Posted by: mcjangles | July 16, 2007

Northern Pacific 7-15-2007

Independence II trip out of Cape May to the liner Northern Pacific


The Northern Pacific was a 509′ passenger liner that caught fire and sank while being towed for a retrofit in 1922. Today she lies upside down in 145 fsw ~30 miles off of Cape May, NJ. We were tied into the wreck at the main break which is I believe about midships. The sand is about 140′ and it is possible to get a little deeper inside the wreck. The visibility was a very nice 40′ or so, and gave a great overview of the layout of this huge wreck. The bottom temp was about 50 degrees. The wreck rises 20-30′ off the bottom and access is easy at the break. I ran my reel inside and was able to penetrate ~150 feet into the wide open interior. I was scanning the bottom (formerly the ceiling) for artifacts but it was quite silty including several large mounds of mud. Caution was necessary to avoid siltout and my line even became buried at one point.

Outside the wreck again I did a little tour of debris field that is off one side of the wreck. I noticed a couple scallops and several big blackfish. I came across a nice fluke and as I reached for my knife I quickly remember I didn’t bring the big one. I remembered hearing that if you hold your open bag in front of the fish’s face and slap its tail it will swim into your bag. Well this big flattie must have seen that trick because he had no trouble sidestepping into open water, and my heart sank as I watched my dinner swimming away. My half hour was soon up and was not nearly enough time to see much of this huge wreck.

The seas held out and most everyone did 2 nice dives. Just goes to show you can’t listen to NOAA. Other divers were more successful in gathering dinner and a bunch of scallops and several lobsters were boated. I would have to say the Northern Pacific is another “don’t miss” wreck!

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Responses

  1. My great grandfather, Richard James Hall, was lost aboard this ship when it burned and sank in 1922. He was an engineer for the Sun Ship Company and aboard to consider a retrofit of the ocean liner.

  2. Hi, thanks for visiting and the comment! The sinking of the Northern Pacific was unfortunate. I would love to hear more about your great grandfather if you were willing to share. That was a very interesting time period to be a ship’s engineer and he must have had some good stories. I can also be reached at bam23@drexel.edu

  3. Hello – just came back to your comment. I would like to someday dive the ship. Though, I’ve never done more than a resort dive. My great grandfather was a young man in his twenties, married with a young son (my grandfather). My great grandmother waited for several days in their home in Phildadelphia as the news developed. there are quite a few newspaper article available from that week. I have a Hamilton watch purchased with the life insurance proceeds from his death. My son – Richard James Hall V – will receive it when he turns 21. I can be reached at hall “at sign” comcast “dot” net.


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