers who are not trained and certified for penetration diving by experts in the field.

    Wrecks in place for several years are fantastic locations for finding marine life much like healthy reefs.

    In fact, as more understanding is gained as to the critical importance of reefs in the survival of all marine life, the sinking of unwanted vessels to create artificial reefs has become an industry unto its own.

    Sunken wrecks serve as nurseries for young animals as well as foundations for corals, sponges, and other incredibly interesting forms of marine life, often providing homes for creatures rarely seen otherwise.

    On well-established wrecks, if one takes the time to truly observe, a microcosm of life in our oceans displays itself.

    Prey and predator, from the smallest of juveniles to the top predators, inhabit these wrecks.


    Full article...



  • West Michigan Underwater Preserve officially recognized

    A wagon wheel rests on the side of the wreck of the Ironsides, a wooden steamer that sank in 1873 off of Grand Haven. Local divers consider it a popular dive site for advanced divers, because it is pretty much intact for an old vessel. 
    Photo Colin DeVries


    By Eric Gaertner - Mlive

     

    The Lake Michigan shipwrecks off Muskegon, Whitehall, Grand Haven, Pentwater and other points along the West Michigan shoreline are being protected and promoted as Michigan’s 13th underwater preserve.

    The West Michigan Underwater Preserve, which covers about 345 square miles and features 13 identified shipwrecks and three other diving structures, became official last week when the paperwork was filed by the Department of Environmental Quality Water Resources Division Great Lakes Bottomlands Preserves with the Secretary of State’s Office.

    A local group, including many avid scuba divers, has been advocating for the proposed West Michigan preserve for the last few years.

    In honor of receiving official status, the new preserve is set for a ribbon cutting ceremony at 12:30 p.m. Sunday at Pere Marquette Park near the Coast Guard Station.

    As part of the ceremony, divers and snorkelers are expected to enter Lake Michigan after the ribbon is cut.

    John Hanson, co-chairman of the West Michigan Underwater Preserve board, said the group is excited about the preserve’s ability to mark and protect and the shipwrecks and generate interest in the area’s maritime history.


    Full article...


     

  • Amateur divers chart Keys shipwreck

    Keys wrecks 
    Photo Matthew Lawrence


    By Kevin Wadlow - Keys Net

    A moray eel and Goliath grouper swam amid a team of volunteer divers charting shipwreck remains Tuesday near the Elbow reef off Key Largo.

    "On a regular dive trip, that would be the highlight," Paul Washington, a master scuba instructor, said. "We were going, 'Get out of the way so we can get back to work!'"

    The crew of four divers from the National Association of Black Scuba Divers joined two National Marine Sanctuaries staffers to spend three days underwater this week documenting shipwreck remains best known locally as Mike's Wreck.

    "Our mission is to get the story," diver Jay Haigler said. "It's like putting pieces of a puzzle together. The more pieces you get, the clearer the picture becomes."

    The four divers, all from the Washington, D.C., area, earned their spots on the survey team. Each has hundreds of logged dives and advanced certifications, including the arduous NOAA Scientific Diver course and underwater archaeology training.

    "This is a lot more than looking around and having a good time," said Brenda Altmeier, maritime heritage coordinator for the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

    Windy weather made conditions less than ideal as divers each used three to four tanks a day. Since the wreck lies in 25 feet of water, said lead investigator Matthew Lawrence, Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary maritime archaeologist, a single tank could last two hours.

    "For the sanctuary, this is a fantastic deal," Lawrence said.

    In return for rooms at host Amy Slate's Amoray Dive Resort, meals and boat trips, the program receives "multiple days of diving with people who know how to measure and draw what they see, then make a detailed scale drawing of the site."

    Kamau Sadiki, a hydropower engineering expert most days, said, "There are about 2,000 shipwrecks in the sanctuary here. There's no way for [staff] to do what they need."

    "We bring the skills," Sadiki said. "They have the wrecks and the boats."

    "As a retired elementary school teacher, these are great experiences for me," said Ernie Franklin, who uses scuba expeditions with NABSD's Diving with Purpose program to make history and science come alive for students.


    Full article...



  • BC's Pacific Heritage: Shipwrecks of Chuuk Lagoon

    Tank in Chuuk lagoon


    From Marianas Variety

    If you ask scuba divers where the best wreck diving in the world is you only get one answer: Chuuk lagoon.

    Chuuk has all of the things going for it that other islands do when it comes to scuba diving: coral reefs, a great variety of fish and aquatic plants, warm waters.

    But it also has something most islands do not.

    At the bottom of Chuuk lagoon lies over forty Japanese ships and dozens of aircraft. Nowhere else in the world can you find such a large concentration of sunken ships and other man made wreckage.

    What is it doing there ? Let’s take a trip back to 1944.

    Since the outbreak of the Second World War, Chuuk had been a major naval and air base for the Japanese.

    Its excellent harbor within the safe confines of the huge outer reef, coupled with plenty of land area on which to build airbases, guaranteed that Chuuk lagoon would see plenty of action.

    The Japanese stationed their powerful combined fleet there because it was an ideal spot to respond to any allied attacks. As the Americans prepared to push the war into the Marshalls, they knew they had to deal with Chuuk.

    The air and naval forces there made any activity in the central Pacific hazardous.

    Operation Hailstone, February 1944: American aircraft carriers attacked Chuuk, catching several dozen Japanese ships at anchor. Over two days the Americans pounded the Japanese ships and airfields, raining death and destruction on a scale not seen since Pearl Harbor.

    Only a few Japanese warships were in harbor at the time, so cargo ships got most of the attention. By the time it ended the Japanese had lost six cruisers, four destroyers, five smaller warships, thirty two merchant ships, 270 aircraft, and thousands of lives.

    It was an epic disaster for the Japanese and it rendered Chuuk unusable for the rest of the war. Chuuk’s usefulness as a military base was over, but its value as a global dive destination was just beginning.


    Full story...



  • Oldest submarine dive

    Holland 5 sub


    From ITV News

    Yesterday, the Nautical Archaeology Society and the Tunbridge Wells Sub Aqua Club have been marking the anniversary of the loss of the Holland 5 submarine - the Royal Navy's oldest submarine wreck - with a dive 100 years to the day after its loss.

    Hundreds of years of maritime activity, two World Wars and numerous seafaring accidents have seen the seas and shores around the south coast become steeped in legend and undiscovered pockets of history.

    One piece of naval history that remained undiscovered until 1995 was the Holland 5 submarine.

    Lying, upright in 30 metres of water, the Holland 5 was one of the Royal Navy's first submarines accepted for service, alongside the Holland 1 now on display at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum in Gosport.

    The Holland 5 was commissioned on the January 19 1903.

    However, the Holland series of submarines rapidly became obsolete and on the August 8 1912 she was being towed to Sheerness for decommissioning and sank in her current position off the coast of Eastbourne, six miles southeast of the Royal Sovereign Lighthouse.

    There was no loss of life when the Holland 5 sank, just a loss of the most intact example of the Holland series of submarines.

    The cause of the sinking was believed to be as a result of flooding through a torpedo hatch and she lay undiscovered for almost a century.


    Full story...



  • Diving team to document 90-year-old wreckage

    HMS Raleigh became infamous when it ran aground on a reef off the coast of southern Labrador in 1922.


    From CBC News 

    Divers and archaeologists begin their work Monday documenting the wreckage of a historical British ship that ran aground in a corner of southern Labrador nine decades ago.

    The remains of HMS Raleigh will be mapped, photographed and recorded during the mission.

    Wednesday marks 90 years since the battle cruiser ran into a reef off the coast of southern Labrador, on the Strait of Belle Isle that separates the mainland from Newfoundland.

    The episode is considered one of the biggest blunders in British naval history.

    At the time, HMS Raleigh was the pride of the Britain's North Atlantic squadron. It was 180 metres in length, heavily armed and had a crew of 700. The ship was a symbol of British sea power.

    "The Raleigh is an amazing historical wreck, and it's in an obscure place and hardly anybody knows it exists," said Chris Harvey-Clark, who is leading the volunteer dive team.

    The ship's three-year reign at sea ended during a fishing side-trip on Aug. 8, 1922, when the boat blundered onto a reef close to the Labrador coast.

    Most of the men were saved, but the ship was a total loss.

    "It really was a terribly embarrassing thing for the British, said Harvey-Clark. "It sat there, less than a kilometre from the biggest lighthouse on the coast."


    Full story...



  • Diving into Gibraltar’s past

    Divers explore the wreck of the 482, while (inset below) the boat in its heyday


    By James Bryce - The Olive Express

    A pair of unblinking eyes stare at me down a long snout that looks like it is permanently puckering up for a kiss.

    While elsewhere, a snail-like creature no bigger than my thumb displays fearsome-looking horns and a striking colour scheme, giving it the appearance of a drag queen.

    But despite their unusual appearance, pipe fish and nudibranchs are just two examples of the bizarre residents inhabiting the underwater world surrounding Gibraltar.

    Octopuses, seahorses and moray eels are regularly spotted, along with huge shoals of fish including mackerel, bream and mullet.
    Much rarer visitors to these shores include eagle rays and turtles.

    But the marine life is far from the only attraction.

    The waters around the Rock are littered with ship wrecks of all shapes and sizes, offering a fascinating insight into the area’s sea-faring history.

    Among those accessible to divers are Batty’s Barge and the 482, an ex-admiralty cable-laying barge that was deliberately sunk in 1990 as part of a conservation project to help attract sea life to the area.

    Sarah Hunt from Dive Charters Gibraltar is explaining the wreck’s history to me in between helping me get into my gear and providing safety briefings.


    Full story...



  • Diver fathoms out Hastings wreck riddle as name of vessel rings bell

    Pete Hodkin shows off his prize catch the bell from the SS Ladoga


    From the Hastings Observer

    A diver has fathomed the mystery of a century old shipwreck after making a fascinating discovery.

    A century old mystery of the identity of a shipwreck off the coast of Hastings may have finally been solved after a diver made a fascinating discovery.

    Pete Hodkin was diving what has been known for many years in diving circles as ‘Wreck 355’ when he discovered the ships bell bearing its real name – The SS Ladoga.

    The 52-year-old had gone out about five miles as part of a diving party from Mid Herts Divers on board a boat run by Dive 125 based in Eastbourne.

    He had dived to the wreck around 25 metres and was inspecting the ship’s anchor chain around 4.30pm last Saturday when he came across what he thought was an old plate buried in the sand.

    “I was swimming along when I suddenly saw something round in the sand,” said Pete. “It was in a jumbled up mess of steelwork.

    “At first I thought it was a plate. As I got a bit closer I thought it could be a bucket but as I picked it up I realised it was a bell. And I thought ‘Wow what a find!’

    “It was shiny, about 5kg in weight and in good condition and had the inscription SS Ladoga 1892 London.

    “I was really excited - it was the most exciting thing I had ever found.

    “Locating a bell is one of the most valuable things a diver can ever find. It is usually the only positive means of identification of a boat.”

    Records show that the SS Ladoga disappeared after a collision off the coast of Hastings on March 15, 1903. Three men lost their lives.

    It was a steam cargo ship that was built by William Doxford and Sons Ltd in Sunderland in 1892.


    Full story...



  • Divers locate wreck of battleship sunk on way to Malta

    The Roma hit !


    From The Times of Malta

    Divers have located the wreck of an Italian battleship which was sunk by German bombs while it was on its way to Malta to surrender in the Second World War.

    The Roma, which was the flagship of the Italian fleet, was sunk on September 9, 1943 by two 'glider' bombs. The wreckage was located off Sardinia after a search lasting several years, the Italian Navy said.

    It is in a depth of some 1,000 metres about 16 miles off the coast of Sardinia.

    Admiral Carlo Bergamini and 1,352 crewmen died when the battleship was sunk. It was the Italian Navy's most modern battleship having been launched in June 1942.

    The ship formed part of the Vittorio Veneto class, heavily armed with nine 15 inch calibre guns.


    Full story...



  • Miss Louise: an underwater attraction

    The Miss Louise


    From the Destin Log

    A trail of a different kind will soon be passing through Destin.

    The Panhandle Shipwreck Trail, which stretches from Port St. Joe to Pensacola, will feature 12 shipwrecks for divers to explore.

    The Miss Louise, a 95-foot tugboat just off Destin, will be one of the dozen stops along the trail.

    “We do a lot of our training there,” said Capt. Nancy Birchett, co-owner of Scuba Tech in Destin.

    “It’s the shallowest dive in Destin,” which makes it a good training ground, she said.

    The Miss Louise was sunk in 1997 as part of the artificial reef program. The tugboat lies at 57 feet with a 15-foot profile.

    Birchett was out near the site the day the Miss Louise was sank.

    “They started pulling the plugs on it and it didn’t want to go down,” she said.

    Birchett started doing circles in her boat around the tugboat. “I threw up enough wake on it to sink it.

    Birchett was one of the first to dive the Miss Louise.

    “I dove it as soon as it went down and saw a mola mola,” she said. In the early days after it went down, Birchett also saw a whale shark hanging around on the tugboat.

    “It’s right there on the beach … it’s a nice spot to dive.”

    Scuba Tech diving instructor Mary Ann Epp, who just dove the Miss Louise Thursday, said it is a gathering spot for schools of fish.

    “It’s like swimming in a fish bowl with all the fish around you,” Epp said.

    On Thursday, divers even saw a 3-inch seahorse.

    Other fish that have been spotted around the Miss Louise include spadefish, mackerel and tropical fish. Goliath grouper have also been known to hangout around the tugboat.

    In fact, there are reports of a 200-pound goliath haunting the Miss Louise.



  • Elizabethan ship sunk for divers

    An Elizabethan wreck is raised from the Thames in Gravesend


    From The Press Association

    Divers will be able to explore the remains of an original Elizabethan shipwreck which is set to be lowered into a lake.

    The remains of the 16th century "Gresham Ship" are to be moved to the Stoney Cove National Diving Centre in Leicestershire more than 400 years after it sank in the River Thames.

    The move will be co-ordinated by the Nautical Archaeological Society, which will use the ship as an "underwater classroom" to train the next generation of nautical archaeologists.

    The wreck, which dates from 1574, was recovered from the River Thames in 2003 by a team of archealogists after it was discovered by the Port of London Authority.

    Five sections of the hull and an anchor were raised from the river and moved to a diving centre at Horsea Island Lake near Portsmouth.

    Iron bars, pieces of pottery, a silver spoon, as well as leather shoes and part of a sailor's boot were also recovered, along with some pewter and copper vessels. A cannon, bearing the initials of Sir Thomas Gresham, a famous Elizabethan financier and founder of the Royal Exchange, was also found.

    But since the centre closed down, a new home has been sought for the wreck.

    Now the ship is set to be raised and carefully transported the 160 miles to Stoney Cove on June 1.

    Mark Beattie-Edwards, from the Nautical Archaeological Society, said: "The largest section is over eight metres in length and weighs some eight tonnes, so it's not going to be easy. Once we get the hull sections into the water at Stoney Cove, we'll be using lifting airbags to help float them across the lake to get them into their new positions.

    I've hand-picked a team of eight divers to work on this difficult task: they are all very experienced, so I'm sure that we can sink the pieces in the right place at the right time".

    Martin Woodward, of the Stoney Cove National Diving Centre, said: "Although we already have a remarkable range of underwater features for divers to explore here at Stoney Cove, including boats and planes, the very welcome addition of the Gresham Ship is a most spectacular bonus: it takes our displays to a whole new level - or should that be to new depths ?"
     



  • Divers revisit the Keilawarra wreck

    The Keilawarra


    By Matt Deans - News Mail

    It stands encrusted in marine life, as a stark reminder of the lives lost at sea in one of Australia's greatest maritime disaster.

    For 126-years the telegraph of The Keilawarra, the 61-metre iron steam ship that sank near North Solitary Island has risen from the ocean floor suspended in the full astern position.

    For photographer Mark Spencer, who revisited the 19th century shipwreck again at the weekend, the telegraph along with the ship's stern offers a haunting insight into the ill-fated voyage.

    "The propeller shots I took also show the stern has dropped down over the propeller, such that the prop is now inside the stern," Mark said.

    "This is an emotive area of the wreck because it was the area where people clung when the ship was sinking Titanic-like with the stern out of the water."


    Full story...



  • SS Worcestershire: A forgotten shipwreck found

    SS Worcestershire


    By Malaka Rodrigo - Sunday Times


    Three young divers describe the excitement of discovering World War 1 treasures lying in the seabed of Sri Lanka.

    Recently the world commemorated the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. Five years after the Titanic disaster in 1917, a British armed merchant ship met its end in the Indian Ocean near Sri Lanka.

    The SS Worcestershire was en route from Rangoon to London when it was sunk by sea mines laid by German armed merchant raider SMS Wolf that was hunting British ships in the Indian Ocean at the height of World War 1. Two members of the crew died as the SS Worcestershire sank to its watery grave.

    Nishan Perera, Naren Gunasekara, and Dharshana Jayawardena, three young divers have been on the trail of this lost ship for some years and recently were able to ascertain the identity of the wreck of SS Worcestershire. “We have located this ship about 12 km west of Mount Lavinia.

    The ship is massive -137 metres in length and 16.6 metres in width,” the divers told the Sunday Times.

    Though local fishermen and occasional divers hunting for reef fish knew about a shipwreck in this locality, they had no clue that it was an important wreck sunk during World War I.

    “Finding the SS Worcestershire wasn’t easy. Maritime activities during World War 1 around Sri Lanka have not been well documented and we searched for two years,” said Dharshana.

    “We knew the approximate locality, and kept checking with local fishermen who can give us vital clues as they are used to fishing on wreck sites that are rich with fish.” Finally, one fisherman had shown them the location of an old ship and the trio wasted no time in diving for the wreck last April.

    “As always, a first glimpse of a shipwreck is bone chilling and thrilling. As drowsiness due to the deep dive envelops your senses what seems to be a large and hazy shadow slowly develops details.

    Then, at 50 metres we are at the ship and in a strange, deep, lush paradise seen by a few,” Darshana said, recalling his first sight of the sunken ship.

    The ship was at a depth of 57 metres and largely broken up inside. Since it was not identified, the trio initially named the wreck B2633 – the name denoting its depth as measured in local dialect.
     

    Full story...



  • Exploring the Helen B

    Helen B


    By Elizabeth Bush - Daniel Island News


    You can only see it at low tide. And even then, the 200 year-old timbers poke ever so slightly above the pluff mud, a nurturing, oxygen-free blanket that protects in near perfect preservation what’s left of the vessel below the surface.

    "You have to use a little imagination,” said certified sport diver Douglas Boehme, a Summerville resident who discovered the site some 15 years ago. 

    The football-shaped impression, a little more than 60 feet long, sits just off the Daniel Island shoreline north of I-526 near Governor’s Park, and has been the subject of much curiosity among those who have spotted it.

    Is this mysterious structure, which consists only of the lower third of a boat, the shipwreck of a Jeffersonian-era gunboat ?

