dives along our Delaware and Maryland coast
CHEROKEE: Depth: 100 ft. Also known
locally as the "Gunboat" because
of the deck gun mounted on the bow before it was established that she
was the Cherokee, a U.S. Navy tugboat that foundered in a summer storm.
Built: 1891. Sank: 1918. Length: 120 ft. Sits upright in the sand,
relatively intact as local wrecks go. Drop over the stern to see the
DELILAH: Depth: 100 ft. Commercial tugboat sunk as part of the Delaware
Artifical Reef Program on January 15, 1999. Donated by the locally
well-known DiFebo family. Length: 90 ft. Large fish have been quick
to inhabit this
wreck and it is a nice change of pace from the usual wreck sites as
it is obviously still intact and can be dived in tri-level fashion.
INDEPENDENCE DAY: Depth: 110 ft. A favorite lobster wreck and home
to some large tautog and sea bass. Also known as the "Bimbo Wreck".
Appears to be a 19th century wooden sailing ship of unknown origin. Low
lying ribs and decking spread out over an area the size of a football
FENWICK SHOALS WRECKS: Home to several broken up low lying wrecks
with boilers present on both the inner and outer sites. There can
be a mild
to stiff current and there is virtually always a surge. This is
a popular spot for spear fishing, especially with the long bottom
small lobsters inhabit the many nooks and crannies as well. Most
of the wrecks
are covered by bright yellow encrusting sponge and myriad starfish.
On good visibility days, divers can be seen on the bottom from
Among the many inhabitants of the shoals are stingrays, tautog,
sea bass, trigger fish, butterfly fish, puffer fish and the occasional
Outer Fenwick: From the Pilot Journals "On April 18, 1896 the tug
North American left the Delaware Breakwater Wednesday with a corp of
United States torpedo officials bound to Fenwick's Island Shoals, to
blow up the numerous wrecks in that vicinity...The wrecks of the British
steamship Brinkburn, the Norwegian bark Siam and other craft which have
ended their existence there will be destroyed." Construction of
the wrecks on the outer shoals is steel or iron, steam powered screw
approximately 150 ft. long. Depth: 25 ft.
Inner Fenwick Also known as the "Boiler Wreck", construction
is also steel or iron, steam powered and approximately 300 ft.
long. In Gary Gentile theorizes that the site could be the Sutton,
freighter than sank in 1900. It is very broken up and low lying.
The boiler is a prime "hot spot" for spear fishing. Depth:
JOSEPH E. HOOPER: Wooden schooner barge. Length: about 300 ft.
Depth: 50 ft. Built: 1921. Foundered and sank in November 1945.
A good novice
dive. Located near Fenwick Shoals. Home to tautog, sea bass and
AFRICAN QUEEN: Depth: 70 ft. A Liberian registered oil tanker
which ran aground in a storm at Gull Shoal off Ocean City,
from Cartegena, Colombia to Paulsburo, New Jersey. Built: 1955
Length: 590 ft. All the men aboard were rescued. The owners
sold their claim
so the wreck was considered un-owned,thus locals took what
they could from the ship. Eventually, a storm ripped off the bow
carried it over a mile away. A tug was able to tow the stern
to dry-dock but
the bow was never recovered and lies upside down in the sand,
a home to large lobster and fish.
BLENNY: Depth: 70 ft. A Balao-class submarine built during
World War II, seeing action in Korea as well as WWII. She
was retired in 1973. When the Maryland Artifical Reef Program
was started, she was ecologically cleaned and sunk in her
the African Queen with which she is often dived. There is
a wonderful Blenny
web site dedicated to her memory which is worth the visit.
Built: 1944. Length: 311 ft. She can be easily penetrated
due to the
4 large holes
cut out of the top of each compartment and the inside hatches
were kept in an open position.
Arthur T. Hall : Depth: 110 ft.
SAETIA: Depth: 100-110 ft. A coal-fired steam freighter with
a very short life. A World War I casualty mined by the
U-117 on November
Built: 1918. Length: 322 ft. This is the outer most of
the so called "Twin
Wrecks". The other wreck is that of the Oklahoma, a tanker that
broke in two on January 4, 1914.
PATTY'S PITCHER WRECK: Depth: 105 ft. Unidentified wooden
wreck generally thought of as a good lobster wreck. She
a series of ribs
with lots of nooks and crannies for bugs and fish to
hide. The bow sports
a large anchor and pony boiler out in the sand. The stern
has a large rudder flat on the sand. Several gudgeons
brought up in
the last few years. She is thought by some to possibly
be the Singleton
Palmer, sister ship to the Elizabeth Palmer. Length:
About 200 ft.
