Posted by: mcjangles | October 11, 2011

Black Monday (?)

Monday the Independence took advantage of a late season weather window on the tail end of a beautiful Columbus Day weekend to head 70 miles offshore to investigate some more wreck numbers provided by a fisherman. We had 3 sets of marks, all in the vicinity of the Black Sunday wrecks. On “Black Sunday”, June 2nd, 1918, the U-151 sunk 6 vessels. Three schooners, and three steamships. The steamships included the TEXEL, WINNECONNE, and the liner SS CAROLINA which is the most famous of the Black Sunday wrecks. The TEXEL and CAROLINA have been positively identified, while a wreck in the general location of the WINNECONNE was dove that matched the general characteristics of the ship, it was not positively IDed.

After a very smooth ride offshore, the first 2 of our numbers turned out to very low lying (possibly the schooners?) but the 3rd target (in 200 fsw) had 15-20 feet of relief. Based on our preliminary research, we thought this 3rd set was likely the wreck thought to be the WINNECONNE. With the numbers for that wreck not publicly available we couldn’t be sure and figured it would be an exciting dive regardless since it had only been dove a handful of times and never positively identified.

Dan Martinez and I splashed first and began our descent into the cool emerald green water. The water was 62 degrees down to about 130 where it dropped to mid to high 40s. You never quite know what you are going to find and I was excited to see that the shot line brought us directly between two large boilers, neither of which were upright. We pushed several big lobsters out of the way and got the chain wrapped around a sturdy beam. Visibility was dark and a dusty 20-30 feet. A school of cod was hanging in the distance, and scallops covered the bottom. Lobsters in the 5-7 lb range apparently still prowling in the early dawn darkness began taking cover from our lights, but not before Danny nabbed a couple easy targets. Besides the boilers, the wreck was pretty broken down and low lying. We started poking around the debris for clues which might help identify this old girl, and soon found the prop shaft which led us for a good swim to the stern where we found a single blade of the propeller peaking up from the sandy bottom. It was here as Danny set up a beautiful shot that the memory card in my camera crapped out with a big blinking “ERR”. No more photos this dive.

Nothing was recovered this trip to help prove the identity of this steamer as the WINNECONNE but everyone had an awesome time trying. Days like this, trying to unravel the mysteries of the sea is what wreck diving is all about, and we will be back!

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Responses

  1. I’m sorry your camera went bad. The conditions sounded great and the 1 photo looked awesome. It sounds like you’ll be headed back for another. Did you get out on saturday or sunday?

  2. I learned my lesson about using cheap memory cards. I was only out Monday, but I heard the rest of the weekend was very nice.

  3. Awesome picture of Dan Martinez one of your best photos.


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