    That is one possibility, according to Boehme, who named the site “The Helen B” after his daughter.

    Boehme discussed the wreck while serving as guest speaker at the March meeting of the Daniel Island Historical Society.

    When coming over I-526 at a time when you know it’s going to be a really low tide, if it’s visible it should be readily apparent,” he said, while showing his audience photos he and his diving partner, George Pledger, took of the site.

    You’ll see that football shape. It’s hard to miss. It’s a really cool wreck.

    The day after discovering the site, Boehme notified the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology (SCIAA) to officially register his find. Working with the SCIAA and another archaeologist, Boehme and Pledger would later begin their own volunteer investigative project to help uncover more information about the vessel.

    A small dredging effort conducted at the site revealed pieces of ceramics, “200 year-old corncobs,” broken glassware, and evidence the heavy-timbered boat may have been burned, said Boehme.

    Whether it was a vessel that burned, or whether it was a vessel that was abandoned and they burned it to clear for navigation, we don’t know, and probably will never know,” he added.

    The best guess Boehme has at this point as to the origin of the boat is that it may have been built at the former Fairbanks Plantation on Daniel Island.

    The 18th century plantation was owned by Paul Pritchard, an acclaimed boat builder who is credited with crafting Jeffersonian Gunboat No. 9 on Daniel Island in 1805.

    He also operated a larger shipyard on nearby Hobcaw Creek, where he constructed other vessels for the U.S. Navy.


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  • The wild world of shipwrecks

    Marine life on a wreck


    By Matt Bardo - BBC Nature

    This month, the US coastguard sunk the Japanese vessel Ryou-Un Maru in the gulf of Alaska after she spent nearly a year adrift at sea. She joins nearly three million other shipwrecks on the ocean floor. But are shipwrecks good or bad for marine life ?

    In 1881, the Kingston set sail from London. The captain and crew believed they were heading for Aden, but the ship never made it past the Red Sea.

    On the 22 February that year, she smashed into Shag Rock near the entrance to the Gulf of Suez. The crew were rescued, but the ship sank to the ocean floor.

    More than a century on, colourful coral covers the Kingston. The same sponges, tunicates and anemones that live on the adjacent reef are on the wreck.

    Around 38 species of stony corals and ten soft corals adorn the ship's surface. In many ways it has become part of the sea floor.

    Scientists are now studying the ill-fated Kingston, and other wrecks like her, to gauge their impact on the underwater world they have joined.

    And different wrecks are throwing up different surprises. While some are literally repulsive to marine life, others are becoming home to new, unexpected communities of animals.

    Yehuda Benayahu, professor of marine biology at the University of Tel Aviv has spent much of his career in the Red Sea, examining shipwrecks there.

    On old boats such as the Kingston, the wooden parts decay but the steel does not, offering a good foundation for coral. An accidental shipwreck soon becomes an artificial reef, which scientists can analyse.


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  • Diving the St. Peter shipwreck

    St Peter wreck 
    Sketch Robert Doornbos


    By Stephen Kloosterman - The Holland Sentinel

    The wreck’s woodwork appears specked with tiny shellfish, and — at 350 feet below the waves of Lake Michigan — is barely visible in the dark and murky water.  

    But a video captured by a Holland-based group of shipwreck hunters still shows the elaborate scroll work on the bow of a once-proud, 90-foot schooner that sank more than a century ago.

    The nonprofit Michigan Shipwreck Research Association on Friday released details and video from a groundbreaking dive that took place in October.

    “This is the deepest schooner yet found in Lake Michigan,” said Valerie van Heest, a member of the association board of directors. After months of research, the organization believes the vessel is the St. Peter, a schooner abandoned off the coast of Wisconsin in 1874.

    The divers, Holland’s Jeff Vos and Saugatuck’s Todd White, breathed a special mix of helium and air, and practiced advanced dive techniques months in advance of the deep dive at a site about 20 miles off the coast of Grand Haven.

    “It’s always exciting, seeing something new nobody else has seen before,” Vos said. “You could still see the grain of the wood on the deck.

    “We’re definitely going to have to go back,” he added, saying there were a number of artifacts, such as the anchor and pulleys, that could help them positively identify the wreck.


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  • Fishers Island Sound wreck still maritime mystery

    A pewter mirror is shown at the site of a shipwreck in Fishers Island Sound. Divers are trying to determine the identity of the 70-foot vessel 
    Photo Mark Munro


    By Joe Wojtas - The Day


    In the summer of 2007, Mark Munro of Griswold and a group of fellow wreck divers discovered a 70-foot intact shipwreck in Fishers Island Sound.

    While its wooden timbers had rotted, they found a diesel engine, ship's wheel and two bells and personal items such as a pocket watch, pewter mirror and tea cups.

    Despite five years of historical research and reaching out to local historical groups and experts, the identity of the ship is still a mystery to Munro, who believes it sank in the Hurricane of 1938.

    He is now asking the public for help, thinking someone may have heard about the wreck or knows something about the ship, which is thought to have been involved in the menhaden fishery or been converted to a yacht.

    "We've had a lot of leads, but none of them have panned out," he said Monday. "It's interesting because it's right in the middle of Fishers Island Sound where there's always been lot of traffic, but no one knows about it."

    He said the wreck, which is in the deepest part of the sound at 75 feet, had a forward bridge with a searchlight, an open section in the middle which led to the fish hold and a rear structure that housed the crew quarters. That's where artifacts such as plates, cups and a watch were found, as well as portholes.

    Munro's road to discovering the wreck began in 2005 when he began scouring a 1995 government sonar survey of Long Island Sound for possible wreck sites.

    Then in 2007, using his own high-resolution side scan sonar system, he and his fellow explorers from locally based Baccala Wreck Divers found three wrecks in Fishers Island Sound and dove on them. One was a part of a barge, the second a scuttled 40-foot houseboat. Neither interested the wreck hunters.

    The third target, which was covered in silt, is the wreck Munro is now trying to identify. Because it was the third and most interesting one the group explored, the divers now refer to it as "Three's a Charm."

    Munro has so far been unable to track the equipment and artifacts on the wreck back to a specific boat, in some cases because the manufacturers are no longer in business.


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  • Shipwreck diving in Malta: Three great underwater destinations

    Blue lagoon at Camino island


    From Argophilia

    An avid scuba diver looking for a unique diving experience this summer need not look further than Malta.

    Not only does this Mediterranean paradise offer beautiful azure waters for crystal clear visibility, warm oceans and mild currents, but also boasts a large selection of shipwreck diving all easily accessible from the islands of Malta, Gozo and Comino.

    Take a dive below to learn about what Malta has to offer in terms of its superb shipwreck diving.

    First of all, Malta in general sports beautiful conditions for diving with it balmy weather and clear waters.

    What’s more, Malta peters on the border of a continental shelf and thus its shores shelve away rapidly, meaning that many diving spots are located close to the shore.

    Furthermore the islands permanently have a sheltered side, making shipwreck diving possible all through your Malta or Gozo holiday no matter the direction of the wind.

    Although Malta can be dived throughout the year, the best time to visit is from April to October, although the oppressive summer heat from July to August must also be considered.

    Here is a selection of three best shipwreck dives in Malta.

    Because of Malta’s significant role in World War II, acting as a midway mark between Europe and Northern Africa, the island suffered severe damage from bombings.

    It is a little known fact that more bombs were dropped in Malta than in Birmingham during the war, and it is from this tragedy that shipwreck divers today can enjoy such an array of shipwrecks.

    Thus there are many historical shipwreck dives around the islands of Malta, Gozo and Comino that simply cannot be missed on your shipwreck diving holiday.

    First on the itinerary is the HMS Maori, the ship that helped sink the infamous German battleship Bismarck.  

    The HMS Maori, a tribal class destroyer, hit the ocean floor in Malta’s Grand Harbour in 1942.

    What’s great about the HMS Maori is that even novice shipwreck divers can enjoy its atmospheric views at a comparatively shallow depth of only 14 metres.


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  • Guernsey diver aims to solve shipwreck mystery

    The ship was wrecked just 300 yards from the Hanois Lighthouse off the island's south west coast


    From BBC News


    A Guernsey diver has asked for help to solve the mystery of a 100-year-old shipwreck.

    Richard Keen said his research, which started in the 1970s, led him to believe what is known as the Mauve Wreck was the Frier Krupp.

    He said based on weather patterns and the ship's expected course and speed he believed it had to be that ship.

    Mr Keen said the Krupp shipping company still existed and hoped a German speaker would help with his research.

    He said the wreck was first found in the middle of August 1912.

    Mr Keen said: "A fisherman, Nicholas Le Sauvage, went out to pull his pots by the Mauve Reef, which is 300 yards from the Hanois Lighthouse, and there was a rock there that wasn't there the year before.

    "It turned out to be a ship's boiler, so the following day he went out with George Le Couteur and the Lloyd's agent and a few other fishermen to investigate and there were a few bits of iron sticking out of the water.

    "They deemed from the size of the boiler it would be a vessel of about 600 tonnes."

    His own interest began 40 years ago: "The wreck site was shown to me by a fisherman. There was nothing of much interest, shallow water, all weed, bits of rusty iron and general junk not even any sign of a ship's engine or propeller shaft.

    "It's always known as the mauve wreck and it's one of those mysteries that has always bugged me.

    "I researched it 40 years ago and found not a lot, but I got stuck in recently and in the guildhall library of all places I found a record of a German vessel called the Frier Krupp, which left Bilbao [in Spain] on 16 December 1911 bound for Rotterdam with a 1,000 tonnes of iron ore.


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  • Queensland shipwrecks expose their secrets

    Grace Darling ballast mound with hull planking


    By Tony Moore - Brisbane Times


    Shipwreck experts have pinpointed the exact locations of 26 of Moreton Bay's 102 shipwrecks.

    Until now, aside from visible wrecks, the location of many shipwrecks have been word of mouth among divers and boating families.

    And those locations have shifted with the shifting sands and currents of Moreton Bay.

    Queensland's Historic Shipwreck Survey is the first stage in a five-year study with the Queensland Museum trying to check locations of 1291 shipwrecks along the state's coast.

    That number is likely to get to 1400 as the wreck locations are slowly confirmed.

    However, throughout Queensland only 85 of the 1291 wrecks have been physically confirmed.

    After 12 months of research and first-hand location spotting by divers from the Department of Environment and Resource Management and the Queensland Museum, the locations of just 26 wrecks around Moreton Bay have been tied to exact positions.

    "I suspect by the end of the year that number will be up to around 30," said Paddy Waterson, the archaeologist leading the survey.

    At the start of Queensland's Historic Shipwreck Survey, the locations of just six shipwrecks could be accurately shown on charts.

    "We had six on Moreton Bay, and as it turned out some of those positions were not as exact as we'd hoped," Mr Waterson said.

    "So we've gone from having six exact and seven "sharp" positions to now having 26 that we have exact positions for."

    Mr Waterson said it has been harder work that he imagined.

    "These wrecks come and go - in terms of visibility - because sand largely covers them up and then re-exposes them," he said.


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  • Divers find more Pendleton wreckage

    The bow section of the tanker Pendleton drifts after being broken in a 1952 winter storm that killed eight. An image from sidescan sonar, below, shows a portion of a shipwreck Cape divers found in August. They believe it is a lost section of the Pendleton


    By Patrick Cassidy - Cape Cod Times


    The waters off Cape Cod are known as a graveyard for ships that fail to round the peninsula's greedy, outstretched arm.

    Now local divers and shipwreck enthusiasts have a watery destination that is both eerily familiar and brand new: a recently discovered section of the Pendleton, one of two large tankers that split in half off the Cape during a storm in February 1952.

    The stern of the Pendleton, about a mile east of Monomoy Island, has long been a popular dive spot. The ship is famous not so much for its sinking as for the four Coast Guardsmen who braved 60-foot seas and fierce winds in a 36-foot motor lifeboat to rescue 32 of the ship's crew stranded on the stern. The rescue has been called the greatest small boat rescue in Coast Guard history.

    When the Pendleton split in half, eight men, including the ship's captain, were stranded on its bow, which drifted south and eventually grounded near the Pollock Rip Lightship southeast of Monomoy. All the men onboard the bow section were lost.

    Only one frozen body was found when the Coast Guard and salvagers boarded the wreck a week later, according to "The Finest Hours" by Michael Tougias and Casey Sherman.

    The bow of the Pendleton was eventually towed — first to New Bedford and then to New York City — to be cut up and sold as scrap metal. For a half century, the story of the 503-foot, 10,448-ton T-2 tanker's bow seemed complete.
    Until now.

    Chuck Carey, a 61-year-old Hyannis-based commercial real estate broker and shipwreck enthusiast, was searching the ocean bottom around Pollock Rip at the end of August with a sidescan sonar towed from his 29-foot catamaran.

    "I happened to blunder right over it," he said this week about finding a 100-by-170-foot section of the Pendleton's bow in about 30 feet of water. From the sidescan imagery, Carey couldn't tell exactly what he was seeing, and at first thought it might have been a scallop dredge.

    Once he and other divers explored the wreck, however, it was clear that the heap of metal and marine life was part of the Pendleton, he said. "It's like unmistakable," he said.

    The ride back after that first dive was "quite a thrill," he said.

    While the T-2 tankers are not unique or extraordinarily old, the historic rescue connected to the Pendleton makes the find exciting, Carey said.

    "As soon as we got under water, within minutes I (thought), 'God, this looks awful familiar,'" said Carey's fellow diver, Don Ferris, 52, an East Sandwich resident and the author of several books on shipwrecks, including an anthology of wrecks off the Cape.

    The steel girders were the same as those on the stern section of the Pendleton, located more than five miles to the north of where the bow section was found, Ferris said. The rows of girders supported the ship's deck, he said, and they are now exposed because this section has been flipped upside down.

    Ferris speculates that when salvagers towed the bow away, a section caught on the bottom. The tug operator probably increased power to pull it loose, and ripped a section off close to the original break, Ferris said.


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  • Storm shifts Kittiwake 60 feet

    The wheelhouse of the Kittiwake, pictured here following the sinking of the ship in January 2011, is now in 26 feet of water, 10 feet deeper than it originally was


    By Norma Connolly - Compass Cayman

    Strong waves resulting from Hurricane Rina have shifted the Kittiwake wreck about 60 feet out to sea, divers who dove the site over the weekend have reported.

    Jason Washington of Ambassador Divers said the former USS Kittiwake, which was deliberately sunk as a dive attraction off West Bay in January, is now sitting 10 feet deeper in sand and 60 feet closer to the sea wall than before the storm.

    “It is incredible. I thought, honestly, that if it was going to move, it would move toward the beach. However the storm worked and however the water moved, it moved the Kittiwake towards the wall,” he said.

    An enormous anchor chain on the ship has snapped and metal plates on the side of the vessel have also disappeared.

    Mr. Washington and others dived the Kittiwake on Saturday and took video footage of the wreck to show how far it had moved and what damage had been done in the storm.

    The wreck is now much closer to the Sand Chute dive site.

    The thing that struck me was how close it now is to Sand Chute. Before, when you did the Sand Chute dive, you could just make out that there was a wreck on the sand flat. Now, it’s about 30 feet from the wreck. You can see it clearly,” he said.

    He added, “The whole wreck is about 10 feet deeper than it was. At the wheelhouse at the helm station, prior to the storm, it was in about 15 feet of water. Now, according to my depth gauge, it’s at 26 feet, about 10 feet deeper than she was.

    Rod McDowall, operations manager of Red Sail Sports, said a team had gone to check the moorings and confirmed the seven moorings were intact, but the wreck had indeed moved, although he was unable to say how far.

    We’ll be checking that in the next day or two,” he said.

    He said the wreck was still upright and positioned the same way as it had been before the storm.

    It’s surprising it moved in the way it did,” he said.

    The Kittiwake was sunk on 5 January, after eight years of planning. At the time of its sinking, the ship rested in 64 feet of water, at its deepest. The wreck has become on the most popular dive sites in Cayman.

    DiveTech’s Nancy Easterbrook, who headed the operation to bring the ship to Cayman and sink it, is off-island and has not been able to dive the wreck to see the impact of the storm.

    She said she had only received second-hand reports on the effect Rina had on the wreck and was awaiting more information.

    Mr. Washington said the ship did not appear to have slid toward the wall, rather with the force of the sea, she “walked standing up”. The movement shoved a bank of sand between the ship and Sand Chute, embedding the Kittiwake firmly in the seabed, he said.

    “She’s built up so much sand between herself and Sand Chute that I don’t think she can move any closer to the wall. She’s settled,” Mr. Washington said.

    The huge propellor of the ship is still visible, though is now in a hole in the sand, which Mr. Washington said was likely to fill in during the next few months.

     
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  • Sport divers go deep for trinkets and treasure

    A diver with Mel Fisher's Treasures holds up pieces of gold


    By Rob Lovitt - MSNBC


    Forget the gold in them thar hills; these days, big treasure troves are being found at the bottom of the ocean.

    Consider, for example, the Mantola, a sunken British steam ship found off the coast of Ireland in early October. Torpedoed in 1917, the vessel is believed to hold 20 tons of silver with a current worth of around $18 million.

    It’s enough to make a recreational diver grab his or her scuba tanks and dive overboard — even if the potential haul is a bit less precious.

    “What we’d consider treasure, those guys would just laugh at,” said Dave Sommers, owner of Dive Hatteras in Cape Hatteras, N.C. “A lot of us are just artifact hounds, looking for fittings, portholes, china … That’s what we call treasure.”

    For recreational divers, there’s still plenty to be found, especially in the wreck-rich waters along the Eastern Seaboard. “Once you start wreck diving,” said Sommers, “a lot of other types of diving pale in comparison.”

    To get in on the action, would-be treasure hunters should have the appropriate certification, be aware of laws regarding artifact removal and consider going with operators who are familiar with area wrecks and local water conditions.

    Patience is also important, said Cameron Sebastian, operations manager for Coastal Scuba in North Myrtle Beach, S.C.: “If you’re going to try to look for trinkets and treasures, you’re going to spend a lot of time in one spot just digging through the sand.”

    Such “trinkets,” of course, won’t make you rich, but longtime wreck divers suggest there’s also value in simply experiencing the history of various vessels.

    “These ships are like time capsules,” said Ted Green, owner of O.C. Diver in West Ocean City, Md. “Yes, you’re hunting for stuff, but most people have a good time whether they’re successful or not.”


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  • Possible armaments renew interest in old shipwreck

    By T.W.Paterson - The Citizen


    Thiepval Channel, between Turret and Turtle Islands in The Broken Group, Barkley Sound, honours this First World Battle Class trawler, lost in the line of duty in 1930.

    E ighty years after the fact, the Dept. of National Defence is taking renewed interest in the wreck of HMCS Thiepval, long a target of recreational skindivers but now thought to be a hazard because of unrecovered live artillery shells and rifle bullets.