WENDY'S WRECK: Depth: 110 ft. Unidentified wooden wreck
with extensive ribs of varying size. A large spread
well worth the visit.
A crew favorite and a good bug wreck.
H BUOY: Depth: 90 ft. Also known as "Sandy's Anchor Wreck" and "H
Bar". Large broken up unidentified wooden wreck. The bow section
lies low to the sand with the anchor and chain identifying it. The stern
section has 10 ft.+ relief with lots of cubby holes for lobsters.
MANHATTAN: Depth: 90 ft. Passenger-freighter which
sank in collision with the schooner Agnes Manning.
228 ft. Most of the wreck is flat to the bottom
with the hull plates collapsed
outward. Two big anchors remain at the bow with
the engines and boilers obvious and squares of the cargo
digging wreck as well as a good lobster wreck.
We've seen a ship's lantern, women's
high top leather shoes, mantle clock and lots of
other goodies come up in recent years.
Below are additional local wrecks that transportation
can be arranged to through Aqua Ventures aboard
the Surface Interval.
WASHINGTONIAN: Depth: 90-100 ft. Freighter carrying
cargo of sugar from Honolulu. Sank in a collision
Elizabeth Palmer. Built:
Sank: 1915. Length: 407 ft. You can swim right
through the bow section which is a hang out for
with the highest relief in the bow at about 20
ft. Swimming aft past the enormous
boilers, she breaks down to a mass of large broken
hull plates. A favorite lobster wreck, especially
probably the most
visited wreck site out of Indian River.
Depth: 80-90 ft. Wooden five-masted schooner,
one of the largest American sailing
vessels of her time.
Sank in collision
the Washingtonian. Built: 1903. Sank: 1915. Length:
300 ft. Long rows of low lying ribs with good
NINA: Depth: 70-80 ft. Iron hulled U.S. Navy
tug which foundered at sea. Built: 1865. Sunk:
137 ft. A favorite
to produce many artifacts for the diligent
salvage hound. Good "bug" catchers
can usually find a lobster if they try. The ribs of the bow are very
apparent and are of good relief, but it has started to disintegrate in
recent years. Take care with the stern section, as a fishing trawler
dropped its net over it in 1994.
SUBWAY STOP: Depth: 90-100 ft. New York City
Transit subway cars from the Redbird Line.
Sunk on August
21, 2001 as
part of the
S.I. WRECK: Depth: 100 ft. A large wooden
sailing vessel of unknown origin. Ribs
obvious bow structure
with steel deadeyes. A really nice wreck
worth exploring for artifacts and/or dinner.
in 2001 and are
anxious to get to know her better.
U.S. NAVY BARGE: Depth: 70-90 ft. Sunk
on October 25, 2000 as part of the Delaware
towed from the Norfolk Navy Yard. Several
dozen holes were cut into her to assure
would sink in
opportunities. Good 20 ft. relief and
easy navigation along the handrails.
JAKE'S WRECK: Depth: 65-70 ft. Unidentified
broken up wooden wreck. A favorite
second dive site
for many charters.
good wreck for
although it is very broken up and hard
to follow, thus a wreck reel is strongly
The major underwater
is a large
anchor and chainpile which frequently
provide a hiding place
for large lobsters.
Home to many varieties of fish.
JENNIFER'S WRECK: Depth: 80 ft. Unidentified
wooden wreck, mostly large ribs.
A favorite site for lobster.
known as the "Bingo" wreck.
Rarely dived now as so small that only a very small charter would be
comfortable on it.
CHINA WRECK: Depth: 45-50 ft. Brigantine
or barkentine designated the "China
Wreck" because of the cargo of English chinaware she was carrying.
Discovered in 1970 during routine hydrographic survey. Length: 160+ ft.
Has offered up literally thousands of pieces of china to avid recreational
divers over the years. In years past, we noted that she appeared to have
burned and sank between 1867 and 1878 because of research in dating the
china. In Gary Gentile's 2002 revised edition of Shipwrecks of Delaware
and Maryland, there is evidence that the wreck may have been the D.H.
