The Blanche King
The Blanche King was the classic American schooner, a design in wide use at the turn of the century. She was constructed in Maine and launched in 1887. This great sailing ship was a four-masted, two-deck vessel measuring 192 feet. Her most unusual feature was a retractable centerboard that allowed her to navigate shallow waters. She was coming to Bermuda from Virginia with a load of coal, when she crashed into the reefs and sank in 1920. Today, she lies in 35 feet of water near the North Carolina. The wreckage is marked by rigging, deck machinery and the box that housed the retractable centerboard.
The Caraquet
The Caraquet was a combination British mail packet and passenger steamer of 200 feet. She cruised the Atlantic at the turn of the century. Originally built in Belfast, Northern Ireland, she was launched in 1894. Her most often traveled route was Nova Scotia to Bermuda to the West Indies and onto South America. In the summer of 1923, the steamer was coming into Bermuda from St. John, Nova Scotia when she crashed into a reef. Rough seas, strong currents and poor visibility had pushed her off course and made it difficult to obtain land sightings. Her wreckage lies in 40 feet, of water marked by enormous steam boilers, a large anchor, winches and deck machinery.
The Constellation
The Constellation was a four-masted, wooden hulled schooner originally built in 1918 and measuring 192 feet in length. During World War ll, she was pressed into service and used as a cargo vessel. In July 1943, she was bound for Venezuela, carrying a general cargo of building materials, medicinal drugs and 700 cases of Scotch whiskey. Today, her hull lies broken apart on a coral and sand bottom in 30 feet of water, exposing sacks of petrified cement, cups, nail polish bottles and a vast assortment of small items. The Constellation was one of the key shipwrecks in Peter Benchley's book, THE DEEP and later, the movie of the same name.
The Cristobal Colon
The Cristobal Colon is Bermuda's largest shipwreck, measuring 499 feet in length and three decks high. This Spanish trans-Atlantic luxury liner was completed in 1923 and operated between New York and Central America. She was wrecked on October 25, 1936, when she crashed into a coral reef at a speed of 15 knots. Today she lies in 55 feet of water and has become a haven for large groupers and a variety of reef fish. The Cristobal Colon is one of the few wrecks that has rectangular portholes. Her wreckage is scattered across 100,000 square feet of sea floor, offering endless hours of fascinating exploration.
The Darlington
The Darlington was a sturdy iron hulled steamer built in 1881, at the beginning of the age of steam driven ships. She was constructed at the Swan & Hunter Shipyard in Newcastle, England. She measured 285 feet long, with a 36 foot beam and a hull displacement of 1,990 tons. The wrecking of this proud vessel was caused by negligence and inexperience. She was en route from New Orleans to Bremen, Germany, carrying a cargo of cotton and grain. Her captain failed to assign a lookout while navigating in unfamiliar waters. On February 22, 1886, she crashed into Bermuda's western reefs and could not be refloated. The wreck lies in 30 feet of water, with her steam boilers, propeller shaft and deck winches still visible.
The Hermes
The Hermes is Bermuda's most popular wreck dive because this USCG buoy tender is still fully intact. Built in Pennsylvania in 1943, the small ship is 165 feet long, with a displacement of 825 tons. She was enroute to the Cape Verde Islands when she experienced engine trouble near Bermuda. She was eventually abandoned by her crew because repairs were estimated to cost more than the ship was worth. In 1984, the derelict ship became an artificial reef. She lies one mile offshore at Horseshoe Bay. The small ship sits upright in 80 feet of water with her mast pointing toward the surface. She is exceptionally photogenic because of excellent visibility in the area and visitors can examine her engines, galley, cargohold, pilothouse, deck winch and propeller.
The Iristo
The Iristo was a most unlucky ship, wrecked because of another shipwreck. Unfamiliar with Bermuda reefs, her captain was surprised by the sight of the wreck of the Cristobal Colon and ordered his ship turned away. The course change caused the Iristo to crash into a submerged reef and subsequently sink in 1937. The Iristo, a 250 foot Norwegian freighter, was carrying a cargo of gasoline drums, a fire engine and steamroller. The wreck lies in 50 feet of water, with the bow coming within 18 feet of the surface. Points of interest include the engine, boilers, propeller shaft, propeller and the fire engine.
The L'Herminie
Bermuda's most impressive warship wreck is the L'Herminie, a 60 gun French frigate that sank in 1838. This three-masted, wooden hulled sailing vessel was returning to France from a skirmish in Mexico when she crashed into a reef. Approximately some 25 giant cannons remain scattered across the sea floor, partially buried in the sand. In depths of 35 feet, visitors can see the ship's timbers, hull sheathing, copper nails, the fire hardened bricks used for ballast and a pair of crossed cannons that serve as a monument to this unique wreck site. L'Herminie was one of the last French fighting ships that used sail power before European powers switched to steam.
The Lartington
The Lartington was an early vintage freighter that crashed into Bermuda reefs on December 14, 1879. The old steamer had departed Savannah, Georgia, for Russia with a cargo of cotton. Her voyage was not an easy one; she encountered numerous storms and heavy seas. A giant wave cracked her hull, causing a massive leak. The ship's waterpumps could not keep ahead of the incoming sea and the captain decided to make a run for Bermuda. She never made it. Instead, the unlucky ship ran aground on the reef five miles northwest of the Royal Naval Dockyard.Subsequent storms scattered her remains but her bow section is fairly intact. She lies in 15 to 30 feet of water with her steam boilers, stern section and propeller still visible.
The Madiana