    One of 12 Battle Class trawlers built late in the First World War, she was commissioned in the Royal Service (forerunner to the Royal Canadian Navy) in July 1918. Assigned to the West Coast with sisters Givenchy and Armentieres, she served for three years as a fisheries patrol vessel.

    As a signatory to the Pelagic Sealing Treaty with Russia, Japan and the U.S.A., Canada offered the Thiepval as part of her contribution to the impossible task of trying to canvass thousands of square miles of open sea.

    The idea was to restrict the hunting of fur seals to aboriginals, who were denied the use of firearms and power boats. Even if the treaty nations had had the ships and manpower, a bullet hole in a seal's pelt was easily enlarged to make it appear the work of a spear-tip.

    With a maximum speed (when new) of 10 knots, and armed with a single 12-pound quick-firing gun on her forecastle, the 130foot-long Thiepval rejoined the RCN in 1923.

    The following year she steamed all the way to Hakodate, Japan to establish fuel dumps for Maj. Stuart McLaren's ill-fated attempt to fly around the world.

    Upon returning home after recovering what was left of McLaren's crashed aircraft from Russian territory, Thiepval had completed an 11,000-mile round trip.

    She was then assigned to the Bamfield Patrol.

    Simply, this was a token attempt at a Canadian Coast Guard at a time when Barkley Sound continued to earn its sobriquet, Graveyard of the Pacific.

    In February 1926, Thiepval's commanding officer, Lieut. V.S. Godfrey, was alerted that the Chapultepec, a large Mexican schooner, was being driven towards the Sea Lion Rocks, off Carmanah Point.


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  • Dive team gives search for cannon another shot in Detroit River

    By Elisha Anderson - Freep


    The Detroit Police Department’s dive team plans to be back at it today – trying to locate an elusive cannon as part of a training exercise.

    Divers dealt with poor visibility earlier this month when they tried to find the cannon dating back more than 200 years in the Detroit River. It’s expected to measure at least six feet in length and weigh 1,200 pounds.

    “It was a little disappointing two weeks ago,” Detroit Police Sgt. Dean Rademaker said this morning.

    He initially found the cannon covered in zebra mussels in July after spotting a silhouette on top of the sand. He dived for it two weeks ago and will dive again today.

    The cannon is located about 200 feet off the seawall near Cobo Center.

    Visibility in the water two weeks ago was about 3-inches and under the water was dark, he said.

    “Basically everything was being done by feel,’ Rademaker said.

    Today visibility appears to be about 2-feet. The dive team plans to use GPS to get to the basic location, then will mark it off will a buoy and move the cannon closer to the seawall with a Detroit police boat.


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  • Divers discover D-Day shipwreck off Portsmouth

    By Oli Poole - Portsmouth


    A group of divers has discovered a British D-Day shipwreck in the Solent.

    Fourteen divers from the Southsea Sub Aqua Club located the British landing craft off the south-east coast of Portsmouth, in the middle of the main shipping lanes.

    They believe it is the LCT 427 craft that was sunk after colliding with a fellow British craft on its return from delivering cargo to Sword Beach, Normandy, in June 1944. The club had to get special permission from the Queen’s Harbour Master in Portsmouth to dive in the area due to the high traffic.

    Alison Mayor was part of the crew on the eight-day dive last month. She said: ‘It is such a tragic and sad story. 

    ‘The crew had made the crossing to France, survived the engagement with the enemy and successfully delivered the cargo of tanks – only to be lost at the dead of night, four miles from home and in a collision with one of our own ships.

    ‘It’s a very moving experience when you swim around the wreck, particularly the area of the break.


     

  • How to sink a Russian frigate

    Shipwreck 
    Photo Lawson Wood


    From Eugene Bonthuys - Compass Cayman


    The sinking of the Kittiwake was all over the news recently. However, the trail had been blazed by another ship 15 years before, with the first arguably more unique than the second.

    Although Little Cayman is world famous for its diving, Cayman Brac was, for once, in the shadow of its smaller sibling.

    In order to generate some more interest in diving the island, it was decided that a wreck sunk as an attraction for divers would be the ideal answer.

    A unique opportunity presented itself with the breakup of the Soviet Union, as a number of vessels were abandoned at naval bases in Cuba as the USSR pulled its military presence from the country.

    The Cuban government had no use for the ships, so Cayman was presented with the opportunity to purchase a Russian military vessel, and for a little bit extra even have the Cuban government leave the deck guns on board.

    After much negotiation and work, Patrol Vessel 356, a 330ft Brigadier Type II Class frigate, started its journey to Cayman Brac, a journey that it would never have dared attempt during the Cold War, and in September 1996, 15 years ago this month, she went to her final resting place on the seabed off Cayman Brac.

    One of the people gathered to view the sinking of the vessel was author and underwater photographer Lawson Wood.

    “The sinking was firstly highly charged with everyone driving their boats around, getting excited as the DoE, plus the Cuban tugboat tried to fill the ship with water, recalls Lawson.

    However, the excitement did not last, for as he recalls it was gradually replaced with boredom as the process dragged on.

    “In reality, a fighting ship of this design is not expected to sink, even when under attack and filled with water! Eventually, of course she did go down amidst ships horns being sounded and shouting and cheering by all of the assembled boats and their guests.

    It was actually quite poignant and a little sad, to see this once great ship sink beneath the waves (with Jean-Michel Cousteau sitting in the crow’s nest !”


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  • WW2 shipwrecks: monitors of climate change

    The City of Atlanta


    By Tim Wall - Discovery News


    A torpedo ripped through the port side of the passenger-freighter, City of Atlanta, and sent her to the bottom of the Outer Banks near Cape Hatteras. U-123 captain Reinhold Hardigan had found his fifth victim that night in the winter of 1942.

    Now, the wreck of the City of Atlanta is an artificial reefs and popular diving attraction.

    During World War II, German U-boats and friendly minefields took a deadly toll of U.S. ships right off the North Carolina coast, near the famous civil war wreck, the Monitor. A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) study recently looked at the marine ecosystems supported by these WW2 era shipwrecks.

    They found that different wrecks supported different communities of fish and other species. They also placed temperature sensors to gather data which may corroborate evidence that the waters off North Carolina are warming and becoming home to more tropical species.

    In June of 2010, NOAA researchers studied the wrecks of the Keshena, City of Atlanta, Dixie Arrow and EM Clark. They surveyed fish populations as well as other marine organisms, and determined that wrecks at different depths were home to different mixes of species. In general the mid-depth waters (20-40 meters) supported greater biodiversity.

    While that was not surprising, the population survey established a baseline for watching changes in marine ecosystems as the waters warm up.

    North Carolina's marine communities are made up of a mixture of temperate and tropical species, due to the states' geographic location in a transition zone between north and south.

    The Gulf Stream affects the southern portion of the state's waters around the wrecks of the Keshena and Dixie Arrow. Whereas the colder Labrador and Virginia currents affect the area north of Cape Hatteras, around the wreck of the City of Atlanta.


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  • Take the plunge: 4 incredible shipwreck dive sites

    Shipwreck


    By Shira Levine - Fox News


    Those who’ve sported SCUBA or snorkel gear and submerged beneath the surface of the sea have witnessed the fantastical underworld that lies below.

    Through the lens of a diving mask is a flooded universe where a symphony of plant life sways back and forth to the sub aqua beat, and gangs of fish nose around for something to eat.

    To look out across a seascape is to delve into the dynamic and awe-inspiring; while at the same time observe something dark, scary and lonely.

    While it's not eco-PC to dig man's underwater destruction, it is an otherworldly journey for the imagination to explore a ship or plane wreck via dive or snorkel. Marine life and their eco systems are surprisingly resilient.

    Submerged flora and fauna have no problem hopping onboard and moving into sunken ships once the waters have calmed.

    UNESCO estimates that there are roughly three million shipwrecks worldwide and billions of dollars strewn across the ocean floor.

    Don’t get too excited. It costs about $4 million to send an underwater robot to hunt those treasures. Nevertheless, here are five wrecks to wreak exploratory havoc on in bodies of water all around the world.

    MS Antilla

    My first foray with sea wreckage was a close examination of the 400-foot long Antilla -- one of the largest wrecks in the Caribbean. Just off Aruba’s Arashi reef, the German freighter was initially used during World War II to provide provisions to submarines patrolling the Dutch Antilles.

    When Germany invaded Holland, Aruba joined forces with the Allies. Anchored in shallow waters, after being ordered to surrender in 24 hours, the German crew obliged, but the captain opted to scuttle the ship rather than let it fall under Allied control.

    The Antilla sits at a shallow depth – peeking out of the surface and maxing out at a mere 60 feet. As a snorkeler, I was both dazzled and terrified by the ghostly presence of a ship that once was and now today is festooned with cheerful sponges, corals and a plethora of marine life that made the ship home.

    SS Yongala

    March marked the 100th anniversary of wreck located in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park in Queensland, Australia.

    The Yongala hit the ocean floor in 1911 but was mysteriously undiscovered for more than 50 years despite all on board perishing. Considered one of the top wrecks in the world, the coral-encrusted ship attracts massive blue gropers and staggering schools of huge trevally, cobia, pinnate batfish and fingermark.

    Not to mention bull sharks, marble rays and juvenile Humpback whales along with thousands of other sea creatures. The sea voyeurism continues when floating up closer to the surface where harmless sea snakes and turtles go about their business.


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  • Diving into Jersey shipwreck history

    Diving instructor Chet Nesley recently discussed maritime history, displayed artifacts from his diving expeditions in New Jersey and discussed shipwreck history at the Meadowlands Environment Center. He is pictured with a wreck's artifact


    By Kelly Nicholaides - North Jersey


    Early maritime navigation challenges, weather conditions and greedy shippers pocketing insurance money have led to over 5,000 shipwrecks in New Jersey, according to Chet Nesley, a Professional Association of Diving Instructors master instructor.

    Nesley, who has logged over 4,000 dives in water ranging from 20-160 feet deep for shipwrecks, discussed maritime and shipwreck history, complete with a PowerPoint slideshow presentation, color photos and artifacts at the Meadowlands Environment Center in June.

    "A shipwreck never gives up all its booty. There's always something to find," Nesley notes.

    In maritime history, navigation tools and a seaworthy vessel were keys to preventing shipwrecks. A wooden ship depended on the wooden rods that held them together before nails existed.

    "The wood swelled up in water, making it a tight fit. Sawdust filled in the spaces in between, so you had a watertight ship. The worst thing for a wooden ship is keeping it dry," Nesley says.

    One such rod, a "treenail," is among Nesley's treasure troves from his shipwreck dives. But preserving the items is just as difficult as finding them.

    "If you're not going to preserve it, don't bring it up," Nesley notes. "I had to soak this in freshwater for six months. I stuck it in my toilet tank."

    How and why vessels had sunk is equally important as a ship's artifacts, he explains. "The challenges of early shippers was they had no GPS, no radar, no radio.

    The best charts were made by the British navy, who surveyed harbors and charted landmarks, all by hand. You had to have a good handle on math, trigonometry and algebra," Nesley says.

    Getting lost was not uncommon.

    "But as long as you could see the moon, the sun or the North Star, you had an idea where you were," Nesley explains.

    Navigation was tricky. Vessels that got lost in a fog or made complex navigational errors include warships, passenger liners, freight, fishing and clamming boats. Even if shippers knew the latitude, longitude was not easy to find.

    "You needed the time at prime meridian and local time," Nesley says.

    "Dead reckoning" used the course, speed and time to figure out the position.


    Full story...



  • Wrecks mark the spot: Diving trail puts Panhandle's sunken treasures on the map

    By Kimberly Blair - PNJ


    Pensacola has become a scuba diver's mecca, thanks to the Oriskany.

    Divers travel here from all over the world to dive the aircraft carrier of the Korean and Vietnam war-era, sunk in 2006. As an artificial reef, it offers a challenging, deep-water dive 22 miles southeast of Pensacola Pass.

    In fact, the sandy bottom of the Gulf of Mexico between Pensacola and Panama City is a watery grave for dozens of other ships-turned-reefs, with equally storied pasts and diving thrills.

    A state Division of Historical Resources project is in the works to create a Panhandle Shipwreck Trail featuring the most interesting of these wrecks. Fifteen are under consideration.

    "Our goal is to showcase the Panhandle as the diverse and exciting dive destination that it is," said underwater archaeologist Roger Smith, who is part of that division and is spearheading the project. "Pensacola has one of the earliest battleships, the Massachusetts. It's one of my favorite shipwrecks. It participated in the Spanish American War in the Gulf."

    Smith was awarded a $60,000 National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration grant through Florida Department of Environmental Protection's coastal management program to pay for the project.

    Expected to be launched by spring, the project calls for posting the history and diving details of each ship on an interactive website so people may "virtually dive" without ever getting their flippers wet.

    Divers who come here will be able to sign up for a "trail passport" that challenges them to return to get their passport stamped with each completed dive.

    Pensacola diver Bryan Clark believes the passport idea is clever.

    "Most divers love a challenge," he said. "The shipwreck trail provides us with a goal that we can strive for while having fun diving and exploring Northwest Florida."



  • A shipwreck, but not just any shipwreck

    By Barbara F. Dyer - Knox Village Soup


    As I picked up the phone that was ringing off the hook, the identification read Freeport. I haven’t ordered any Bean boots.

    Oh. It was Freeport, New York. An excited voice on the other end of the line said: ”Barbara, I just found a vessel built in Camden, Maine. So I Googled and it came up with your name and telephone number for marine information.”

    Nothing is sacred anymore because of the Internet; however, I was pleased to get this call.

    The shipwreck was the five-masted schooner, T. Charlton Henry, built in the H. M. Bean Yard in 1904.

    He said that he hoped to find gold with it, but I told him that it would be black gold (coal), because it was built for the Coastwise Transportation Company, managed by Capt. John G. Crowley to carry coal for Washburn & Moen’s great manufacturing plant in Worcester, Mass., from Norfolk to Province for transshipment by rail to Worcester.

    It was only 30 years before that a three-masted schooner was considered big. Then came some fours and finally Waldoboro built the first five-master, Governor Ames, followed by Camden with the John B. Prescott in 1899.

    The article in the Camden Herald dated Nov. 28, 1904 tells it well, I quote verbatim:

    “Beautiful Launch of the T. Charlton Henry, A Handsome Schooner, One of the Largest and Best Ever Built By Mr. Bean.

    “Thursday’s weather was ideal for launching. The air was clear and mild and almost summer-like. The vessel went into the water at just 1:48, making one of the prettiest and most majestic launchings ever seen in this section. Some two or three thousand people viewed the spectacle, a small crowd compared with some of the Bean launchings.

    The great schooner seemed eager to make her leap for the water for several minutes before all the blocks were split out, in fact, when some of the men were working a third of the way down her keel, the vessel settled and began to move.

    The men, warned by Mr. Bean, hastily crawled out, and down the ways she went piling up a monster wave under her stern and making a most graceful bow. The usual salute of cheers and whistles were given with a will.

    “The christening of this schooner was a departure from the custom of flowers and doves, which has long been in vogue here and the T. Charlton Henry was christened by the wish of some larger owners in the way popular in many places, by breaking a bottle of champagne over her bow.

    The christening was done by Myrtle Bean, the little daughter of Mr. and Mrs. R. L. Bean. The champagne bottle was tied with red, white and blue ribbons on which were printed in gold letters the name of the schooner, the place and date and the name of the young lady.

    These ribbons make a pretty souvenir of the event for the little christener.


    Full story...



  • Divers off N.C. coast go on a high-tech ghost hunt

    By Erin James - Hampton Roads


    To divers, it looks like a gigantic knife embedded in sand on the ocean floor, dulled and corroded by decades gone by.

    The submarine's aptitude for intimidation, including the machine gun still perched on its bow, remains intact nearly 70 years after it sank 10 miles from the Outer Banks coastline.

    The bodies of seven men are believed to be inside.

    In 1942, U-701 was a German killing machine that entered American waters to wreak havoc on merchant and Navy ships. Before meeting its own demise on July 7, 1942, U-701 attacked and sank at least four Allied vessels.

    "It's a sight that would strike fear into any merchant marine's heart," said Evan Kovacs, a scuba diver who photographed the submarine days ago. "It's definitely one of those sights that gets your blood going."

    In recent weeks, researchers have gotten a new look at U-701 and other World War II vessels sunk during the Battle of the Atlantic.

    Now in its fourth year, an expedition led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is trying to document and photograph the dozens of warships that disappeared below the surface.

    Researchers are not planning to raise any of the vessels, largely because many of the underwater sites are military graves.

    This summer, researchers are using advanced technology - including a submersible video camera worthy of a Hollywood movie - to find lost ships.

    They've narrowed their focus to a 130-square-mile area of the ocean off the southern end of Hatteras Island, believed to be the site of a critical battle between a German submarine and an Allied convoy en route to Florida.

    Since the team got started in July, an underwater robot aided by sonar technology has identified 47 sites of interest, at least some of which are likely World War II shipwrecks.

    They could also be wrecks of another era, debris, or just big rocks on the ocean floor.



  • Finnish shipwreck from 1924 found in France

    Ship found


    From Yle


    French divers have discovered the sailing ship Port Caledonia, which sank with all its crew 87 years ago.

    The ship was found at the bottom of the Bay of Biscay. The home harbour of the four-mast vessel was the town of Uusikaupunki in southwest Finland.

    Port Caledonia sailed to its fate from the port of Mejillones in Chile on August 4, 1924, carrying 4,000 tonnes of saltpetre.

    It was meant to arrive in France’s La Pallice harbour on December 2, but tragedy struck before the vessel could reach port.

    Hit by a storm, the ship broke mast after mast and then finally crashed into rocks.

    Many eyewitness accounts remain of the dramatic sinking, as the sailors fought for their lives for many hours. Because of the raging storm, all attempts to rescue them failed. The last sailor disappeared from view nearly ten hours after the alarm sounded.

    All 25 crew members and captain Alfred Karlsson died that day.

    The captain was from the municipality of Vårdö in the semi-autonomous maritime province of Åland. Eight of the sailors were Finns, while the others hailed from Germany, England, Sweden, Denmark and Norway.

     The French newspaper Sud-Ouest was the first to report the news on its web page.


     

  • Shipwreck trail may lure divers into the water

    The Red Sea was a 125-foot tugboat that broke down off Miami and was towed to Bay County and sunk for an artificial reef in 2007


    By Felicia Kitzmiller - News Herald Writer


    Millions have enjoyed the sugar sand beaches and clear waters of the Emerald Coast, but far fewer have seen the attractions that wait off the coast, below the surface of the inviting waters.

    The Panhandle is the No. 2 most popular drive-to recreational diving location in the country, only behind the Florida Keys, dive instructor and enthusiast Danny Grizzard said.

    The Panama City Beach Convention and Visitor’s Bureau’s website lists more than a dozen popular dive locations including shipwrecks, bridge remnants, sunken Army tanks, aircrafts and more than 50 artificial reefs teeming with marine life.