Bills which sank in 1880. In spite of the shallow depth, this is not
a novice dive due to the heavy current and usually low visibility. Power
tools are outlawed. We recommend overweighting by at least 5 lbs. to
stay down in the strong current. Although occasional whole pieces of
china do still come up, it is usually only with divers of considerable
experience, tenacity and ultimately luck.
KING COBRA: Steel-hulled tug which
foundered in a winter storm.
Built: 1887. Sank:
1979. Length: 67
40-50 ft. Intact
in the sand near the mouth of
the Delaware Bay. Home to some large
KATHLEEN RIGGIN: Depth: 55-60
ft. A small clammer sunk around
of an unsuccessful
lift bag attempt.
This vessel is still intact
and can be carefully penetrated.
SAN GIL: Depth: 130-140 ft.
A freighter carrying bananas
to her watery
grave by the U-103
on February 4, 1942. Built:
325 ft. Although some sections
are broken up, the main wreckage
in one piece
a list to
penetrated and the boilers
are still intact.
MOONSTONE: Depth: 130-140 ft.
WWII patrol craft which sank
the USS Greer
171 ft. The Moonstone was
orignially commissioned the Lone Star,
a luxury steel-hulled motor
the U.S. Navy in 1941. This
is the most
significant collapse in 1998.
Still a very popular dive
site, she sits
the sand and the
can be carefully
the gash cleaved by the USS
Greer. The 3-inch deck gun
is the most
in their racks on the fantail.
Local divers have pretty
much pulled off the last of the
portholes, but there is still
HVOSLEF: Depth: 140 ft. Freighter
torpedoed by U-94 March
10, 1942. Built: 1927.
carrying sugar from
Spain to Boston
when she was struck by
2 torpedoes. The ship sank
in 2 minutes.
The bow is the
is open, exposing
the engine and boilers,
and the stern breaks down into
by diligent salvage
hounds. Large lobster and
tautog are among the inhabitants.
JACOB JONES: Depth: 120
ft. Destroyer torpedoed
U- 578 on February
28, 1942. Built:
plastered all over the
sea-bed. There are several
mid-ship section consisting
of boilers, engine and
associated stern wreckage.
lie atop the
mass of debris
with the torpedoes
still inside. Gun shells
and calibration rings
the site and the
occasional personal article.
found as well, but best
alone. Large lobsters
from the Jones too.
TERROR WRECK (SOLVANG?):
Depth: 175 ft. Length:
Wreck" was so named for the expression on one diver's face when
he surfaced after the first exploratory dive on this deep and typically
dark, poor visibility wreck. Ted Green theorizes that this may well be
the freighter Solvang which sank in January 1926 in a collision with
the tanker S.S. Vacuum. This wreck is clearly for the very experienced
technical diver only.
NORTHERN PACIFIC: Depth:
150 ft. Passenger
liner destroyed by fire
1922. Built: 1915.
ft. The Northern
hull is almost perfectly
broad breaks allow access
to the interior including
port side is
ripped outward exposing
portholes, many of
lie loose in
the sand. Large
lobsters are found
in the debris field
DRY DOCKS: Five different
large sets of dry-docks
depths to the
sand of 130-140
ft. The top of the docks
usually be reached
ft. They are home
to large pelagic
anemones, mussels, scallops
located in the
general vicinity of the Moonstone
other deep wrecks
out of Indian River,
100 ft. Freighter
a collision with
the SS Somerset
Length: 295 ft. Also
as the "Little Oiler". The most interesting thing to note is that
this wreck seems to be bisected down the middle like a "half-hull" ship
model. The wreck has good relief with the highest section being the boilers
at about 15 feet. The fantail, rudder and two blades of the prop are
exposed. It is an interesting dive for both artifact hounds and hunter-gatherers.
CITY OF ATHENS:
in a collision
cruiser La Gloire
in the wee
hours of the
May 1, 1918
with 67 lives lost.
ft. Also known as
the "Ammo Wreck" because of the vast quantities of 8 mm
LaBelle cartridges recovered regularly by divers. These were part of
the cargo. This is a fantastic digging wreck with not only thousands
of bullets recovered, mostly from cases broken up on the port side near
the bow, but also large quantities of pharmaceutical bottles, some still
with contents and corks intact. The nicest piece we've seen come up was
a sterling silver gentleman's pocket watch. Just forward of the engines
is the place to dig for assorted glassware and china. Large lobsters
and fish also abound on the wreck if you're not a salvage hound.
a cargo of
in a collision
184 ft. Generally
of Athens on
back to the
broken up to entertain
a very small