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.
Strange shipwreck discoveries are not unusual, but few rival the puzzling paddlewheel steamboat that Bob Hawley uncovered in 1988. It’s commonplace for the remains of sunken paddle wheelers to be found along the banks of the Missouri River, victims of storms, fires and founderings during the 19th century’s western frontier movement. But this one was rare. more »
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 »
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 »
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 »