    In the months following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster that devastated the economy of the Florida Panhandle, Roger Smith, an archeologist with the Florida Department of State’s Division of Historical Resources, said he found himself contemplating ways to help boost tourism in the struggling region.

    Having recently completed two successful public education and interpretation projects related to diving – a collection, or trail, of underwater archeological preserve wrecks from the Keys to Pensacola, and another trail of the very popular fleet of sunken Spanish galleons in South Florida – Smith decided to stick to what he knows and honed in on the region’s already successful diving industry.

    After contacting friends in the region, an idea has begun to take shape for an interactive map and trail of Panhandle shipwrecks that will hopefully pique the public’s interest and help bring people back to the Panhandle.

    “This would present your classic shipwreck, because when people go diving, that’s what they want to see,” said Gizzard, who is helping to organize local dive shops to assist in the effort.



  • Divers find SS Governor’s bell, the ‘holy grail’ of a shipwreck

    In this image provided by Dan Warter, vice president of the Maritime Documentation Society and a partner in DCS Films, the bell of the SS Governor is shown in 240 feet of Admiralty Inlet water


    By Leah Leach  - Peninsula Daily News


    A dive team has found the ship’s bell of the SS Governor, which sank off Point Wilson 90 years ago.

    Divers from the Maritime Documentation Society found the bell Sunday, said Robert Wilson of Marysville, who, along with Benjamin Nussbaum of Lynnwood, discovered the bell buried in silt 240 feet below the Admiralty Inlet surface.

    “One of the things you always look for is the ship’s bell,” said Wilson, the spokesman for the group of shipwreck divers dedicated to documenting the history of maritime disasters.

    “This is the holy grail of all shipwreck artifacts,” agreed Dan Warter, vice president of the Maritime Documentation Society and one of three partners of DCS Films.

    Waved over by the two divers who found the bell, Warter documented the find on video.

    A sunken ship’s bell “is what is sought after on any major maritime disaster,” Warter said.

    “It’s kind of the monument of the shipwreck,” he said, adding that ship’s bells often are exhibited in museums while copies are made and engraved with the date of the shipwreck.

    “It’s a really big thing to find,” Warter said.

    The Governor, a steamship on a routine run to Seattle from San Francisco, sank at 12:04 a.m. Friday, April 1, 1921.

    Eight of the 240 people aboard did not survive.

    The Governor had just dropped off some passengers in Victoria before heading southeast toward Puget Sound.

    As the ship rounded Port Townsend, the SS West Hartland, which was leaving Port Townsend for India, rammed into the Governor amidships on her starboard side, ripping open a 10-foot gash in the iron hull.

    Reports later said the Governor’s pilot mistook the West Hartland’s running lights for fixed lights on Marrowstone Point and so didn’t yield the right of way.

    Maritime Documentation Society divers have examined the shipwreck at least annually for years, Wilson said.

    But it was not until Wilson’s 13th successful dive in 10 years that the bell was found.

    “It was half-buried” on its side, Wilson said. “We pulled it out of sand and set it out.”


    Full story...



  • City of Ainsworth wreck assessed

    A party from the Underwater Archaeology Society of BC studied the wreck of the SS City of Ainsworth this month


    By Greg Nesteroff - Nelson Star


    An expedition this month to the SS City of Ainsworth found the historic Kootenay Lake shipwreck remains in generally good condition.

    “We were all very excited to see that the vessel hasn’t deteriorated as much as we might have thought,” says Bill Meekel of the Underwater Archaeological Society of BC, who led the search.

    “At least the hull and main structure of the [lower] deck and paddlewheel were all still pretty much intact. It’s still three dimensional.”

    Meekel’s party included society members Eric and Bronwen Young, plus Darren Muntak, and Brian Nadwidny.

    Working from the Kaslo Shipyards vessel Candide, they used sidescan sonar and a remotely-operated vehicle to locate and inspect the ship, which has only been seen a handful of times since it sank in 1898, taking nine lives.

    Meekel also led an expedition last fall, which inspected the Ainsworth’s debris field.

    He says their first challenge this time was finding the ship, which rests 117 metres underwater off Crawford Bay. Although they had global positioning coordinates from a 1990 survey of the wreck, they no longer apply under today’s system.

    “We didn’t really have even a starting point last year when we were looking,” he says.

    “We went back to the original data, based on some simple angles and triangulation off a couple landmarks. We used that and satellite images to come up with new lattitude and longitude for where the wreck should have been.”

    Although they had some problems with shifting winds, the sonar confirmed something was down there. But they had to wait a day for better weather before they could drop the video camera-equipped robot and verify it as the Ainsworth.


    Full story...



  • Sunken WWII destroyer off Cape May holds family's fascination and its fate

    U.S. Navy photo shows the destroyer USS Jacob Jones, which was torpedoed and sunk 25 miles off Cape May on Feb. 27, 1942, killing 131 of 142 men aboard


    By Michael Miller - Press of Atlantic City


    Retired U.S. Navy Master Chief Joseph Tidwell will return to Cape May on Sunday for the first time since he was rescued during a submarine attack off the coast in World War II.

    Tidwell, 91, worked in the engine room aboard the USS Jacob Jones, a destroyer that was hunting German submarines off Cape May County.

    He was one of only 11 survivors in the Feb. 27, 1942, attack that sunk the ship and killed 131 sailors. He is returning to Cape May all these years later because his grandson, U.S. Navy Cmdr. Eric Tidwell, dived on the wreck 25 miles off Cape May.

    The dive Friday marked an intersection of generations and career choices that have defined the two men. The events of that freezing morning off Cape May 69 years ago nearly spelled oblivion for Tidwell and his descendants.

    “It was quite a day,” Tidwell recalled by phone from his home in Middleburg, Fla.

    The destroyer was named for Commodore Jacob Jones, a naval hero who defeated the British ship Frolic off the Delaware Bay during the War of 1812. The massive ship, more than 300 feet long, was built in Camden and launched in 1918 in a ceremony that featured Jones’ great-granddaughter.

    Tidwell and his destroyer steamed out of New York Harbor on Feb. 27, 1942, to patrol the New Jersey coastline.

    German U-boat attacks were an increasing menace off the American coast in the early years of the war, prompting the hasty construction of lookout towers such as the one in Lower Township that still stands today.

    Almost immediately, the crew was dispatched to the sinking oil tanker R.P. Resor about 5 miles off Manasquan Inlet.

    Smoke and flames from the torpedoed tanker could be seen from beaches in Monmouth County, an account in the Asbury Park Press states.

    Finding no survivors, the destroyer continued its patrol that night, heading south to the Delaware Bay. Tidwell and the rest of the 141 men aboard had no idea they were being stalked by the same German U-boat that sank the tanker.


    Full story...


     

  • 10 extraordinary modern shipwrecks

    Shipwreck


    From Top Online Colleges


    Shipwrecks aren't really considered a modern problem. Air transportation, which is obviously much more efficient, supplanted ocean liners decades ago, causing the romanticism that came with setting out on long overseas journeys to fade.

    Even still, ships remain a large part of worldwide commerce and transportation, the latter of which is more common in poor countries, where unfortunate accidents are more frequent.

    The following shipwrecks range from small-scale tragedies to unforgettable catastrophes, capturing headlines worldwide when they occurred. 

    1 - USCGC White Alder (1968):

    Longtime residents of New Orleans still discuss the plight of the White Alder, a former Navy YF-257-class lighter assigned to tend river aids-to-navigation and various other Coast Guard duties.

    The ship met its demise in the early evening of December, when it collided with a 455-foot Taiwanese freighter in the Mississippi River near White Castle, Louisiana, killing 17 of the 20 crew members. Just three of the dead were recovered due to the thick river sediment that quickly buried the cutter. More than 40 years later, 14 crewmen remain at the bottom of the Mississippi.


    2 - SS Edmund Fitzgerald (1977):

    Perhaps America's most famous modern shipwreck, the Edmund Fitzgerald is still a fresh wound for the families of the 29 crew members who perished that night. When it was launched, it was the biggest ship on the Great Lakes, and its large hauls made it extremely valuable during its 17-year run.

    En route to a steel mill near Detroit from Superior, Wisconsin, the freighter encountered a winter storm with hurricane-force winds that created 35-foot waves. With a bad list, broken radars and water engulfing the deck, it sank 17 miles from Whitefish Bay. No distress signals were sent out, and Captain Ernest McSorley, who planned to retire at the end of shipping season, last reported "We are holding our own."


    3) Rainbow Warrior (1985):

    A former UK Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food trawler, the Rainbow Warrior was operated by Greenpeace to curtail whaling, seal hunting and nuclear testing, most notably evacuating 300 Marshall Islanders from Rongelap Atoll, a former US nuclear testing area. Docked in a harbor in New Zealand, it suffered two large, crippling explosions that sent it under water — photographer Fernando Pereira was killed when he returned to the ship to collect his equipment as the second explosion occurred.

    Two French secret service agents were arrested, and the nation denied involvement until a British newspaper revealed French President Francois Mitterrand authorized the plan. The scandal resulted in several high-profile resignations in the French government.


    Full story...



  • NJ shipwrecks offer wealth of history

    Diving an underwater wreck
    By Sandra K. Lee - Warren Patch - Photo Gary Szabo


    The camera panned along the side of a boat until the words Alex Mac appear in bold, black letters. The vessel is lying on its side, 70 feet below the ocean surface.

    Filming occurred only a few weeks following the scallop boat's sinking in 2006, after being struck by a steel barge.

    Besides some algae growing and the marine life, the wooden boat appeared much as it might have while on the surface.

    The same could not be said for the next ship, the Stolt Dagali, lying in 130 feet of water after sinking in 1964 about 18 miles from the Manasquan Inlet.

    Barnacles covered the framework of the tanker and fish swam lazily amidst the structure, which was sometimes difficult to discern from the ocean life surrounding it. One of the distinguishable features was the encrusted rungs of a ladder descending into darkness.

    The twisted wreckage of the R.P. Resor, a ship torpedoed by a German U-Boat in 1942, also appeared in the murky waters.

    Like the Stolt Dagali, its shape was sometimes difficult to distinguish from the marine life that has made the former tanker home.

    All three vessels are among the hundreds, possibly thousands, of ships meeting tragic ends and now resting on the ocean floor—sanctuary for marine life and an attraction for divers. They also were part of veteran diver Gary Szabo's talk to a packed room at the Warren Township Library Tuesday night.

    Szabo shared video footage of his dives to the three wreck sites and anecdotes about his 30-year diving career which has included five trips to the Andrea Doria, nicknamed the "Mt. Everest of Shipwreck Diving," and numerous wrecks in North Carolina, the South Pacific and New Jersey.

    "My favorite place to dive is right here in our own backyard in New Jersey," said Szabo, a Trenton firefighter who works in the city's dive unit. "New Jersey has a very rich and active underwater world."

    Szabo noted that with the currents, potential visibility issues and colder temperatures, the area might not appeal to many divers.

    "There's a saying that if you could dive in New Jersey, you could dive anywhere in the world," said Szabo, adding that this season so far has offered ideal conditions.

    When asked by an audience member when he's found the best visibility diving off New Jersey's coast, he quipped, "The best visibility is the day I leave my camera at home."

    Because of the state's proximity to New York and major shipping lanes, the coastline has an abundance of wrecks due to weather, collisions and even acts of war.


    Full story...



  • 2 shipwrecks found in Lake Huron

     


    By M.F. Merrick and Etruria - Wood TV


    A team of underwater explorers has found two long-lost shipwrecks in northeastern Lake Huron.

    Thunder Bay Marine Sanctuary on Wednesday announced the discovery of the schooner M.F. Merrick and the steel freighter Etruria in deep water off Presque Isle.

    They were detected during an expedition called "Project Shiphunt," which involved scientists and historians from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration and five high school students from Saginaw.

    Both ships sank after colliding with steamers in dense fog.

    The 138-foot-long Merrick went down in 1889. Five crew members were killed. The intact hull was found resting upright on the lake bottom.

    The Etruria, which was 414 feet long, sank in 1905 -- just three years after it was launched.

    A documentary about the expedition will be released Aug. 30.

     

     

     


     

  • Eastbourne divers to act as guardians of wreck

    From the Eastbourne Herald


    Sovereign Divers are to act as guardians of a shipwreck in Normans Bay dating from around 1700. 

    The Eastbourne’s branch of the British Sub-Aqua Club has been asked by the Nautical Archaeological Society (NAS) to watch over the wreck which lies a few miles off the coast of Normans Bay.

    It is thought to be HMS Resolution, a British warship which sank in the Great Storm of 1703, or one of seven Dutch warships that went down during the Battle of Beachy Head in 1690. In either case, it is of historical importance and is designated as a protected wreck, meaning that no diving or fishing can take place within 100 metres of the site.

    So far more than 42 cannons and a number of other artefacts including a large anchor have been found. Unfortunately, the ship’s bell and other items which would give a positive identification of the shipwreck have yet to be found.

    Only divers who are licensed by the NAS and English Heritage may dive on the wreck and Sovereign Divers has been asked to keep a watchful eye on the site to make sure only authorised diving takes place.

    The NAS has also started to survey the site in detail and aims to offer authorised divers a trail so they can find the main points of interest on the wreck such as the cannons and the remains of what is thought to be the ship’s galley.

    Graham Smith, chairman of Sovereign Divers, said, “This is a fantastic collaboration between us and the NAS.

    “The wreck is only three miles from our harbour and we aim to make regular trips to the site and to assist the NAS and English Heritage in monitoring and recording this historic wreck.”


    Full story...



  • Maroubra shipwreck hidden gem

    The photographer, Maroubra local Glenn Duffus said the conditions to view the wreck were the best he'd seen them for years. 
    Photo Glenn Duffus


    By Nick Moncrieff-Hill - Southern Courier


    A still winter’s day has given a group of lucky snorkelers a window into the maritime history of Maroubra.

    Usually known for its above surface delights Maroubra showed off one of its hidden gems recently in the wonderfully preserved wreckage of the Hereward.

    The 1,513 tonne, 254 foot iron clipper built in Glasgow in 1877 made frequent trips between London and Sydney as a trading ship with general cargo.

    Until, on a trip from the Dutch East Indies to Newcastle on May 5 1898 to load coal for South America, the Hereward was whipped by 47 mile per hour winds onto the northern end of Maroubra beach.

    Thousands of sightseers visited the wreck before it was sold for 550 pounds. Then after several attempts to refloat her, the Hereward was eventually broken in two by the Maroubra surf.

    Maritime archaeologist at the Australia National Maritime Museum Kieran Hosty confirmed the shipwreck was likely that of the Hereward.

    “There are three known shipwrecks on Maroubra Beach; the Belbowrie 1939, Tekapo 1899 and the Hereward 1898,” Mr Hosty said.

    “The photographs show part of the lower hull and side of a late 19th century early 20th century iron or steel hulled ship.

    “The absence of an engine, boiler and propeller seems to indicate that it was a sailing rather than a steam vessel ... I suggest the remains belong to the iron sailing ship Hereward.”

    The photographer, Maroubra local Glenn Duffus said the conditions to view the wreck were the best he’d seen them for years.



  • Newport diver helps end maritime mystery


    A Newport diver has helped solve one of Victoria’s most puzzling maritime mysteries by locating a long-lost shipwreck nearly 80 years after it sank.

    Peter Taylor, who first started searching for the TSS Coramba almost 30 years ago, said the May 29 discovery was years ahead of schedule.

    “It was a big surprise (and) I wasn’t expecting to find it for a few more years yet,” Mr Taylor said. “We were over the moon to ... find it ahead of schedule.”

    The cargo vessel, found by Mr Taylor and a team from not-for-profit group Southern Ocean Exploration, sank en route to Williamstown on November 30, 1934, when it encountered wild weather in Bass Strait.

    Seventeen crew members, including captain John Dowling, from The Strand, Williamstown, and two local men, perished in the disaster.

    The Coramba was long thought to be resting off Seal Rocks near Phillip Island. Mr Taylor and his crew discovered the stricken vessel about nine nautical miles away, 60m under water. Mr Taylor said the ship was “reasonably intact” and divers would return to the wreck to survey its contents.

    “There’s every possibility there’s still skeletal remains there,” he said. “It went down very quickly and only four (of the 17) crew were found.”

    Maritime historian Des Williams, who wrote a book on the Coramba - titled The Ship that the Sea Swallowed - informed the crew’s families of the discovery.



  • Michigan's Great Lakes offer 'the best shipwreck diving in the world'

    Divers follow a rope to explore The Gunilda, a 200-foot luxury yacht from New York City that sank in Lake Superior in 1911 
    Photo Doug Bell


    By Bill Semion - MLive


    Experienced divers know a little secret about Michigan: it has a corner on the world’s scuba diving market.

    Instead of heading to the Caribbean or the wreck-rich waters off the Carolinas, thousands of divers choose to jump with both flippers into Michigan’s Great Lakes waters.

    Doug Bell, owner of Traverse City’s Scuba North, said Michigan ranks among the top 10 states in the number of certified divers and is considered world class for wrecks.

    "In my opinion, and I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to quite a bit to a lot of locations to dive, the Great Lakes offer the best shipwreck diving in the world," Bell said.

    Four of the five lakes touch state boundaries and had ship traffic for nearly 400 years. That’s 400 years of wrecks available. Many are perfectly preserved having sunk in fresh and relatively cold water.

    "A lot of people in the diving community are scared off by the Great Lakes," Bell said. "They go to Florida or North Carolina and think our lakes are too cold. That’s a real fallacy. Once you have the proper training and equipment, the cold really isn’t the deterrent people imagine.

    "We have wrecks you can dive dating to the mid-1700s up to the 1960s, from schooners, to Great Lakes ore carriers and everything in between."

    Many of those wrecks are found in one of the Michigan’s 13 underwater preserves.

    The preserve system is administered by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

    It was created in 1980 by legislation drafted by sport divers to provide diving opportunities and protect sunken ships from being ravaged by artifact hunters.

    Other wrecks lay strewn across shoals and deep lands of the lakes, many with artifacts still intact.


    Full story...



  • Chance find of '34 Strait shipwreck

    Divers Martin Tozer and Mark Ryan were part of the crew who found the TSS Coramba south of Phillip Island


    From Mornington Peninsula Leader


    It was a calm, overcast day with little wind when a team of divers plunged into Bass Strait before descending 62m and shining the beams of their torches upon a ship lost almost 80 years ago.

    Those conditions were a far cry from the extreme, wild weather that caused the 160ft turbine steamer the TSS Coramba to go down in November 1934, taking with it the lives of the 17 men on board.

    Mt Martha diver Mark Ryan said he and other Southern Ocean Exploration divers had been searching for another wreck south of Phillip Island when they happened upon the much larger bounty, with a dive on May 29 confirming it as the Coramba.

    “We identified it by the fact it had twin propellers (as) there was nothing else out there that had two propellers,” he said.

    “That was our Eureka moment.”

