Founded by Dr. Clive Cussler, the National Underwater and Marine Agency (NUMA) is a non-profit, volunteer foundation dedicated to preserving our maritime heritage through the discovery, archaeological survey and conservation of shipwreck artifacts.
When my friends want to know if I have a favorite shipwreck, I feel like a father who has been asked which one of his children he loves the most! The Sapona, a massive freighter constructed from cement in order to save steel during World War I, is probably my favorite. Sunk off Bimini, in the Bahamas, the vessel ran aground in 1926 and still remains half below and half above the water.
Running a close second on my list is the Antilla, a 400-foot-long German freighter scuttled in shallow water off the Caribbean island of Aruba in 1940. The German captain docked his new ship, only a year old, at the neutral port of Aruba to take on fuel from the island’s oil refinery. But while it was there, Germany invaded Holland—leading to WW II. When the captain realized his ship would be seized, he sailed within 600 yards of Malmok Beach, opened the sea cocks, and sank it. The captain and crew rowed ashore and were taken prisoners, while the ship broke in two and settled on its port side in 20 to 60 feet of water. Now, all these years later, the 4,363-ton Hamburg American Line steamer is one of the best dives in the Caribbean. more »
In a recent newsletter published by the The Four Chaplains Memorial Foundation, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, retired U.S. Navy Captain Louis Cavaliere cites the organization’s “remarkable communication” through Web and Facebook pages. He says there’s renewed interest in the heroic story of the United States Army Transport (USAT) SS Dorchester and the sacrifice made for God and country by the four chaplains who were aboard during the tragic event. The sinking of the 5,649-ton troop carrier remains one of the most touching sagas of WW II.
The Dorchester, a converted coastal steamer, was sailing from Newfoundland to a U.S. base in Greenland, February 3, 1943. After a week at sea, she was 150 miles from her destination when the captain alerted the U.S. Coast guard convoy Tampa, Escanaba and Comanche of a sonar-detected German U-boat reported in the area earlier. Orders were sent down from the bridge for all passengers and crew to wear lifejackets until daybreak when there would be air cover from the base. Some of the soldiers who were bunking deep in the hold disregarded the order complaining of heat emanating from the vessel’s engines. more »
So many books have been written about the late Mel Fisher, readers have to wonder if there’s room in the bookcase for another one. Without doubt this one, “The Atocha Odyssey: The Life & Legacy of a Treasure Hunting Family,” is not just another story about treasure and author Pat Clyne is not just a former member of Fisher’s “Golden Crew.” He was a close friend of Fisher and remains even closer to his family today.
Thanks to Clyne, readers can view family photos never published, anecdotes never told and personal reflections revealed for the first time. Clyne sheds new light on the Senora de Atocha and the events leading up to Fisher’s 17-year search for the elusive Spanish galleon. It’s all here, told in an engaging writing style that starts with the renowned treasure salvor’s birth in Hobart, Indiana, 1922. more »
Why would anyone want to dive on a shipwreck that’s broken in half and scattered all over the bottom of the ocean?
“It’s the story,” says Dr. Bill Scheibel, a veteran east coast diver who has logged many dives on the Jacob Jones, a U.S. Navy destroyer sunk by a German submarine during World War II. “In this saga, only an avid wreck diver can appreciate the adage, ‘Truth is stranger than fiction.’” more »
When Englishman Charles Wolverstone founded Barbados in 1628, he wrote in his log that he bumped into an “out of place island.” The pear-shaped 166-square-mile island does seem misplaced compared to the graceful, curving half-moon pattern of other islands that stretch from Puerto Rico to South America. It may stand alone, but not out of sight, nor out of mind, as throngs of tourists visit this easternmost West Indies island.
Just as Wolverstone bumped into Barbados more than 300 years ago, veteran dive guide Willie Hewitt and I bumped into seven shipwrecks in three days. Yet, we hardly scratched the surface of the hundreds of ships lost off the island in centuries of seafaring mishaps. Willie loves the Stavronikita, better known as the “Stav, a 355-foot freighter whose upper decks and superstructure are easy to reach at 70 to 80 feet. Scuttled in 1978 as an artificial reef for divers and fishermen, this “dark horse” as Willie calls it, sits upright in the sand surrounded by fish and coral. more »