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

Wrong Turn Sinks Gold Laden Paddle Wheeler

SS Pacific Ocean Liner 1851

SS Pacific Ocean Liner 1851

The lookout aboard the Orpheus barely saw the starboard lights on the PSS Pacific 300 yards ahead. He yelled to the helmsman to turn the clipper ship five degrees to port in order to avoid a collision. Meanwhile, aboard the Pacific, the lookout awoke from a nap and the helmsman was straining to see out of his dirty pilothouse window. Assuming he could reduce the stress on the hull if he side-swiped the other vessel, instead of striking it head-on, he turned his ship to starboard and sealed the fate of hundreds of passengers and crew. more »

Ringling Shipwreck Still an Unsolved Mystery

Ringling Yacht

Ringling Yacht credit Ringling Museum

“The Greatest Show on Earth” may no longer be the circus, but could be something connected to it during the Roaring Twenties. In 1922, people weren’t surprised when John Ringling of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus launched his lush $200,000 yacht, Zalophus, (Greek for Sea Lion). Known as the “Father of Modern Circuses,” he was not only raking in dough from performances by acrobats and clowns, he was making big bucks selling real estate off Florida’s Gulf Coast.

That’s where the 125-foot palatial yacht came in. Ringling used it to wine, dine and usher millionaire friends to Sarasota Bay’s barrier islands where he planned future development. The 125-foot pleasure craft had six spacious staterooms, five bathrooms with brass bathtubs and additional space for the attendant maids and valets. Ship historian David Weeks wrote, “The yacht’s furnishings and décor were lavish enough to satisfy Ringling and his wife’s taste for opulence and fine detail…so fine that some guests may have found it all to be a bit bizarre.” more »

Bonaire Windjammer is Ghostly Encounter

The Windjammer Mairi Bhan at Dockside

The Windjammer Mairi Bhan at Dockside

I don’t know who named the Mairi Bhan a “ghost ship.” Perhaps it was the local fishermen, but the moniker has stuck throughout the years. Divers refer to the 239-foot- square-rigged bark as the “Windjammer.” A deep encounter for experienced divers, the three-masted merchant vessel, victim of a storm in 1912, rests on her starboard side close to shore off the port city of Kralendijk, Bonaire, in the Lesser Antilles. A boat or shore dive, the wreck lies in 140 to 180 feet of water directly in front of the Bonaire Petroleum Corporation (BOPEK) fuel oil storage and transportation terminal. more »

USS Arizona Remains Memorial Sanctuary

USS Arizona (credit: US Navy)

USS Arizona (credit: US Navy)

December 7, 2016, commemorated the 75th anniversary of the surprise Japanese attack on the U.S. Naval Base at Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii. Proclaimed “a date which will live in infamy,” by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, it marked the entry of the United States into World War II.

At battle’s end, 2,403 military and civilian personnel died, more than 1,000 were wounded and 18 ships were lost. The early Sunday morning attack came from 355 warplanes that attacked in two waves from six aircraft carriers of the Japanese Imperial Fleet. The attack was so staggering and swift, our forces could get very few airplanes off the ground. Our ships needed an hour or more to fire up their boilers thus deferring any strategy to make a run for it. more »

Tracking Trails of Sunken Treasure (Part II)

Art McKee uses the old Miller-Dunn diving helmet to find treasure in the early days. Credit: Ellsworth Boyd

Art McKee uses the old Miller-Dunn diving helmet to find treasure in the early days. Credit: Ellsworth Boyd

Mel Fisher is known as the “Dean” of treasure salvors, but the late Art McKee remains the “Father” of the fraternity. A treasure diving pioneer in the 1940s and 50s, he found nine of 20 wrecks from the Spanish Armada of 1733, all hurricane victims in the Florida Straits. McKee goes so far back, he used the old Miller-Dunn diving helmet to uncover treasure in the middle and upper keys where menacing sites such as Coffins Patch, Marathon, Florida, would have frightened away the faint of heart. Upon retrieving so much treasure and so many artifacts from the Capitana el Rui, El Infante, San Pedro and San Ignacio, he had to build a museum to store and display it all. more »

 

photo of Clive Cussler © Los Angeles Photographer Rob Greer