    Mr Ryan said the ship - which sank 10km southeast of Flinders - was in relatively good condition, but with a badly damaged front end after possibly being smashed by a freak wave.

    He said Des Williams - who had searched for the wreck for 30 years and written a book about it - was on board that day and said they all felt emotional and relieved at finally locating the ship.

    Full story...



  • Shipwreck identification could facilitate ownership

    By David Ferrara - Blog


    While Fathom Exploration holds the salvage rights to four sites in Alabama waters, Chief U.S. District Judge William H. Steele scolded the company for failing to inform the court before the identity of the British ship Amstel was publicly unveiled at a news conference earlier this month.

    "If Fathom has conclusively identified the wreck, then there would appear to be no need whatsoever to maintain a five-and-a-half-year stay to facilitate such identification," Steele wrote after a June 2 Press-Register story about the shipwreck.

    But the announcement could expedite a ruling on who has the rights to the wreckage.

    The case has been on hold for almost six years while Fathom Exploration attempts to identify the wreckage at four sites in Alabama waters.

    Ultimately, the judge is expected to decided who can claim ownership to the artifacts — the state, the exploration company or a Mobile man who believes one of the sites is that of the 19th century clipper ship Robert H. Dixey. He is an heir of the ship’s captain.

    Michael E. Mark, the lawyer for Fathom, said that he now plans to file a motion to lift the stay on the first site, where the Amstel was located, and have the court move forward with identifying the owner of the ship.

    "Given that there are three additional sites which remain unidentified, the identification and announcement of ‘Site 1’ necessarily made this matter more complicated vis-a-vis the stay over the entire litigation," Mark wrote in response to the judge’s order.

    Mark said operations planned for last summer "would have made Fathom’s identification of the site irrefutable," but the work was scrubbed because of the BP oil spill.


    Full story...



  • Famous shipwreck found off N.C.

    Crissie Wright


    By Jay Price - News Observer


    A nonprofit marine archaeology company thinks it has found one of the most legendary shipwrecks on a stretch of North Carolina coast famous for them.

    The three-masted schooner Crissie Wright went aground and partially sank in shallow water just off Shackleford Banks on Jan. 11, 1886, near the now-vanished community of Diamond City. Shackleford Banks is the barrier island just across Beaufort Inlet from Fort Macon State Park.

    The wreck was visible for months after it occurred, said Rob Smith, president of the Beaufort-based Surface Interval Dive Co., which had looked for the wreck for 15 years with no luck.

    Historical accounts of its location put it due south of the DiamondCity Graveyard, which Smith said his team had not been able to find.

    But Smith's company got a break when it recently received information about the location of the graveyard. Using equipment such as a magnetometer, which can detect metal objects such as the fasteners that hold a wooden ship together, searchers almost immediately found a large wreck where expected, just outside the surf line, buried under the sand.

    "I don't normally jump to conclusions, but because of the location and the new information we received about the graveyard location, I'd say the chances are 85 percent that this is it," Smith said.

    The ship was close enough to shore that the seven-man crew, which had survived the sinking, could be seen by a crowd that gathered on the beach.

    But seas were too rough for local fishermen to reach them, and then the temperature plummeted, with some reports saying it went as low as 8 degrees overnight. Bonfires were built ashore to be ready to warm the crew members when they were finally rescued, but it was a day and a half before anyone could reach the ship.

    The Crissie Wright crew, soaked and freezing, apparently climbed into the rigging to stay out of the seas sweeping the deck. At least three crew members either fell or were swept into the sea, and the others began freezing to death, one by one.

    When rescuers finally climbed aboard, they found just one survivor, barely alive, under the rigid bodies of three of his shipmates, all of them wrapped in a sail. Those three were buried in a common grave in Beaufort, and the story of the Crissie Wright's end became a local legend, told by generation after generation.


    Full story...



  • Divers go deep for unexplored UAE wrecks

    Technical diving to depths of 100 metres and more is a dangerous endeavor that takes special equipment 
    Photo Antonie Robertson


    By Colin Simpson - The National


    They have to go deep, these divers, sometimes 100 metres or more below the surface.

    Conditions can be bad down there, so dark they sometimes do not know they have found what they are looking for until the darkness opens suddenly revealing the prize: an unmistakable V-shape of a shipwreck.

    "It's just an absolute blast when you see one of the wrecks," said Nick van der Walt, a diver from New Zealand.

    "You go down and you go through these layers of water and then you get a dark layer of plankton, and you go through that and then it's like a theatre curtain opening as you look down on the wreck with the divers' torch beams flashing across it."

    Dr van der Walt is part of an informal group of a dozen divers in Dubai - a group that includes two women, a teacher and an airline pilot - working on a project that would see them find and dive every deep shipwreck in the Gulf of Oman, off the coast of Fujairah up to the tip of Musandam.

    The project, launched back in November 2009 through team leader, Bill Leeman, requires them to dive deeper than conventional equipment can take them, more than double the typical 40 metres below the surface.

    These wrecks lie at 100 metres or more, requiring technical diving that involves adept skills, a special mix of gases and complicated equipment.

    "Currently there are five brand new wrecks that had never been dived before, which we've dived, and there are three or four left that we haven't found yet," said Mr Leeman.

    "When you're the first one to see one of these wrecks, and to physically touch it, it's fantastic. You've achieved something, you've found it, you've dived it, and then everybody can go after you."

    They are able to go so deep because they breathe mixtures of helium, oxygen and nitrogen, known as trimix.

    The wreck-finders are amateurs with day jobs, "to pay for the diving", said Mr Leeman.

    A five-day boat trip, the usual length of their wreck excursions, costs about Dh4,000 per person. They have all undergone a considerable amount of special training, led by Mr Leeman, who was trained in the UAE as a technical diving instructor.


    Full story...



  • Sweet relief as wreck find ends 76-year mystery

    A propeller of the recently discovered Coramba


    By Stephen Cauchi - The age


    The loss of the Coramba's crew devastated Depression-era Victoria; now the discovery of the steamer's wreck has brought closure to some families.

    It is more than 76 years since Audrey O'Callaghan last saw her father, Captain John Dowling, but she remembers their last moments together with a clarity born of reliving them in her mind countless times since.

    She was 12 when she walked her 47-year-old father to the bus stop at Williamstown before he set off on one last journey on the cargo steamer TSS Coramba. The return trip to Warrnambool in the state's south-west to collect goods meant he would be gone for a fortnight. But she recalls feeling uneasy.

    ''We were very close … I kissed him good-bye and I said, 'Dad, I wish you were at home every night like other dads.' He said, 'I won't be long,' '' Mrs O'Callaghan, 88, told The Sunday Age from her home in Angaston, in the Barossa Valley.

    But the captain's promise was not to be, and his daughter's fears proved well founded.

    By the time the Coramba was due to leave Warrnambool, the weather had turned. Captain Dowling requested permission from the shipping office to delay his return, but was ordered out to sea.

    In one of Victoria's worst maritime disasters, the Coramba capsized off Phillip Island during a storm on 30 November, 1934, and all 17 on board died.


    Full story...



  • Story of Civil War-era merchant ship told through 700-pound bell

    David Anderson (far left), with Fathom Exploration and Frank White, Executive Director of the Alabama Historical Commission, examine a bronze bell after a press conference at LuLu's at Homeport Marina Thursday, June 2, 2011 The bell was recovered from the wreckage of the previously unknown shipwreck of the British Bark Amstel 
    Photo Bill Starling


    By David Ferrara - Blog


    A sound rang out Thursday — in the key of B — that had not been heard in at least 150 years, ghostly echoes of a piece of previously undocumented Civil War history.

    David Anderson, who first discovered the 31-inch-tall bell aboard a sunken ship near the mouth of Mobile Bay, tapped the 700-pound hunk of bronze 3 times with a sledgehammer.

    “This became known around our place as the mystery wreck,” Anderson said. “It has fallen through the cracks of time.”

    When Anderson first spotted the wreckage in about 30 feet of water seven years ago, he figured that it was from a shipwreck in the 1900s. But when he pulled out the bell and cleaned it, he noticed the 1860 marking from Meneely Bell in West Troy, N.Y.

    The wreck of this 250-foot merchant sailing vessel — the Amstel — was not even listed in any compilation of ships lost in the Mobile area, Anderson said.

    “When the date became visible, we had to take a step back,” he said.

    So Anderson, the CEO of Gulf Shores-based Fathom Explorations, began his research to figure out what happened to the British bark.

    Through captains’ logs — both Union and Confederate — and newspaper articles the story of the first Civil War naval engagement in Alabama began to unfold.

    The Amstel was likely rushing back to Mobile for high-valued cotton before the bay was closed off by a Union blockade.

    The ship was apparently carrying cargo for a large construction project, Anderson said. The bell is too large to have been used on the ship, and divers have also discovered large, 2.5-inch thick slabs of Pennsylvania blue stone.

    Anderson and state officials said they are unaware of a major building project planned for the area at the time.

    “One of the key mysteries about this wreck is: Where was this building?” Anderson said. “What were they trying to build out of all this?

    “If you were building something big in the spring of 1861 and you’ve lost your cargo, we probably found it.”

    It’s not uncommon to find sunken ships around Mobile Bay, said Anderson, who has excavated shipwrecks around the world. The area is known as the “graveyard of the Gulf.”

    In its haste to pick up the cotton, the Amstel snagged on a sand bar, known as Mobile Bar or Dixey Bar, some two nautical miles southwest of Fort Morgan.

    The Union blockade commandeered a schooner from Mississippi that came to salvage the cargo aboard the Amstel.

    “So the Amstel sits on Mobile Bar and slowly falls to pieces,” before ultimately sinking, Anderson said.

    No one is believed to have died when the ship went down — the crew of at least 22 people had long since abandoned it.


    Full story...



  • More deep dives reveal true identity of Bermagui shipwreck

    Sydney Project diver Samir Alhafith suited up before an earlier dive off Bermagui showing all the equipment needed to reach such extreme depths


    By Stan Gorton - Marooma News


    Volunteer extreme scuba divers have come up with a surprising revelation about the real identity of a World War II shipwreck off Bermagui.

    The wreck formerly thought to be the BHP freighter Iron Knight is now believed to be another wartime ship sunk by a Japanese submarine.

    Divers from the Sydney Project extreme diving group have continued their programs of dives on ships where they lie 120 to 140 metres down on the edge of the continental shelf.

    The dives are not without risk as the project lost one of their own when diver Sven Paepke died in 2007 diving on the wreck formerly thought to be the Iron Knight. His body has never been recovered.

    The ship first located by trawlers operating out of Bermagui was incorrectly identified as the Iron Knight the year before thanks to Sydney Project dives.

    The NSW Heritage Office then organised a ceremony of relatives of the Iron Knight to lay wreaths on the site, but now it is believed that wreck is more likely out beyond 40 kilometres in the shipping lines and at least 4 kilometres down where it will probably never be found.

    The real identity of the wreck formerly thought to be Iron Knight has become clearer thanks to the continued efforts of the Sydney Project.

    “The public during war and even now didn’t realise how much submarine activity there was,” Sydney Project diver Samir Alhafith said.

    “The depths make it harder but we’re bringing to history to life and revealing how many ships and lives were lost during the war.”

    Mr Alhafith and his colleagues have dived on the wreck and another nearby wreck known to be that of the Liberty ship William Dawes six times in the last year or so.

    Each time they have been taken out and assisted by local charter boat operator Keith Appleby.

    Diving on a wreck 120 metres down entails dropping quickly to the bottom for a bottom-time of just 20 to 25 minutes and then slowly coming back with a decompression time of up to five and half hours.

    Mr Alahfith said the certain factors about the shipwreck formerly thought to be Iron Knight were just not adding up with underwater scooters allowing the divers to transverse the full length of the wrecks.



  • Torrey Canyon seabed returns to normal after oil spill

    The BBC team believe they are the first film crew to dive the Torrey Canyon wreck


    From BBC News


    The seabed off the Cornish coast seems to have almost recovered after an oil tanker spill in 1967, writes Paul Rose, expert diver and presenter on BBC programme Britain's Secret Seas.

    The Torrey Canyon is the largest shipwreck in British waters, and as she sits a long way from shore amongst the same hazardous rocks that she ran on to, its not the easiest wreck to get to.

    On Saturday, 18 March 1967, she ran aground carrying over 119,000 tonnes of crude oil, which gushed out into the pristine Atlantic waters.

    She had run into one of the infamous Seven Stones rock pinnacles, which lay 15 nautical miles west from Lands End and seven nautical miles from the Scilly Isles, which make it a hard wreck to reach.

    We believe our team is the first to film the wreck, which is in an area often hit by storms. As I rolled off the boat into heaving waters caused by constant huge Atlantic swells, I entered a great swaying underwater forest of kelp.

    The water was gin clear and the huge kelp fronds were in a mad rhythm of bending, then standing straight up, swinging and heaving to the forces of the sea.

    It was a great, vibrant start to the dive, but it looked to me as if we had missed the Torrey Canyon completely, as after all she is said to be well broken up over 2 sq km of the seabed.

    I then realised that I was on the wreck - the huge hull plates have so much life on them that they look just like rocks or the bottom. The sea has reclaimed the wreck and it is teeming with life.

    Things started to make sense and as I swam along the steel plates I joined large schools of wrasse, pollock and pouting.

    Some of the schools were moving purposefully along the wreck sides and others had relaxed into shoals underneath and inside the wreckage.


    Read more...



  • Couple find 19th century shipwreck

    From The Jakarta Globe


    A ship that sank more than 150 years ago in Borneo waters after visiting Singapore has been found by two Australians.

    Part-time marine archaeologists Hans and Roz Berekoven - who are married to each other - said their find was unlikely to yield any treasures as the ship had been a British cargo vessel, but it could add to knowledge of trade then.

    'No gold,' Mr Berekoven, 64, said in an interview in Singapore. 'Just cutlery and a few bottles of really well-aged wine.'

    In 1842, the Viscount Melbourne sailed from India en route to China and docked in Singapore to pick up supplies and passengers. It left with more than 70 people on board.

    Three days after it left Singapore, the vessel was hit by a squall. It was left stranded on a coral reef.

    The ship had to be abandoned as the cotton bales it carried would expand when wet.

    One survivor wrote in his diary that the bales would 'swell and inevitably blow up the ship'.

    The crew and passengers, evacuated in boats, spent weeks at sea before reaching nearby Borneo. Their journey was fraught with dangers such as bad weather and encounters with pirates.

    Britain even sent a second ship, the Royalist, to look for the survivors. The Viscount Melbourne was left on the reef since it carried nothing of value. It eventually sank.

    Newspapers in the region reported on its loss at the time but interest faded and the wreck was abandoned to its fate.

    Then in 1950, The Straits Times published a series of articles on the survivors' struggle to reach Borneo. The series, titled 'A perilous sea voyage', gave the Berekovens the key to finding the wreck.


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  • More sunken ships found in Bedwell Bay

    By Jennifer McFee - Vancouver Sun


    Deep under the waters of Bedwell Bay, history meets mystery in a graveyard of sunken ships, including two new wrecks documented earlier this month.

    In mid-April, divers from the Shipwreck Exploration Team descended to murky depths in Bedwell Bay, located next to the Village of Belcarra near the start of Indian Arm.

    They had been planning to shoot a video of the four known wrecks sunken in the area. But when they asked the Canadian Hydrographic Service for a sonar scan of Bedwell Bay, they discovered two more mystery targets.

    Technical diver Dirk De keersmaecker was on the team that descended more than 100 feet to explore the underwater remains of a large wooden ship.

    "We saw a really large object. It was close to 100 feet long, six to eight feet wide, but it didn't really look like a ship ... It's probably over 100 years old.

    That's the reason why there's so little left of it. Basically there's the beam left, some of the decking, some of the side beams, but the rest of the hull is actually gone and there's none of the super structures present anymore," said De keersmaecker, a New Westminster resident.

    "It is quite thrilling if it is indeed 100 years old. We're very curious of what it can be. We'll have to do some future dives and do some more measurements and look at all the artifacts that are there to try to figure out the history."

    De keersmaecker and the other divers hired a local charter service to bring them to the other submerged target, located on the other side of Bedwell Bay.

    "It was a barge that was upside down. We do have the video. We do have the measurements. So the work is, of course, trying to figure out what it was used for. Normally a metal barge like this is a maximum [of] 40 years old," he said. "If it is a fresh sunken barge, then somebody might salvage it, repair it and use it again.

    Now if it's been down there for 20 or 30 years, which we think this one probably has, then it's too rusted to use again so they would probably just leave it there. Very likely, nobody wants to admit that they own the barge because then they have to bring it up."

    Jacques Marc, explorations director for the Underwater Archeological Society of B.C., said Bedwell Bay has historically been a dumping ground for abandoned vessels.



  • Navy destroyer will serve as reef

    By Scott Muska - DelMarva Now


    Ship that will be sunk off Ocean City coast should boost fishing and diving.

    A former Navy destroyer will soon be sunk off the Maryland coast to serve as a fish-attracting artificial reef.

    The USS Arthur W. Radford, a 563-foot vessel, will be sunk in about 130 feet of water in an area about 28 miles northeast of the Ocean City Inlet. The ship will serve as the largest artificial reef to be planted on the East Coast to date, according to Monty Hawkins, chairman of the Maryland Artificial Reef Committee.

    "It's just a very big, bodacious project, and I have every expectation it will be a fantastic reef," said Hawkins, who is also an Ocean City Reef Foundation board member.

    The boat's sinking location has been mapped to be roughly equidistant between Indian River Inlet, Cape May and Ocean City. Environmental entities from the three states are collaborating on the effort, with the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control leading the project.

    The vessel will be sunk in the Del-Jersey-Land artificial reef, where numerous other objects and vessels -- including wooden dry docks and two World War II era U-boats -- have been sunk previously, Hawkins said.

    The new reef site should eventually be a big economic boost and an attraction for fishing and scuba diving, said Erik Zlokovitz, artificial reef coordinator for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

    "It's going to be a great fishing habitat and an impressive site for scuba divers," Zlokovitz said. "I think it'll be an economic boost, and fishing and diving boats from all three states are going to benefit."



  • Rust in peace: Stunning shipwrecks captured on camera around the world

    One of the motorbikes found inside the hold of HMS Thistlegorm, which was sunk in the Red Sea by German bombers in 1941. The bikes were bound for British troops


    From the Daily Mail


    An intrepid British photographer has travelled the world snapping pictures of the bizarre things lying on the sea bed.

    Diving enthusiast Alex Mustard, 36, has made many strange discoveries while exploring beneath the water's surface.

    His pictures, taken while investigating the insides of eerie shipwrecks, include barnacle-covered motorbikes once meant for British troops in World War Two.

    Rusty British trucks also lie forgotten in their watery graves along with rifles that have never been used, and one extraordinary photo even shows the shell of the iconic VW Beetle car.

    Alex, from Southampton, Hampshire, said: 'Wrecks attract divers because of the incongruity of seeing something from above the waves beneath them.

