On February 11th, 1907 the schooner HARRY KNOWLTON collided with the side wheel steamer LARCHMONT sending 143 souls to their icy water filled graves in what was one of the largest maritime disasters at the time. Over a hundred years later the skeletal remains of the side paddles, a reminder of transportation of many days past, still rise proudly over 20 feet off the silty bottom of Long Island sound, a slowly fading monument to the unfortunate travelers that cold day in February.
Today we visited this unique wreck site on the Sidekick out of Montauk after the original plan to visit another piece of history, the U-853, was diverted due to choppy seas. Capt. Chuck had us on site and hooked in, in time dive the required slack tide. It was overcast and gloomy, and ambient light faded relatively quickly on the way down to the wreck which lies in 125 fsw. In the chilly darkness it was quite eerie seeing the standing paddle wheel come up out of the gloom to greet us. Visibility was a decent 15-20 feet but quite dark, and I immediately regretted not bringing my tripod. But it was my first salt water dive in several months and I was just feeling fortunate to be in the (42 degree) water. Not bad for the first shake down dive of the season.