BERMUDA SHIPWRECKS  Constellation Wreck
The complete scuba divers guide to shipwrecks around the Island of Bermuda




   Capt. Dan Berg's Wreck Valley Collection   

CONSTELLATION shipwreck stamp Bermuda       CONSTELLATION shipwreck Bermuda scuba diver   CONSTELLATION shipwreck artifact Bermuda lead crucifix

By Capt. Dan Berg

Photos: Constellation courtesy South Street Seaport Museum. Cement bag cargo courtesy Alan Marquardt. Lead Crucifix photo by Dan Berg.

The four masted schooner, Constellation, was built in 1918 by Frye Flinn Company in Harrington, Maine. She was originally named Sally Persis Noyes and sailed as part of the Crowell and Thurlow fleet. She was later sold in 1932 to Robert L. Royall and renamed Constellation. Mr Royall's plan was to refit this fine sailing ship and make her into a floating nautical school. She was completely rebuilt and provided with all of the modern comforts, including electricity, refrigeration, plumbing, a modern galley and large staterooms. Unfortunately, Mr. Royall's plans did not work. It seemed that there was little interest in this type of sailing, and within a year the ship was put up for sale. The Constellation found her way to New York and after one or two short trips remained there until 1942. When World War II was in full fury, the demand for ships of any kind was enormous. The Constellation, now owned by Intercontinental S.S. Company, was converted back into a cargo vessel.

In the late spring of 1942, the Constellation set sail on her first voyage since being reconverted. Carrying a 2,000 ton general cargo, including hundreds of bags of cement, 700 cases of Scotch whiskey, and an assortment of drugs, she was en-route from New York to La Guira, Venezuela. Not long after clearing New York, her steam pumping gear broke down, and she began to take on water from the increasingly rough weather. The crew used hand pumps for several days but could not keep up with the leaking schooner. Captain Howard Neaves, who was 71 years of age, headed toward Bermuda for repairs. On July 30, 1942, while waiting for a local pilot, during a flat calm sea, she was driven onto a reef by the strong current. The ship was a total loss, but the United States Navy managed to save some of her cargo including the 700 cases of Scotch.


Denise Berg with drug ampuls from the Constellation. Photo by Dan Berg

In the mid 1970's, Peter Benchley wrote an adventure story called THE DEEP. It was the Constellation that was the model for his best selling novel and later the multi-million dollar motion picture, starring Jacqueline Bisset, Nick Nolte and Robert Shaw. Amongst her general cargo, the Constellation had carried thousands of drug ampuls full of adrenaline, anti-tetanus serum, opium, morphine, and penicillin. There is a second wreck on the site, the Montana. Benchley used both of these oddities to enhance his best selling novel and acclaimed film. He also based Robert Shaw's character, Romer Treece, on the world famous Bermudian treasure hunter, Teddy Tucker.

Today, the wreck of the Constellation, also commonly known as the Woolworth Wreck, sits on a sand and coral bottom in 25 to 30 feet of water. She is completely broken up and scattered over a large area. Divers will note a huge pile of cement bags, now hardened, piled into a small mountain in the sand. This was part of her deck cargo, and divers have found everything from tennis rackets, coffee cups, nail polish bottles, ceramic tiles, bottles, lead crucifixes, yo-yos and drug ampuls in and around this area. This wreck is great for underwater photography or video.

Within easy swimming distance of about 50 feet is the wreck of the Montana, which went down in 1863. In fact, an untrained eye could easily confuse both wrecks as one.

This rare photo of the Constellation, was taken in Boston, probably in 1933. The image was sent to the author by the photographer. At the time he had been taking photographs for over 80 years. Photo courtesy Lou Shornick


The information listed above was taken with permission from the Book:
A Vacationing Divers Guide to Bermudas Shipwrecks,
by Dan and Denise Berg, 6x9 softcover,73 pages.
Retail $14.95




Now also Available as an instant download printable PDF eBook

A Vacationing Divers Guide to Bermudas Shipwrecks

Buy Now  only $9.95
4.5 MB instant download, printable  PDF file

by Dan and Denise Berg, 6x9, 73 page downloadable ebook. From the first quarter of the 16th century, Bermuda became a landmark for Spanish ships sailing back to Spain from the New World. The desire to sight Bermuda to confirm their position often ended their voyage as they wrecked on Bermuda's outer reefs. To this day Bermuda's treacherous reefs have taken their toll on shipping. The reefs have claimed vessels ranging from ocean lines to small fishing boats. Bermuda Shipwrecks is the most comprehensive, accurate, illustrated collection of information, photographs, sketches and stories ever written about the legendary wrecks around Bermuda. Bermuda Shipwrecks includes over 100 illustrations comprised of 61 sensational color photos, 17 rare b&w historical images, 19 stamps, 4 sketches plus one map. Bermuda Shipwrecks contains a wealth of enlightening information that gives the readers a nostalgic glimpse into the history and present condition of over 55 of Bermuda's most popular Shipwrecks. 

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Copyright Capt. Dan Berg / Aqua Explorers Inc

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Baldwin NY 11510


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