    'The VW Beetle was purposely sunk for divers and it's particularly bizarre - it's the last thing you would expect to sea underwater.


    Read more...



  • Shipwrecks abundant in Wellington

    The wreck of the Wahine is salvaged in 1968


    From The Dominion Post


    All along Wellington's stormy South Coast lie the victims of howling gales and bad decisions. Swamped by monstrous waves or steered blindly on to rocks, shipwrecks dot the bays and inlets, sheltering slices of history and plenty of crayfish.

    Owhiro Bay, a treasure trove of four easily accessible wrecks, is a popular spot for novice divers.

    Dave Drane, who owns Splash Gordon dive centre in Island Bay and has been diving in Wellington waters for more than 20 years, says the Yung Pen is a good wreck for beginner divers to test the waters.

    "It's a nice easy shore dive: you just walk off the beach about seven metres, so it's a good one for new divers."

    The Yung Pen is one of Wellington's youngest wrecks, a squid boat that sank in 1982. Owhiro Bay is also home to the Cyrus and the Wellington, which went down on the same day, and the Progress, which took four of its crew down with it when it sank in 1931.

    The four wrecks in Owhiro Bay can be covered in a couple of diving trips, Mr Drane says, and provide a variety of wreck-diving experiences.

    "They're all in different states. There are wrecks everywhere in Wellington. We do wreck trails, taking people from one to the other."

    Some wrecks, especially those that sank many years ago, are little more than nuts and bolts now pieces of metal and wood that only the trained eye would recognise as once being part of a ship.

    But there are several nearly intact hulls down there too, that divers can venture inside if they know what they're doing.

    "The Wellington F69 frigate broke up into three pieces, which was a shame, but you can still go into parts of it," Mr Drane says. "The Yung Pen is still intact, and the South Sea you can peek in but the sea is so unforgiving."


    Read more...



  • Sink and swim

    Divers examine the wreck of the Kittiwake


    By Jeremy Taylor - FT


    Standing on the bridge of the USS Kittiwake, I turn the helmsman’s wheel, check the navigator’s compass and imagine I’m steering a course across the ocean. But the crew has long since jumped ship and the engines are dead.

    Earlier this month, the Kittiwake sank close to the coast of the Cayman Islands, not as a result of a storm or an accident, but in a controlled, deliberate operation masterminded by the islands’ tourism authorities.

    They had spotted the growth in popularity in scuba diving on wrecks, such as those from the second world war at Scotland’s Scapa Flow and Truk Lagoon off Micronesia, and set about luring a new wreck to their warm, clear waters.

    Launched in 1945, the 251ft, 2,200-ton Kittiwake was originally built to rescue sailors from downed submarines. During 50 years of service, she took part in countless missions around the world.

    They included recovering the black box from the Challenger space shuttle disaster, as well as saving the lives of many in peril on the sea.

    This is the first time the US navy has donated a decommissioned ship to a foreign country for wreck diving and tourism officials behind the plan soon discovered it was a process wrapped up in enough red tape to sink a battleship.

    “Our original plan was to sink five ships at different locations around Grand Cayman and call it Shipwreck City,” explained Nancy Easterbrook, who first came up with the idea of sinking a ship in the Cayman Islands and spent seven years bringing the project to fruition.

    A member of the Cayman Islands Tourism Association, she also runs Divetech, one of the island’s biggest diving companies.


    Read more...



  • US Navy ship sunk to create new diving attraction

    USS Kittiwake


    From NewsLite


    USS Kittiwake, a decommissioned US navy submarine rescue ship, has been intentionally sunk to create a scuba diving attraction.

    Now lying on the ocean floor off the Cayman Islands, the 251-foot long, five-deck military ship, will become an artificial reef for divers to enjoy.

    Officials say after acquiring the ship they cleaned it before flooding the rusty hull so it would sink upright and then punching holes into the hull and pumped in sea water.

    This caused the Kittiwake to sink dramatically in a cascade of bubbles, but don't take our word for it.

    The ship is now sitting under 60ft of water just off the coast of Grand Cayman Island and is quickly becoming home to curious creatures including stingrays, barracuda and various schools of smaller fish.

    It is hoped Kittiwake Cayman will soon become a destination for divers who will be able to snorkel overhead and see the main decks and topography of the ship or explore rooms of the wreck.


    Read and see more...



  • Divers may have found ship built in Everett in 1894

    City of Everett


    By Debra Smith - Herald


    The morning of Oct. 11, 1923 dawned dark and dangerous for the SS City of Everett.

    Overnight, a ferocious squall overtook the ship in deep waters miles off the Florida coast in the Gulf of Mexico. The crew of 26 men was headed to New Orleans with a cargo hold full of rich Cuban molasses.

    The first U.S. steamship to circle the globe and chug through the Suez Canal was to meet a bad end. Churning seas and high winds battered the ship, which launched from an Everett shipyard in 1894.

    The first mayday was broadcast at 7:30 a.m.

    “Am lowering boats. Will sink soon. Latitude 24.30 north, longitude 86 west.”

    Four words were sent before 8 a.m.: “Going down stern first.”

    One last SOS was sent, then the City of Everett was gone.

    Rescue ships arrived at the coordinates to find nothing but the timeless sea.

    Months later a bottle washed up on a Miami beach with a note stuffed inside.

    “S.S. Everett. This is the last of us. To dear friends who find this, good-bye for ever and ever.”

    Everett had sprung to life in 1890. A group of wealthy East Coast investors scrambled to build a manufacturing empire of factories, shops and stick-framed houses.

    A newfangled steamship design grabbed the imagination of Everett's founders, who learned of a cigar-shaped cargo fleet making money on the Great Lakes.

    It was decided that one of Everett's main industries would be the production of steel-hulled ships that would revolutionize marine transport.

    The Everett fleet would deliver wheat, iron ore, coal and lumber throughout the Pacific. They'd even steam goods to Atlantic ports by way of a canal that other visionaries of the time wanted to slice across Nicaragua.

    Designed by Alexander McDougall, a scrappy Scottish-born ship captain and inventor, the steel ships would carry significant loads while cutting efficiently through waves and wind.

    Unlike the wooden cargo ships of the time, McDougall created a ship with a flat bottom, a curved deck that shed water and a bow and stern that ended in tapered points. A wheelhouse was positioned toward the stern.


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  • Divers discover long lost wreck HMS Snaefell

    HMS Snaefell


    By Sarah Scott - Chronicle Live


    Deep beneath the waves she has lain lost for 70 years, her carcass gathering rust long after she braved the bombs of Dunkirk. But today the remarkable story of HMS Snaefell can finally be told after a group of divers located her, off the North East coast.

    The paddle steamer, which saw service as a minesweeper in both the First and Second World Wars, was bombed and sank in 1941, and all trace was lost.

    That is until Allan Lopez of North Shields, skipper of the Spellbinder II, came across the forgotten wreck.

    He said: “We kept it a secret for a bit. We have been opening up a lot of new wrecks and have found quite a lot over the last few years.

    “HMS Snaefell was one of the last boats away with survivors from Dunkirk. The wreck was supposed to be somewhere off Whitley Bay.”

    Brent Hudson, 40, of County Durham, was among the team of eight divers from the Silent Running Dive Team to come across the wreckage eight miles off the coast of Sunderland. 

    “Paddle steamers are very rare ships. When one of the divers reported he had seen paddles we did not believe him.

    “When we went down a second time we could clearly see them and we knew this was something special,” he said.


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  • Cape Breton a wreck-diver’s paradise

    By Chris Shannon - Cape Breton Post


    The coastal areas of Cape Breton Island have held secrets for hundreds of years as military powers looked to stabilize their colonies and migrants yearned to begin a new life in the New World only to chart a course that prematurely ended so many lives on the rocky Atlantic shore. 

    Shipwreck charts are dotted with spots up and down the coastline of Nova Scotia, particularly its northern most point of Saint Paul Island in Cape Breton.

    Underwater explorers Michael Gerhartz, Ronald Newcombe, and Harvey Morash are part of the Si-Tech Explorer Team from Atlantic Canada. Si-Tech is a Swedish drysuit and scuba gear manufacturer.

    The team has spent several months preoccupied with a 1834 shipwreck on Cape Breton’s eastern coastline, near the community of Little Lorraine.

    The Irish immigrant ship Astraea ran aground at night May 8, 1834, and quickly broke up, killing 248 people. There were only three survivors — a surgeon, a carpenter and a seaman.

    Researching background on the ship, the team came across a diary entry from Dr. Jerome O’Sullivan, one of the survivors of the shipwreck, and a letter written by the priest who oversaw the recovery of the bodies.

    The documents are held in trust at the Beaton Institute at Cape Breton University.

    Only tiny pieces of scattered timber, iron and brass remain of the wreckage after years of ocean currents and saltwater taking a toll on the debris.

    In June, the explorer team dived 30 metres down to the site of the Astraea to lay a plaque on the ocean floor in memory of the people who died aboard the ship.


     

  • Save the forgotten wrecks

    MV Cordiality


    By Malaka Rodrigo - The Sunday Times


    Abandoned shipwrecks rich in marine life have the potential to be steady magnets for dive tourism but they are being salvaged indiscriminately for scrap metal.

    MV Cordiality, a large ship operated by a Chinese crew was anchored in the seas off Pulmoddai, loading valuable ilmenite, when LTTE Sea Tigers attacked it on September 1997. Six sailors were killed and the ship sank with its cargo close to the shore.

    This war victim was forgotten within months, but nature claimed its ownership of the sunken vessel. Corals started growing on its large metal surface and thousands of fish and marine creatures have found the shipwreck a safe haven for the last 13 years.

    Now however the ship is being salvaged for scrap metal. 

    “The MV Cordiality shipwreck at Pulmoddai has now become a huge artificial coral reef in the ocean, transforming itself into an oasis of marine life,” says Darshana Jayawardane, a marine naturalist who went diving near the wreck in May.

    “One could spend hours just looking at the multitude of exquisite Lionfish, Scorpionfish, Butterflyfish, Juvenile Snappers, Nudibranchs and Fusiliers that swam around the massive hull. The huge towers, pillars and twisted pieces of metal lay around with ilmenite at the bottom, reminding one of a moon landscape,” Darshana said.

    MV Cordiality could be easily developed as a key destination to attract tourists who travel around the world exploring marine and coastal environments.

    Dive Tourism or wreck-diving is now becoming a huge business that forms a significant component of the growing global tourism industry. Sri Lanka has real potential to develop high-end Dive Tourism, based on these wrecks, point out marine specialists.

    But shipwrecks, especially in the North and East, are being destroyed for their metal. Authorities sometimes claim salvaging is done to clean the shallow waters or because the wrecks are a problem for fishermen who cannot lay their fishing nets due to the underlying wrecks.

    But what they do not know or consider is the long term value these wrecks can bring to our economy.

    The revenue that can be gained by Dive Tourism based on these shipwrecks can be much more than the wreck’s scrap metal value.

    If the average amount of metal that can be salvaged from this shipwreck is estimated as 15,000 metric tons and one kilogram of scrap metal is worth about 20 rupees – salvaging can bring Rs.300 million revenue from MV Cordiality.

    But the long term gains from marine tourism are much greater and nothing special has to be done compared to the money that is spent on salvage operations.

    The marine tourism potential of a ship wreck is in fact incremental because it is becomes richer with biodiversity and coral cover day by day.


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  • Lake Michigan shipwreck of 1856 almost claims 2 more lives

    By Meg Jones - The Journal Sentinel


    When the wooden steamship Niagara sank in Lake Michigan in 1856, scores of people died, their bodies washing ashore near what is now Harrington Beach Park.

    The wreck of the ship that carried to Wisconsin thousands of immigrants, mostly Germans and Scandinavians seeking new lives, has gotten a second life as a popular destination for scuba divers.

    The Niagara almost claimed two more lives on Sunday.

    Two Wisconsin divers who ventured out to the Niagara on the Fourth of July were recuperating in a hospital Monday from hypothermia after strong currents swept them away from the shipwreck and their boat that was moored to the wreck.

    Jamie Smallish, 28, and David Rittmann, 29, were reported missing around 7 p.m. Sunday when they failed to return from their diving excursion.

    They both were found on shore at about 11:30 p.m. near Amsterdam Beach several miles north of Harrington Beach. The wreck of the Niagara lies in 52 feet of water about one mile off the shore of Harrington Beach.

    "There were strong currents under the water pulling in different directions from the bottom current," said Marcus Evans, officer in charge of the U.S. Coast Guard station in Sheboygan on Monday. "When they surfaced, their boat was too far away and the winds were out of the southeast, so they were unable to swim back to the vessel."

    Smallish and Rittmann ditched their scuba tanks and weight belts - common in emergencies - and managed to swim to shore. Evans said the divers' scuba tanks washed ashore on Monday.

    Winds Sunday afternoon were blowing at 18 knots and waves were 2 feet, according to the marine weather report.

    While most scuba divers practice a buddy system and dive with a partner, for safety reasons it's best to have another person in the dive boat keeping an eye on divers in case of emergencies. If divers are blown off course, the boat can simply pick them up.

    "Leaving someone on the boat is the best practice and having someone watching your (air) bubbles to see where you're going," Evans said.

    Rittmann and Smallish were expected back around 3:30 or 4 p.m., and authorities were alerted around 7 p.m. The Ozaukee County Sheriff's Department sent a dive team to search the wreck but couldn't find the men.

    Their boat was empty and still moored to the wreck.

    The Coast Guard sent a boat and helicopter, arriving around 9 p.m.


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  • Ship discovered 112 years after disappearing - Lake Michigan

    By Meg Jones - Journal Sentinel


    For almost 112 years, the steamship rested in ghostly silence at the bottom of Lake Michigan, unknown and unseen until a group of divers kicked their way down to the deck and solved a perplexing maritime mystery.

    The deck houses were gone, the smokestack was tipped over and a wheelbarrow used to move cargo lay on the boat's surface.

    Though the name couldn't be seen on the stern, the length of the vessel and unusual characteristics pointed to only one ship - the L.R. Doty.

    Until last week, it was the largest wooden ship that had been unaccounted for in Lake Michigan.

    The 291-foot-long L.R. Doty was carrying a cargo of corn when it sank during a ferocious storm on Oct. 25, 1898. All 17 people aboard and the ship's two cats, Dewey and Watson, were lost.

    When a group of divers and maritime historians discovered the L.R. Doty's grave about 20 miles off Oak Creek in 320 feet of water, they found an intact ship sitting upright.

    It was in remarkable condition considering it's been underwater for more than a century, courtesy of the frigid waters of the Great Lakes that act as a great preservative of wooden ships.

    And the cargo, harvested from Illinois farms and destined for Ontario, Canada, is still in the hold, though it now has a layer of muck on top of it, said Brendon Baillod, a Great Lakes maritime historian who spearheaded the search.

    "She vanished with no real explanation. She was a pretty new ship. We wanted to solve that mystery - why she disappeared in a Lake Michigan storm that she should have been able to handle," Baillod said Wednesday.

    Built in 1893, the L.R. Doty was in the largest class of wooden vessels in existence on the Great Lakes at a time when the maritime highway was equivalent to today's interstate system. It was built with steel arches embedded in the hull, which provided extra stability, one reason its captain might have felt confident heading into bad weather.

    Technical divers - breathing a special blend of mixed gas with equipment required to dive so far deep - shot video of the wreck site and snapped photos that give clues that could explain how and why the Doty sank in a storm so fierce it damaged part of the Milwaukee break wall and destroyed the boardwalk in Chicago.

     


     

  • Historic wreck found at Gallipoli

    Hospital barge - Mark Spenser


    By Matt Deans - The Advocate


    A Coffs Harbour photographer has spearheaded an incredible discovery at Anzac Cove.

    Mark Spencer’s work with Australia’s leading maritime archaeology team has uncovered a number of new shipwrecks – and one that is very close to home.

    Dr Spencer’s great uncle may have carried wounded to a hospital ship that the team uncovered during the first scientific ocean survey of the seabed in Anzac Cove.

    “My great uncle on my mother’s side, Hector Markey, was a stretcher bearer in the second half of that Gallipoli campaign,” said Dr Spencer.

    “It was an amazing feeling to stand exactly where he stood on the shoreline 95 years ago and view the landscape in such a different context.

    “Then, when diving off Anzac Cove, we found the deep water barge. It’s very possible my great uncle carried wounded soldiers to this very barge.

    “Only then I realised how these relics have the ability to transport one back in time.”

    The hospital vessel was one of a number of historic shipwrecks, the expedition “Project Beneath Gallipoli” located from the eight-month World War I battle.

    “That one wreck in particular really brought home the agony of the conflict,” NSW Government Maritime Archaeologist Tim Smith said.

    “Detected 1.3 nautical miles off Anzac Cove in 55 metres of water, the wreck had only been known as an obstacle to local Turkish fishermen.


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  • Search for ship, Andaste, that went down in 1929 begins

    Andaste


    By Jim Hayden - The Holland Sentinel


    Divers looking for shipwrecks don’t often make a significant find before their feet even get wet, but history is always full of surprises.

    The group Michigan Shipwreck Research Associates recently received the 8-foot-long nameplate for the Andaste, the ship the divers will be looking for off the coast of Port Sheldon later this week.

    “I don’t think there can be anything more important to show it’s proof positive from the ship,” said group Director Valerie van Heest about the wood with the lead letters of the ship’s name.

    The name plate was discovered by Bud Gebben’s father just days after the ship sank in September 1929.

    “He was very proud of it,” said Gebben of his father, Gerald, who died two years ago at the age of 89.

    The Gebben family owned a store in Port Sheldon at the time. Gerald sailed his family’s sailboat out of Pigeon Lake a few days after the disappearance of the freighter.

    In shallow water between the sandbars, he found the planking from the upper pilothouse on which the lead letters were screwed.

    “It’s something my dad always talked about,” said Gebben.

    The elder Gebben displayed the artifact until his death.

    “We were cleaning his house and rather than throwing it away, we wanted to find a permanent home for it,” said Gebben, 65, who lives in Holland.


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  • BVI: Shipwrecks, corals, easy diving

    From Global Adventures, LLC


    The first divers may have come by boat to the British Virgin Islands (BVI), since chain of more than 60 sparsely inhabited islands and rocks is a haven for sailing enthusiasts.

    Calm waters along with steady breezes culminate to make some of the best sailing conditions in the Caribbean.

    What has attracted boating enthusiast for centuries is now drawing scuba divers from around the world to the main islands of Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada and Jost Van Dyke. Intact reefs, a healthy marine life, and some interesting shipwrecks can easily keep divers busy for a week.

    The RMS Rhone, a royal mail steam packet ship that transported cargo between England, South America, and the Caribbean, is the flagship dive in the BVI.

    The 310 feet (94 meter) long vessel was one of two ships deemed unsinkable by the British Royal Navy. Passengers liked to travel on the RMS Rhone due to her speed and 253 lavishly appointed first class cabins. A late season hurricane did sink the ship on October 19, 1867.

