By Capt. Dan Berg
Photo: Mari Celeste
sinking courtesy Alan Marquardt collection.
Bermuda wreck series postage
stamp. Courtesy Postmaster General.
The Mari Celeste was a 207 ton, civil war blockade runner
owned by the Crenshaw Brothers. The Confederate paddle wheel steamer
which, according to the Bermuda Royal Gazette, was known as "one of
the swiftest and most fortunate of her class" had made at least five
successful trips delivering goods into the south.
On September 13, 1864, under the command of Captain Sinclair and
piloted by Bermudian, John Virgin, with a cargo of "classified
merchandise" which included beef, bacon, ammunition and much needed
rifles for the war effort, she left port enroute to Wilmington,
North Carolina. The Mari Celeste made an unusually fast run
through the east end channel and up the south side of the island.
First officer Stuart announced some breakers he had spotted ahead,
but the local pilot who was steering the vessel replied " I know
every rock here as well as I know my own house" Within moments, the
vessel had slammed hard into the reef. She sank bow first within
eight minutes. The ship's cook, who was the only casualty, had
returned to his cabin against orders for some personal belongings
and never made it out of the sinking ship.
Underwater sketch of
the Mari Celeste. Courtesy Professor Gordon Watts, East Carolina
Today, the Mari Celeste sits in a sand hole in 55 feet of
water about one half mile off the south coast of Bermuda. Her
wreckage lies in a straight line with amidships being the highest
wreckage left uncovered by sand. Divers can see and recognize both
of her paddle wheels and her engine. Her bow section leans on its
port side. This site is excellent for
especially when using the starboard side paddle wheel, which is
standing upright, as a background.
The information listed
above was taken with permission from the Book:
BERMUDA SHIPWRECKS, ISBN # 0-9616167-4-1
A Vacationing Divers Guide to Bermudas Shipwrecks,
by Dan and Denise Berg, 6x9 softcover,73 pages.
Now also Available as
an instant download printable PDF eBook
BERMUDA SHIPWRECKS ebook
A Vacationing Divers Guide to Bermudas Shipwrecks
4.5 MB instant download, printable PDF file
by Dan and Denise Berg, 6x9, 73 page
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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other shipwreck and Diving eBooks