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.

Clive Cussler, Founder of NUMA

Historic Steamship Found in San Francisco Bay

The City of Chester

The City of Chester

An 1888 Gold Rush-era steamship was discovered recently by a National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) sonar survey team that was scouring the bottom of San Francisco Bay.

The City of Chester, sailing in a dense fog from San Francisco to British Columbia, was struck on its port side by another Bay area steamship that was twice its size. The bow of the Oceanic—transporting immigrants from Asia to California—sliced deeply into the 200-foot vessel, but the captain continued a forward thrust to plug the hole in an attempt to save the passengers and crew. Sixteen people aboard the City of Chester died in the disaster. The Oceanic sent out a double whistle signal, indicating the vessels should pass on the starboard side and the Chesterconfirmed it with the same double blast. But somehow the doomed ship’s captain either misunderstood the alerts or the tides drove him off course. Somehow his ship crossed the path of the Oceanic and that was the end of the maneuvering. The vessels were only half a mile apart when the captains realized their positions…leaving no time to abort the collision. more »

REPUBLIC Remains Saga of Treasure and Intrigue

RMS Republic

RMS Republic

Capt. Martin Bayerle is back and he thinks he knows where the treasure lies aboard the RMS Republic, a luxury liner that sank off Nantucket, Massachusetts, in 1909. It’s not that he went away after a failed attempt in 1987 to retrieve the cargo of gold coins purported to be somewhere in the bowels of the 585-foot White Star liner. more »

The “Two-Fers”—Two Wrecks, One Dive!

Joe Dorsey Dives THE DALHIA, a two-fer in the French West Indies.

Joe Dorsey Dives THE DALHIA, a two-fer in the French West Indies.

They aren’t easy to come by, these “two-fers,” two shipwrecks in one dive. It’s serendipity for”shipwreck nuts,” and adds double notches to their belts of wreck exploration. Among the two-fers I’ve explored, the Bermuda wrecks: Constellation and Montana, remain my favorites.

Mike Burke, Blue Water Divers, smiled when he told me that our first dive would be the Constellation. He knew that I knew it was the backdrop for movie star Jacquelin Bisset’s wet t-shirt scene in The Deep. Taken from the late Peter Benchley’s novel written more than 25 years ago, the film starred the sexy Bisset, Nick Nolte and the late Robert Shaw in a tale of lost treasure, drugs and intrigue. The 200-foot, four-masted schooner went down near Western Blue Cut, Bermuda, in 1943 while sailing from New York to South America. Thousands of bottles and glass shards cover the wreck, sparkling like jewels as the sun penetrates the clear 15 to 30 foot depths. These medicine, whiskey and mineral water bottles were part of a cargo that also included opium ampules, slate and cement bound for the city of La Guira, Venezuela. more »

Gold on the Clara Nevada: Cold Case Gets Hot

Clara Nevada

Clara Nevada

The cat’s out of the bag. All bets are off. I’m letting the chips fall where they may. Or perhaps I should say I’m letting the gold fall into the hands of divers who have the determination and tenacity to discover it. I’m not trying to start an Alaskan gold rush, but when you hear the “Clara Nevada” story you might be tempted to pack your gear and head for the Klondike. more »

Pigeon Forge Hosts World’s Largest Titanic Museum

The glamorous grand staircase delights visitors.

The glamorous grand staircase delights visitors.

Nestled not far from the foot of the Smokey Mountains, a replica of an enormous ship faces The Parkway looking for all the world like it’s ready to set sail into the steady traffic cruising through Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

As they board, passengers see lifeboats lashed in tightly above first class cabins near the bow. Above them, one of four majestic stacks stands tall as if ready to belch smoke before embarking on a voyage that will launch the travelers back in time…to April 15, 1912. That’s when the 883-foot White Star liner—sailing from Southampton, UK, to New York—suffered one of the most tragic voyages in maritime history. more »

 

photo of Clive Cussler © Los Angeles Photographer Rob Greer

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