    Today, the bow section of the ship rests in eighty feet of water. Due to her mast sticking out of the water, and her shallow depth, the HMS Rhone was deemed a hazard by the Royal Navy in the 1950s and her stern section was blown apart.

    While the wooden decks have rotten away, divers can still explore the well preserved stern section. The hull is encrusted with corals, sponges, and sea fans, jew fish and barracudas are a frequent site.

    The wreck was also the stage for the movie “The Deep”. Director Peter Yates shot the movie, which was based on the novel by Peter Benchley, here in 1977.

    Another wreck is the 268 feet (82 meter) Chikuzen. The former refrigerator vessel went down in 1981 off Tortola’s east end and lies in 75 feet (23 meter) of water.

    Barracuda, octopus, jew fish, drum fish, and schools of yellow tail frequent the wreck that can be usually seen from the surface.

    While the dive site can be accessed by boat only, the excellent visibility and the abundance of marine life make the Chikuzen a favorite for underwater photographers.

    Alice in Wonderland is a coral wall at South Bay off Ginger Island. It is named for its huge mushroom and gallant brain corals.

    Easy dive conditions with no currents and great visibility make the wall, which starts in 15 feet (5 meters) and ends on the sandy bottom in 90 feet (27 meter), a favorite among beginner divers and photographers.



  • Holland shipwreck researchers identify two sunken schooners

    By Myron Kukla - The Grand Rapids Press


    The mysteries of two cargo schooners lost in the 1860s to the depths of Lake Michigan have been solved, thanks to a little detective work.

    Members of the Holland-based Michigan Shipwreck Research Associates told a crowd of 500 maritime enthusiasts Saturday the story of tracking down and identifying the schooners William Tell and A.P. Dutton.

    "I was the first diver down to the William Tell, which is in about 200 feet of water off the South Haven coast," MSRA director Valerie van Heest told the Knickerbocker Theatre audience.

    She said it took some research after the boat's discovery to prove it was the William Tell because the boat burned to the waterline before it sank in 1869 leaving few clues for the discovery team.

    Speaking at the 12th annual "Mysteries & Histories Beneath the Inland Seas" program, van Heest said the dive team found mounds of a white substance at what was believed to be William Tell shipwreck. All they had to go on was the cargo of quick lime the ship was carrying when it sank.

    They took a bucket sample and turned it over to Hope College Chemistry professor and department chairman Graham Peaslee who, through chemical analysis, determined it was lime.

    "Lime is a very explosive and flammable substance when it gets wet and the cargo likely got wet and set the two-masted schooner on fire," said MSRA researcher Craig Rich, who is the author of the new book "For Those In Peril: Shipwrecks of Ottawa County Michigan" published by In-depth Editions.

    By determining the cargo was lime, they were able to positively identify the ship as the William Tell. And, through the process of elimination, they determined the shipwreck discovered in 2004 was the A.P. Dutton.

    "The A.P. Dutton sank in 1868 with a cargo of school furniture destined for a new one-room school house in Berrien County. They had to hold the school dedication without furniture after the A.P. Dutton went down," van Heest said.


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  • The search for a shipwreck near Four Mile Point

    By Chick Huettel - The Destin Log


    Many, many years ago while looking over a nautical  chart of the Choctawhatchee Bay, I noted that the map revealed the identifying mark of hull bones just off Four Mile Point, which is located north of the Sandestin Resort area.

    I think the map was dated in the area of 1950.

    I had owned a small lot on the point and was fascinated. It lay almost due west of the property. Loving archeology, I was determined to find the wreck. 

    The U.S. Coast Guard and Geodetic Survey maps normally record large wrecks with the accompanying symbol. With snorkel, tied together lounging floats I went on the search.

    The map depth lines showed it was in 5 to 9 feet. I was so sure I could find the remains. But after four days, I was tired, black fly bitten, and frustrated because the water was relatively clear. I gave up.

    A few years  later, while at an antique/junk store, I pulled a map out of the cardboard box. This one was dated 1943. As I unrolled it there before me was Four Mile Point again. The skeleton bone figure was not there and in its place was the word “boiler.”

    This time the depth line was only four feet and in the same place.  I called my brother and again we dragged floats and snorkels and began a search. I only wish we had used the grid system during the search, but it seemed so easy why go to the trouble?

    Again we came up with nothing.

    Today’s up-to-date Choctawhatchee map shows nothing. Neither the bones or the boiler.  Where is this vessel ? It had to be of a good size because of its identification.

    And of course a boiler is usually a large iron goliath not counting the steam engine components. Is it just under the surface sand ?

    Steamboats traversed the bay in the 1800s and early 1900s. Local carriers and others came from Mobile, Pensacola, and Panama City. Steamboats were also built in Freeport.

    Did it burn ? Was it a storm that caused the destruction ? Are there marine artifacts spread about the area ?



  • Shipwreck treasure off Kawaroa

    By Vicki Price - Taranaki Daily News


    Divers sometimes surface clutching treasure found near steamers, ketches and other ships that have wrecked along our coast throughout the last century or two.

    Some artefacts make their way on to Adam Rosser's Taranaki Dive Shop shelves for the enjoyment of those on land and to inspire other divers.

    A green bottle spotted by divers over many years now rests on the Ocean View Parade shop's shelf, one side of it whitened from where it lay, undisturbed, stuck in the side of a reef that grew around it.

    For years, its cork remained intact, until one day it looked as though a curious diver had poked it in. The contents are long gone, but part of the cork remains in the unbroken 142-year- old bottle.

    The bottle, a pick- axe head, brass rudder pin and air cylinder are among artefacts from the Tasmanian Maid, a paddle steamer that sank off the Kawaroa Reef in 1868.

    The air cylinder was used on steamers to power the paddle wheels until the steam pressure built up enough to keep them going.

    The wreck is slowly disintegrating. Many of its portholes have all but disappeared. Mr Rosser says that like many ships and their artefacts which litter the ocean floor in our wild west coast conditions, it will eventually disappear.

    During the wars over land ownership in Taranaki 150 years ago, the small steamship, affectionately known as the Maid, was sent from its home at the Port of Nelson to bring women and children back to Nelson if necessary.

    It was used extensively by the European militia as a despatch vessel between the ports of New Plymouth and Waitara.

    She would carry messages, soldiers (able, wounded and dead) and supplies. During the heat of the war, the Maid could be seen busily steaming between the two settlements nearly every day.

    The 83-ton paddle-wheel steamer was built in 1856 and began her service in New Zealand the following year plying trade between Nelson, Motueka, Collingwood and Wairau.

    She was the fastest the province had had, running 10 to 11 knots an hour in calm weather and still managing 7 or 8 in a strong headwind. The Maid pursued a valuable career transporting passengers and merchandise around various ports throughout the two islands, until the outbreak of war in Taranaki saw her come into military service.

    One of the casualties of the war who was transported by the Tasmanian Maid was esteemed settler, businessman and military man Captain Richard Brown. Capt Brown had been the very first merchant in New Plymouth and for many years carried on extensive trade with European and Maori alike.

    When the war broke out, he was already a member of the Taranaki Volunteer Rifles and joined the mounted escort, becoming a highly valued member because of his knowledge of the surrounding country and Maori inhabitants.

    Capt Brown had been out for an hour's ride from Waitara to Bell Block to relieve the boredom of military camp life when he was ambushed and shot from close range.

    The first bullet struck his leg and passed through, one hit his powder flask and dropped into his boot and the next took him while stooped on his horse, entering below the ribs. He survived for three months, being tended to at Waitara, before succumbing.

    His body was taken aboard the Tasmanian Maid with full military honours and transported to New Plymouth.

    The ship arrived with her flag at half mast and Capt Brown's body was removed from the ship amid a guard of honour of Bluejackets. He was buried at St Mary's churchyard.


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  • US military ship to be sunk, building new reef

    From Cayman Net News


    The U.S.S. Kittiwake, a decommissioned, 251-foot military ship will soon be towed to Grand Cayman for its last assignment: Cayman’s newest dive attraction.

    The culmination of a seven-year project between the Ministry and the Department of Tourism, the Kittiwake left the James River Reserve Fleet in St. Eustis, Virginia, on February 18 to be cleaned prior to its arrival in Cayman.

    The military vessel will be sunk sometime in July or August this summer on the north end of Grand Cayman’s Seven Mile Beach to provide underwater enthusiasts of all skill levels with a new year-round diving destination.

    “Without the initial conceptual and financial support of the Ministry of Tourism, led by the Premier, the Honourable McKeeva Bush, then Minister of Tourism, the Kittiwake would never have happened,” said Nancy Easterbrook, Kittiwake project manager.

    “The Ministry of Tourism realized the importance of this initiative when it was first proposed in 2002 and assisted us in kick-starting its development,” said Ms Easterbrook.

    “CITA came on board and matched those funds and both parties have committed to keeping the project moving forward the past seven years.”

    Prior to sinking, the Kittiwake will be thoroughly prepared for divers and the waters here. All hazardous materials and chemicals will be removed to ensure that they will not leach into Cayman waters.

    Multiple vertical and horizontal cutouts will open up the ship to allow natural light to flood the body and enable divers to explore the entire ship safely.

    Once sunk, the ship will be marked with corresponding slates for boat operators and divers/snorkelers to be able to easily identify where they are on the ship.

    Steve Broadbelt, president of CITA, said that the Kittiwake will boost tourism, bringing new visitors and repeat guests to the islands, since diving shipwrecks is one of the most popular reasons for going diving or snorkeling.



  • Avon Lake couple dives into Lake Erie shipwreck stories

    Avon divers


    By Bob Palmer - Sun News


    Lake Erie has the highest concentration of shipwrecks per square mile, according to Avon Lake residents Mike and Georgann Wachter, veteran divers who wrote three books on Lake Erie wrecks.

    Since the Wachters took up diving in the early 1970s, Mike said their love for history keeps them hooked on the hobby.

    Their passion for identifying newly discovered wrecks and uncovering records of vessels’ treks opened doors to speaking engagements throughout the Great Lakes, including a recent presentation to the Women’s Club of Avon Lake.

    “We get a thrill to figure out its name and history.” Mike said. “It has to do with the lives that went with it (the wrecks) as well as the stories.”

    With scientific precision, the Wachters surveyed Lake Erie and approximately 90 percent of the lake’s 300 known wrecks with scanners, global positioning devices, video surveys, still images, measurements and sketches.

    Their persistence yielded a good summer season last year, as the Wachters discovered or swam through eight previously unexplored shipwrecks.


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  • Lost painting could hold key to Welsh shipwreck mystery

    From Wales Online


    It was a sturdy 500-tonne three- masted rigger that had made it through a treacherous Atlantic crossing only to founder in calm and shallow waters off the Welsh coast.

    Now a diving team is hoping a long-forgotten painting holds the key to the whereabouts of the vessel, the Diamond, shipwrecked 185 years ago.

    Diver Ian Cundy and his colleagues want to find the painting depicting the loss of the vessel at Sarn Badrig Reef between Barmouth and Harlech.

    Mr Cundy and his team have already completed one unsuccessful search for the vessel, which went down with the loss of eight lives, and have now turned their attention to locating the painting.

    The 62-year-old from Malvern, in Worcestershire, believes the painting showing the stricken boat upright in shallow water may lead him to the wreck.

    Little is known about the painting aside from the fact that it once hung in a rectory near Dyffryn Ardudwy, in Gwynedd.

    Mr Cundy, who used to run a boat-building company, said: “We’re hopeful it’s there somewhere because paintings are the sort of things that people generally don’t destroy.

    If they don’t like them they’ll take them down and store them somewhere, which is probably where it is.”

    In 2000, divers discovered the wreck of a ship initially thought to be the Diamond. But later investigations indicated the wreck was from a later period.

    The resting place of the Diamond remains unknown.


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  • Adventurer dives for famous wreck

    By Kevin Rothbauer - The Citizen


    There aren't many unexplored places in the world, but for those willing and able to take the right steps, there is still plenty of adventure out there.

    Maple Bay's Guy Shockey is one of those modern-day adventurers, and he continued his longstanding love of seeing and experiencing things few people ever have -- or will -- on the weekend of March 13 when he became one of the first people to set foot on the wreckage of the SS Famous, more than 75 years after it was sunk to the murky depths.

    The Famous, launched in 1890 as the SS Amur, was scuttled in Bedwell Bay, part of Indian Arm off Burrard Inlet, in 1932. Since 2007, the Underwater Archaeological Society of British Columbia has had an interest in a wreck in the same area, and wanted to confirm whether or not it was in fact the Famous.

    They formed a partnership with Shockey's team of Global Underwater Explorers-trained divers, who descended to the ship -- 230 feet below the surface -- on March 13 and 14.

    The UASBC had sent a remotely operated underwater vehicle to the hulk in September 2007, but the data it gathered wasn't enough to confirm for certain that the wreck was the Famous.

    "We had to actually go and put eyeballs on the thing," said Shockey. "We knew how big the actual Famous was, but we had to confirm this was it."

    The dive team consisted of five divers who would descend to the wreck, two surface support divers and a surface manager.

    Diving to such a depth is like an "underwater ballet," said Shockey of the process for descending and safely returning to the surface, which involves extensive decompression. Divers with the appropriate skill set are not easy to find.


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  • Divers examine gold-rush vessel

    By Sandra mcCulloch - Times Colonist


    Five Victoria divers and one from Cowichan plan to be 240 feet under the surface of Indian Arm Inlet near Vancouver this weekend, exploring the remains of a historic vessel that was scuttled in 1936.

    Chris Fenton, a commerce student at the University of Victoria, heads a team set to explore the 216-foot-long wreck of the SS Amur, also named the SS Famous, at the request of the Underwater Archeological Society of B.C.

    The group, which also includes two divers from Richmond, did a previous underwater exploration of a wreck for the UASBC in the water off Royal Roads University where they found an old wooden sailing ship that was intact.

    This type of exploration is called technical diving, requiring training beyond that of recreational scuba divers and using specialized equipment.

    "We like to say it's safe but if you make mistakes on these kinds of dives, the consequences are pretty extreme," said Fenton.

    The Famous/Amur was launched in England in 1890. It worked in Siberia and China before sailing to Victoria to transport gold miners to Wrangell, Alaska, from where they hoped to get rich in the Gold Rush of 1898. Later, the vessel returned to China, moved on to Japan and then Australia.

    The vessel then returned to Canada after being purchased by the Hudson's Bay Company.

    Its last owners deliberately sank the Famous/Amur in Indian Arm. It was rediscovered in the summer of 2007 during an underwater survey by the Canadian Hydrographic Service.

    Since the vessel is too deep for recreational divers to reach, the UASBC sent a remotely operated vehicle to the site. The ROV sent up blurry images which were enough to raise interest of society members.


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  • Diving the deep wrecks - Bayview

    A wreck


    By Michael Timm - Bayview Compass


    During the winter months, Bay View resident Jitka Hanakova works as a business analyst. But from April to October, she takes scuba divers to some of the deepest, least accessible shipwrecks on the Great Lakes.

    Hanakova started diving in 2000 and quickly fell in love with the sport.

    She found a good, local charter boat operator in Jerry Guyer and started exploring area shipwrecks. In 2004 she got her captain’s license and worked on Guyer’s boat as a captain.

    In 2008, she bought her own boat and started her own charter business, Shipwreck Explorers, with Chicago partner Lubo Valuch.

    Shipwreck Explorers specializes in technical diving-going down deeper and staying down longer than recreational diving.

    “With time,” Hanakova said, “I realized I’d like to go see some other shipwrecks and I took more advanced courses. I took decompression procedures, advanced nitrox, and trimix. Trimix is when we use helium. So when we go down, let’s say 200 feet, or 300 feet, we don’t get all narced out of our minds.”

    Technical diving involves breathing air mixtures different than the atmosphere, depending on how deep a dive is planned. Trimix includes oxygen, nitrogen, and helium. By reducing the proportions of both nitrogen and oxygen, the helium reduces the risk of nitrogen narcosis and oxygen toxicity.

    But divers returning from the depths still can’t come up all at once or they risk decompression sickness-the bends. That’s why technical divers return to the surface slowly and in stages.

    “That’s the difference between recreational and technical,” she said. “Recreational, if something goes really wrong, theoretically the person could make a controlled assent.”

    One of the deep Lake Michigan shipwrecks Hanakova has explored, the Tennie and Laura, lies off Port Washington under 310 feet of water and can only be reached on a technical dive.


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  • Shipwreck mystery is solved

    By Barbara Cole - IOL


    The mystery of the Durban shipwreck that was uncovered during dredging operations to widen and deepen the harbour entrance has finally been solved.

    "And it is great to put a name and a face to her," said a delighted Vanessa Maitland, the maritime archaeologist known as the Agatha Christie of the deep.

    Maitland was called in by the SA Heritage Resources Agency to investigate the mystery last year.

    The wreck, now identified as the Steam Ship (SS) Karin, had been buried in 3m of sand and was 1.18km from the north breakwater, lying in the shipping channel.

    While it was not considered a threat to navigation, if it was not removed it would certainly have posed a threat to the modern, larger ships calling into the port after Transnet's extensive renovations.

    Maitland, of Durban North, had to find out all she could about the wreck and advise on how best it could be removed.

    She had to don her diving gear to get to the bottom of the mystery.


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  • Diving for Anzac relics

    Mark Spencer


    By Matt Deans - The Advocate


    The underwater photographer who captured the resting place of an Australian World War I submarine, sunk during the Battle of Gallipoli, will return to where the Diggers landed.

    Coffs Harbour’s Mark Spencer will join a team of divers and archaeologists at Anzac Cove in May aiming to uncover pieces of Australian war history lost beneath the waves for 95 years.

    “We are hoping to locate, map and archive anything from soldiers’ helmets, bayonets, rifles, even the cigarette lighters carried by the fallen Anzacs,” Mr Spencer said.

    “To our advantage, the ocean is forever uncovering relics off Anzac Cove and Turkish divers have reported seeing magazines full of bullets near the landing sites.”

    Respected journalist Mike Munro and a Channel Seven film crew plan to accompany the team to Gallipoli, filming a documentary on their discoveries, which could air nationally.

    The expedition will be Mark’s first visit to Gallipoli since the history-making dive in 1998, where he sighted the sunken Australian submarine HMAS AE2 at the bottom of the Dardanelles Straits.

    “On my first descent over the wreck, I allowed myself a few minutes to appreciate the significance of the moment,” he said.

    “Surprisingly, I felt closer to the Anzacs 72 metres under the sea than I did standing in the trenches at Gallipoli.”


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  • Three ships wrecked off St. Francis coast


    By Anna Passante - Bay View Compass


    Three 19th-century Great Lakes sailing ships, the Boston, the Sebastopol, and the Alleghany, had two things in common.

    All three were shipwrecked off the shore of St. Francis, Wis., and all three were shipwrecked as a result of an inadequate Milwaukee harbor.

