Posted by: mcjangles | June 25, 2007

India Arrow


“So hot was the explosion that Winter ordered the U-103 backed away. Several of his men were allowed topside to see the results. What they saw must have sickened them. The India Arrow was engulfed with flames and the men were burning.” – From Torpedo Junction


The India Arrow was a tanker (sister ship of Dixie Arrow sunk off Hatteras) sunk in WWII and today rests nearly turtled in 190 fsw about 60 miles off Cape May. My buddy Bill Bedford and I were looking forward to diving this wreck, which has been described as “have to see” by Gary Gentile, for a long time. We finally got the chance to dive her on Saturday off Harold Moyer’s boat the Big Mac. Tom Packer and Steve Gatto tied us in pretty quickly and let us know via a com’s unit “holy shit that’s a huge propeller” that we were tied in near the stern. Coming down the line the visibility was crystal clear on the surface. The wreck came into view at about 130’ and we hit the top of the wreck (the keel) at about 165’. The visibility was great on the bottom and probably 40-50’. We did a quick orientation and systems check before heading over to check out the massive single propeller. This prop cannot be described as anything but huge. It rises 20-30 feet off the bottom and the equally huge rudder has broken off and lies just aft resting on the fantail.

Coming back across the hull my light caught a reflection off something in the hull and sure enough one of those round things. I brushed some of the sand and growth off to reveal a perfect porthole.

We got back near the tie in and it was easy enough to swim right inside the wreck past a huge set of bollards that loomed on the deck overhead. I did a quick look to see if I could get to that porthole but there was a bulkhead preventing access but low and behold there was another porthole just before it with the swing plate hanging down. The glass was missing and the backing plate was brass but solidly enough attached that it was more work than I was interested in.

Heading forward it didn’t take long to come across several brass cage lamps, one with the glass globe still intact. At this point I am now zipping about like a kid in a candy store with a huge smile on my face. I through the lamps in my bag and put them by the tie in so I wasn’t dragging them through the wreck. Back inside and forward and I came to the engine and boilers which were truly impressive. Being inside this wreck was just incredible. It was so wide open and the ceiling (keel) so high that it was like being in a huge dark cathedral. Here and there rust holes allowed emerald green light to filter through and at points along the center line you could look port and starboard and see out both sides of the wreck. After passing the boilers the wreck is broken and I came out here and reluctantly headed back to the anchor line on the outside of the wreck and had to keep reminding myself to leave the scallops littering the white sandy bottom alone.

On my second dive I took my camera but it was giving me too many problems. That’s why the pictures you see are pretty terrible. So I headed forward toward the break again. I found a couple more portholes with the glass in them but again they need work. It was another awesome dive on this awesome wreck. I can’t wait to go back to the India Arrow.

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