The Madiana was built in 1877 and was a new breed of iron hulled trans-atlantic passenger/light cargo ship, measuring 344.8 feet in length. On the night of February 10, 1903, the Madiana was en route from New York to the West Indies with passengers and general cargo. According to reports from passengers, the ship was threading her way through a narrow channel leading to Bermuda's Hamilton Harbour when she struck a reef northeast of North Rock. Near Bermuda's uppermost reef system, the bottom of the ship's hull and keel sit 25 feet below the surface. Atop this collection of hull plates and bulkheads, are her two 15-foot diameter boilers and her massive 18 inch diameter propeller shaft.
The Mary Celestia
One of Bermuda's most historic shipwrecks is the Mary Celestia - a side paddlewheel steamer chartered by the Confederacy during America's Civil War. She was utilized as a blockade runner, smuggling much needed guns, ammunition, supplies and food to the troops in the South. The sleek, 225 foot ship sank in 1864, after hitting a reef close to the south shore of Bermuda. The wreck lies in 55 feet of water, with one of her paddlewheel frames standing upright like a miniature ferris wheel. The other paddlewheel lies flat on the sand, along with other interesting artifacts such as the boilers, anchor and part of the bow.
The Minnie Breslauer
The Minnie Breslauer is one of the unluckiest ships to sink in Bermuda waters. She was an English steamer built in 1872. The 300 foot steel hulled freighter was on her maiden voyage between Portugal and New York, loaded with a cargo of wine, dried fruit, bales of cork and 160 pound lead ingots. Unfamiliar with Bermuda reefs, the captain edged his new ship toward the shore, where she collided with a submerged reef and ground to a halt. An attempt to back the ship off the reef only resulted in it sinking. The wreck is one mile off the south shore in depths ranging from 35 to 70 feet. Still visible is the ship's huge steam boiler, parts of the wheelhouse, the ship's steering quadrant and a four bladed propeller.
The Montana
The Montana was an elusive ship of multiple identities, often operating under the name of Nola, Gloria, Paramount and Montana. She was a highly successful Civil War blockade runner that made frequent trips between England, Bermuda and North Carolina. Built in Glasgow, Scotland, this sleek 236 foot paddlewheel steamer could run at 15 knots. The shallow reefs of Bermuda accomplished what no Union gun boat could do and she sank in December 1863. She now lies in 30 feet of water, still partially intact. The wreck is marked by a huge steam boiler and two paddlewheel frames lying on their sides. Adorned with a heavy coating of hard corals, soft corals and all sorts of marine life, she is a beautiful sight.
The North Carolina
The wreck of the North Carolina is the classic vision of a sunken sailing ship. The vessel was an iron hulled English barque that measured 205 feet long and displaced 533 tons. The ill-fated ship sank on New Year's day 1880, when she struck a reef. She was en route from Bermuda to England with a general cargo of cotton, bark and fuel. Today, the North Carolina sits upright at depths ranging from 25 to 45 feet. The bow and stern are fairly intact while her mid-section has collapsed. Her bowsprit is exceptionally beautiful as it points up toward the surface. A neat row of deadeyes attached to steel rigging traces her railing and the curve of her fantail has a touch of ghostly grace.
The Pelinaion
The Pelinaion was a large cargo steamer, 385 feet long with a 50 foot beam and a displacement of 4,291 tons. She was built at Port Glasgow, in 1907, but her ownership changed numerous times before she was purchased by a Greek shipping company and given her present name in 1939. The Pelinaion was heading from West Africa to Baltimore with a cargo of iron ore when she struck the reef off St. David's Head on January 16, 1940. The wreck lies one mile offshore in depths ranging from 20 to 70 feet. She is an awesome sight because of her large size and massive parts. Most noticeable are the ship's giant steam boilers, huge triple expansion engine standing upright and a spare propeller strapped to her deck.
The Pollockshields
Built in 1890 in Hamburg, Germany, the Pollockshields was a 323 foot cargo steamer. With the approach of the first World War, near the end of 1904, she was refitted into a German naval supply ship for operations in the North Atlantic. Ten years later and known at that time as the Graecia, she was captured by the H.M.S. Argonaut. After the capture, the British Government named her The Pollockshields. Travelling from Cardiff, Wales for an undisclosed port of rendezvous, the steamer ran into a "white squall" on September 2, 1915. Five days later the ship struck the near shore reef off Elbow Beach. Among her collection of flattened deck and hull plates strewn across the bottom on both sides of a shallow break in the reef, in depths between 15 to 30 feet, are two substantial boilers and an enormous space propeller, as well as her immense triple expansion engine.
The Taunton
The Taunton was a 228-foot Norwegian streamer that was stranded on the North East Breakers in 1920. Sitting at 10 to 40 feet, she is a great shallow dive and a beautiful wreck.
The Xing Da
This 221 foot freighter became the target of a US Immigration sting operation to capture those trying to smuggle illegal immigrants into the United States. On October 6, 1996, crewed by suspected members of the Chinese Mafia known as the Triad, the Xing Da was to rendezvous at a pre-arranged place in the mid-Atlantic with a second, smaller ship to transfer the "cargo" and supposedly continue on to America. Instead, what they found 140 miles off Bermuda was the U.S. Coast Guard and a regiment of the U.S. Marines. After being towed into Bermuda, broken down beyond repair and destined for a water grave, the Bermudan Government negotiated for possession of the freighter. On May 15, 1997, the Xing Da was towed past the seaward edge of Bermuda's northwest facing barrier reef and sent to the bottom where she was successfully placed even keel in 104 feet of water.

 

 


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