    Milwaukee’s original harbor (located about a half-mile south of the present-day harbor) had a shallow harbor entrance, which kept larger ships from entering the inner harbor. These larger ships were forced to anchor outside the harbor entrance at extended piers to unload their goods.

    Without the protection of the inner harbor during fierce lake storms, many of the ships risked great damage or destruction.

    Also, due to inadequate navigational lighting, ship captains found it difficult to find the harbor at night, especially during a storm, resulting in ships running aground.

    Between 1846 and 1855, the three previously mentioned sailing ships were doomed because of these inadequacies.

    Fate of the Boston

    The side-wheel steamship Boston was built in 1845 and measured 210 feet in length. On Nov. 24, 1846, the Boston arrived in Milwaukee from Buffalo, N.Y., but was unable to enter the inner harbor due to the shallowness of the harbor mouth. The ship instead docked at the extended pier to discharge its cargo.

    At around 8pm that evening a horrific storm came out of the northeast. Seeking safety, Captain William T. Pease again attempted to take the ship through the harbor mouth into the inner harbor, but the Boston was caught by the powerful gale and lost its smoke stacks, rendering the engines useless.

    Anchors were lowered, in hopes of riding out the storm, but the strong winds dragged the Boston southward and around 11pm the ship struck bottom about 150 feet off the shore of the present-day St. Francis Seminary in St. Francis. Help arrived and all the crew and passengers were rescued.

    The surf broke over the ship, which filled with water. The remaining smoke stack hung limply over the side. An organ destined for an Episcopal church was rescued, as well as cabin doors and panel work, and the vessel’s engine.


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  • The Sinking of the Sumner

    By Ashley Newman-Owens - Wrightsville Beach Magazine


    The story should stop at the testimony of the first mate. But, of course, it doesnt.

    Had you been among the hundreds enjoying the beach that late summer Sunday afternoon, chances are you would have seen her the three-masted schooner William H. Sumner, making her way northward. Built in Camden, Maine, in 1891, she registered 489 net tons, measured 165 feet in length with a 35-foot beam. 

    The Puerto Rican-owned ship was chartered for the phosphate trade and was, on this day Sunday, September 7, 1919 bound from San Juan for her home port in New York, carrying 850 tons of phosphate, as well as 56 mahogany logs and 30 tons of iron wood.

    The boat was in the hands of a crew of eight. They were the West Indian seamen Leonida Edassarias, Aylando Frank, Aylando Quinonnes and Ramon Gonzales; the steward, Charles Wallace; the second mate, P. J. Antione of Louisiana; the first mate, Charles Lacey, of Mobile, Alabama; and the skipper, Robert E. Cochrane (Cockram, Corkum) a 24-year-old from Bath, Maine, voyaging on his first command.

    Cochranes recent promotion had come at the end of five years, during which he and Lacey served as first and second mates under former Captain Williams.

    Had you happened to be possessed of nautical savvy, it might have struck you as peculiar perhaps worrisome for the craft to be drifting so close to shore that Sunday afternoon.

    Around 5 p.m., perhaps 5:30, you might have puzzled over what difficulties the captain must be having.

    But you would have gone home to dinner, and the rest of the night would have passed without event. It wouldnt have been until noon the following day that word of any mishap would have traveled to shore.

    The bearer of that word ? The first mate, Charles Lacey.

     


     

  • Wreck gives up historic bounty

    The Brinawarr wreck


    By Fallon Hudson - Daily Mercury


    It has been almost a year since the remains of the shipwreck Brinawarr were discovered during construction of the Forgan Bridge replacement project.

    At the time construction was stopped to investigate the wreckage that has lain under the waters of the Pioneer River since it sank on the northern side during the 1918 cyclone.

    Like most shipwrecks the Brinawarr had its fair share of bounty.

    In fact, a compass and ornate brass dragons were salvaged from the ship. At present the items, such as the dragons, a conglomerate of wood, and metal, including a letter W, are being restored at the Maritime Museum in Townsville.

    A Main Roads spokesperson said there were no plans to relocate the wreck of the Brinawarr. Mackay Historical Society president Syd Norman said the Mackay Museum was looking forward to the relics being returned to Mackay once restored.

    Mr Norman was at the site when marine archaeologists discovered parts of the ship and a number of personal items on the ship.


     

  • Story of the Christmas Ship

    By Natalie Jovonovich - Upper Michigan Source


    The year was 1912 and a ship set sail from Thompson Harbor in Manistique bound for Chicago with more than 3,000 Christmas trees on board.

    The next day the ship went down in a Lake Michigan snowstorm, but the tradition of shipping Christmas trees from Upper Michigan continued for many years afterward.

    The story lives on 80 plus years later through Carl Behrend, who grew up in Manistique.

    He says he grew up hearing the stories about the doomed Christmas Ship.

    "Over time I became more knowledgeable about the Christmas Ship and my in-laws had some old photos, and I collected some old photos and collected some old stories and it seems like the more you look into this story, the more you find," Behrend

    It wasn't until later in his life that he developed a passion for the tale, and so he decided to write the novel 'The Legend of the Christmas Ship' in 2005.


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  • Explorers discover 1862 shipwreck in L. Ontario

    A schooner


    By Virginia Kropf - The Daily News


    Rochester shipwreck explorers Jim Kennard and Dan Scoville have announced the discovery of yet another sunken ship in southern Lake Ontario, off of Oak Orchard Harbor.

    A 19th century schooner sunk in 1862, the C. Reeve, was discovered by the men in late summer after a search effort which took them more than five years.

    Finding the ship was a lucky discovery, the men said Tuesday. The initial discovery was not made by the conventional search methods used by the team to discover many of Lake Ontario's shipwrecks, they said.

    The Reeve is a two-masted gaff rigged schooner built in 1853 in Buffalo by the firm of J.B. and N. Jones.

    In July of 1858, the schooner made a trans-Atlantic crossing, sailing from Detroit to Liverpool, England, with a cargo of black walnut lumber. In October, she returned with a full load of crockery.

    The Reeve is the 14th discovery for Kennard and Scoville between Lake Ontario and the Finger Lakes. Kennard said they have already discovered a few more shipwrecks in Lake Ontario, which they have not yet announced.

    In an e-mail Monday afternoon, Kennard said as they were eating, a light wind was pushing the boat along when Scoville looked at the depth recorder and could see they were going over something that was several feet off the bottom.

    Since one of the masts of the Reeve is still standing, the recorder jumped up, momentarily showing something 75 feet off the bottom.


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  • 75 years later, the sinking of the steamer Henry Cort remembered

    The Henry Cort


    By Eric Gaertner - Muskegon Chronicle


    The life of a valiant U.S. Coast Guard member and the sailing career of a 320-foot whale-back steamer came to a tragic end 75 years ago, leaving an unforgettable mark on Muskegon’s maritime history.

    On Nov. 30, 1934, the Henry Cort and her 25-man crew were tossed by large waves onto the north arm of the break wall at the Muskegon harbor and U.S. Coast Guard Surfman Jack Dipert was swept off into Lake Michigan during a rescue attempt.

    By the end of the drama-filled incident, Dipert became the only Coast Guard member from the Muskegon station to die in the line of duty and a thrilling rescue eventually saved the lives of the Cort’s 25 crewmen.

    In addition, the tens of thousands of people who flocked to the area shoreline likely never will forget the sight of a large freighter listing at a 45-degree angle on the break wall.

    A two-part commemorative program is planned for Monday in Muskegon to recognize the 75th anniversary of the maritime incident.

    The public is encouraged to attend a 3:30 p.m. memorial near the current Muskegon Coast Guard facility along the southern break wall and a 6:30 p.m. program at the Lakeshore Museum Center recounting the incident and unveiling underwater footage of the wreck site.



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  • The mystery of Durban harbour

    By Barbara Cole - IOL


    Shipwreck sleuth Vanessa Maitland likes nothing better than a mystery, and getting to the bottom of something for her means real deep research.

    Maitland is a maritime archaeologist and when the ocean finally looks like giving up some of its secrets, she is called in to don her diving suit and investigate.

    The Agatha Christie of the deep might not have uncovered the stuff of boys' adventure novels like pirated gold coins, but what she finds is much more important, she said.

    "The treasure is the information you get," she said.

    Fathoming a mystery might take her years, but as she put it, "it is not the destination, but the voyage that counts".

    Maitland was called in recently after a mystery shipwreck was detected during dredging operations to widen and deepen the entrance to Durban harbour, which will enable the bigger ships of the future to get into the port.


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  • Low tides expose the Oregon Coast

    Ochre sea star


    By Joe Rojas-Burke - The Oregonian


    Super-low tides will provide ideal conditions for exploring tide pools and searching for shipwrecks at the Oregon coast this weekend and next week.

    There are minus tides this weekend. And on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, tides will drop as low as minus 3 feet -- about as low as they can get on the Oregon coast.

    Extreme minus tides reveal seascapes and marine life that's hidden under pounding surf most of the year. Check a tide table for detailed times, and for safety, make sure to keep an eye on incoming waves.

    Here are some great places to explore during minus tides:

    1. The Peter Iredale, a ship that sank in 1906, stands out at Clatsop Beach. And north of the Columbia River, where Jetty A meets Cape Disappointment, you might see the remains of the Bettie M, a tuna seiner that sank in 1976.

    2. Easily accessible tide pools around Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach are loaded with anemones, chitons, several kinds of crab, limpets, nudibranch, sea stars and urchins.


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  • Daring divers come up with anchor from 1964 shipwreck

    By Kirk Moore - APP


    For nearly 45 years recreational divers explored the sunken stern section of the Norwegian tanker Stolt Dagali, lost in a collision in 1964, but only divers Steve and Maureen Langevin of Laurence Harbor knew about the anchor tucked under the starboard side of the wreck.

    On Sunday the husband and wife and their team recovered the 5,000-pound piece with help from a Belmar scallop boat, and brought it back to Shark River Inlet.

    This morning the anchor should be on its way via flatbed trailer to the Maureen Langevin said.

    "It's a big coup for them to have retrieved it," said museum founder Deborah Whitcraft. "If it weren't for the efforts of these divers to bring artifacts back for display, the non-diving public would never see it."

    The Stolt Dagali was a 582-foot tanker specialized for carrying its cargo of vegetable oil and industrial solvents when it collided at 2 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day morning with Shalom, a nearly new Israeli luxury liner carrying more than 1,000 passengers and crew.

    The impact sheared off the aft third of the tanker, killing 18 crew members.


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  • What lies beneath

    By Brett Johnson - Ventura County Star


    Peel away the sea’s curtains, peer deep into its inky depths with modern technology’s might, and the past emerges in bits and pieces, though shifting sands and fickle currents that can just as easily push it into dark and tricky abysses.

    It’s there though, both real and potentially, and right off our coast, tantalizingly close and yet hidden so far in the murk — the now-stilled vices of gold, death, war, sex, Hollywood, Prohibition rumrunners, opium smuggling and guns.

    It teases to the days of roaming Spanish galleons, to when ships were kings of commerce and suppliers of news. It ranges from primitive Chumash canoes called tomols used thousands of years ago all the way to a modern airline tragedy.

    Some 700 shipwrecks and plane crashes have occurred in the Santa Barbara Channel off our coast from Point Mugu to Point Sal, said Robert Schwemmer, West Coast regional maritime heritage coordinator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

    About 300 of those happened in and around the Channel Islands.


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  • Maryville diver helps bring closure to shipwreck families in Michigan

    Freighter


    By Beth Haynes

    On November 18, 1958, the Carl D. Bradley, a Great Lakes freighter, was heading home after her last run of the season.

    "It was snowing. It was incredibly cold," explains diver Alan Williams of Maryville.

    The Carl D. Bradley was caught in the middle of a fierce storm. Mother nature was too strong. The ship broke in two and sank. Incredibly, two people survived. Of the 33 that perished, the majority were from the tiny town of Rogers City, Michigan.

    "We're talking a town less than 10,000 people. Then, all of a sudden, 33 people are gone--everyone knew everyone. It was a major disaster for this town."

    Today, the Carl D. Bradley is a watery grave on the bottom of Lake Michigan. After all this time, the pain is still very real.

    "This is called a re-breather and this is what we used during the dives, because of the extreme depth," says Williams, demonstrating equipment at Rhea's Dive Shop in Maryville.


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  • Wreck discovery

    By Ted Hayes


    Divers discover the wreck of the long-lost bark Trajan, sunk outside Newport Harbor in 1867.

    To the untrained eye, the scene that greeted John Stanford and Mark Munro 30 feet beneath Newport Harbor Saturday, Dec. 6, wouldn’t have looked like much: A massive pile of concretion and timbers covered in algae, seaweed, barnacles and anemones that rose up eight feet off the bottom and faded off into the murky distance. 

    But for the two hardcore wreck divers and maritime historians, the modest scene was paydirt: They’d found the long-lost Trajan, a 125-foot bark loaded with lime that sank August 17, 1867.

    The Trajan, one of thousands of ships that have gone down in Rhode Island waters since the days of the colonists, had been all but forgotten in the 141 years since she was lost.

    The men’s discovery that chilly December morning was the culmination of years of research, hard work and more than a bit of luck.



  • Local divers find "sunken treasure" in the North Sea

    By Sandra Walls

     

    Three Hamilton-based divers were the first to find the wreck of a large fishing trawler sunk by a German U-boat in 1942.

    Jim McAllister, from Hamilton, and his colleagues Ralph Lennox, Auldhouse, and Livingstone man Bud Campbell discovered the trawler’s bell as they went diving in the North Sea this year.

    The trio are members of the Central Scotland Dive Club who meet at Hamilton Water Palace.

    The wreck was in deep water in the North Sea about 20 miles off the coast of Eyemouth. But the brave divers managed to secure the bell and bring it up from the depths of the sea.


    Ralph Lennox (56), who lives with his wife Linda, has been involved in the club for the last 15 years. He said: “During the Second World War, large fishing boats were prime targets.

     

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  • Hurricane pushed shipwreck just beyond reach of many

    By Rebekah Allen

    For many scuba divers, the thrill of visiting the sunken aircraft carrier Oriskany is touching the flight deck.

    But Hurricane Gustav pushed the wreck deeper, putting the deck just out of safe reach of recreational divers and threatening the appeal of the underwater tourist attraction.

    When the ship was sunk in May 2006, the flight deck was 135 feet down, 5 feet outside the recreational diving limit, but instructors said it still was relatively safe for tempted divers to make the touch.

    "People just had to touch it," said Eilene Beard, Scuba Shack co-owner. "And we'd say, 'OK, bounce down there and touch it and get back up here so you don't use all your nitrogen.' "

    But after Hurricane Gustav pushed through the Gulf of Mexico, the sunken ship shifted about 10 feet deeper.

    To an untrained diver, 10 feet may seem insignificant, but instructors fear the drop could affect the appeal and safety of the local attraction.

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  • Divers find 1893 Erie wreck 'in remarkable condition'

    By Molly Kavanaugh


    A ship sunk by a fierce autumn storm 115 years ago has been discovered in Lake Erie, 25 miles north of Cleveland.

    The 133-foot schooner Riverside was among a dozen sunken vessels and more than 50 deaths left in the wake of the storm, which blew across the Great Lakes in 1893. 

    "It's in remarkable condition," said Tom Kowalczk, a diver with Cleveland Underwater Explorers Inc. 

    The nonprofit group, in collaboration with the Great Lakes Historical Society, found the shipwreck last year. Members delayed announcing their find until they could photograph the site.

    An estimated 1,700 shipwrecks lie at the bottom of Lake Erie; fewer than 300 have been found. 

    Riverside, built in 1870, left Kelleys Island with 670 tons of stone on Friday, Oct. 13, 1893, headed for Tonawanda, N.Y.

  • Shipwreck hunters find 1870 schooner

    By Erica Blake


    The images are blurred shapes of dark and light and they have undefined lines and portions shaded out.

    But even to the untrained eye the photos that emerged from the side scan sonar that pierced into the waters of Lake Erie were unmistakably boats. Shipwrecks to be exact.

    More than a year after first glimpsing the boats on sonar and working to discover what they were, shipwreck hunters searching the waters off Cleveland have just recently announced their finds.

    The shipwrecks are among many that have been discovered through the collaborative efforts of the Cleveland Underwater Explorers and the Great Lakes Historical Society in Vermilion, Ohio.

    There are many more to find.


  • Dive team searches for artifacts from 1908 Saskatchewan river disaster

    From the Canadian Press


    A Saskatoon dive team is searching for a sunken treasure of old champagne bottles, fine china and giant stern wheel spokes from the last steamboat to sail through the city on the South Saskatchewan River.

    The fire department's water rescue team, with help from an archeologist, is diving each day this week to try to recover lost century-old artifacts from the S.S. City of Medicine Hat. The luxury ship crashed into a Saskatoon bridge and sank in 1908.

    "This is an archaeological reconnaissance, not an excavation," said Butch Amundson, a senior archaeologist with Stantec Consulting Ltd.

    "I'll feel like the project is a success if we find one artifact that we can undeniably say is from the S.S. City of Medicine Hat."

    The divers, using metal detectors designed to work underwater, have only about a half-meter visibility.



  • New shipwreck discoveries hearken back to War of 1812

    From Jordan Press Whig


    Kenn Feigelman and his team of underwater filmmakers planned to spend the summer documenting on film all the known wrecks in the waters around Kingston. They also hoped to find a new wreck. 

    They didn't expect to find four old ships, including one that likely hasn't been seen for nearly 200 years, along with a debris field of other ships near the city. 

    One wreck was previously found then lost. The wreck, a large hulk sitting on the bottom of the lake, is believed to be HMS Montreal, a Kingstonbuilt ship that was scuttled after the War of 1812, said Feigelman, who runs DeepQuest2 Expeditions. 

    "This isn't just Kingston history, this is North American history," Feigelman said, referring to the warships his crew stumbled upon. 

    "We're not saying we found them for the first time, but it's a discovery for sure."


  • Scuba divers' paradise

    By Shaila Dewan


    Pirate lore has it that in the late 17th century, horses bearing lanterns were led along the barrier islands near Beaufort, luring ships to be pillaged and sunk. But that was only one of many perils by which the North Carolina coast earned the nickname Graveyard of the Atlantic.

    From the Queen Anne's Revenge, Blackbeard's hijacked French slaver, to the Monitor, the ironclad Civil War vessel, many a ship has been doomed by converging currents, rocky shoals, treacherous storms and, in World War II, lurking U-boats.

    In 1921, the schooner Carroll A. Deering was stranded in a storm on Diamond Shoals; rescuers found it abandoned, making the fate of the crew one of the enduring mysteries of maritime history.

    But the seascape that for centuries menaced sailors is, it turns out, a Xanadu for scuba divers. The water is clear, warmed by the Gulf Stream and populated by tropical marine life against the operatic backdrop of the mammoth, ghostly shipwrecks.

    Unlike reef diving, wreck diving offers both natural splendor and human narrative -- lionfish and octopus, rust and cannon.