Wednesday, August 9, 2000

U.K., Bermuda, Royal Naval Dockyards

Dove on three wrecks today in two dives. The first dive, we descended to the Constellation. According to Bermuda Shipwrecks by Daniel and Denise Berg, the Constellation was built in 1918, later refitted to be a school, and finally converted back to a freighter in 1942 for the war effort. On its first voyage from New York across the Atlantic, it wrecked on the reef at Bermuda. Its cargo consisted of cement, drugs, and whiskey. The U.S. Navy salvaged the whiskey. Upon descent, we could see the cement, stacked and scattered on the sea floor like pillows. The bags had decomposed and the cement had hardened. At the stern is a windlass and at the bow, a large metal box. Near the bow lies the wreck of the Nola, a.k.a. the Montana, a U.S. Civil War Confederate blockade runner. Its paddle wheels are easily identifiable. I took a slate down with me to write on, but the pencil didn’t work. On the Nola and Constellation, we encountered another group of divers – middle-aged, probably sport divers. They were picking among the litter of the Constellation, picking up and discarding or keeping drug ampules, broken bottles, and such. We surfaced, ate lunch, then dived on the wreck of the Lartington, an English ship wrecked in 1879. Here we could see the two large boilers amidships. I followed the propeller shaft halfway through the wreck, but could not see it clear to the boilers. I also could not see where or how the boilers were attached to anything. I surfaced once during the dive to clear my right ear. On the bow of the Lartington, we could read, “LARTIN.”

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