The shipwrecks on this island are quite distinct from any other
island. Not many people know about what we refer to as "The Truck
of the Caribbean". This area contains at least eighteen shipwrecks,
which were sunk on the same day. This tragedy sounds bad enough
considering that on most all hands went down with their ships,' but
nothing compared to the destruction ashore. The cause behind this
catastrophe was the eruption of Mount Pele's volcano. The date was
8, lg12. The New York Times reported that over 40,000 people were
when the entire cap of the volcano was blown off, followed by a down
pour of molten lava. Captain Whatter of the vessel Roddam, the only
in the harbor to stay afloat, reported that he was talking to Joseph
who was in a boat alongside, when he saw a tremendous cloud of smoke
and cinders rushing with terrific rapidity over the town and port,
and instantly enveloping all in a sheet of flame and raining fire.
of this calamity which did not even permit ships at anchor in the
of St. Pierre to make sail and escape is almost incomprehensible.
Today, Martinique is a quiet, lush, tropical island enjoyed mostly
tourists. On land there are still many reminders of the tragedy, but
have forgotten about the vessels lost in St. Pierre Bay. The
information on wrecks that have been found and have become dive
temperature on Martinique is generally a constant 80 degrees;
ranges from 80 to 100 feet, but is sometimes reduced drastically due
fine volcanic silt that covers the sea bed.
For more information about Martinique visit the Martinique Board of
Tourism’s official website –
The wreck of the vessel Clementina is resting in deep water of over
feet. She sits on a flat sand bottom totally covered with volcanic
The Diamant is a wood hulled tug boat resting on her side in 100 to
115 feet of water. Her remains are partly deteriorated but her
boilers can easily be recognized. The Diamant was towing a barge at
time of the eruption, so close by lies the Barge wreck, but it is
All that is known of this ship is that she was once a wooden, three
sailboat. She was riding at anchor with her cargo holds empty at the
of the eruption. According to Georges Marie Sainte, the Gabrielle's
officer, the force of the explosion quickly dismasted and capsized
of her crew were rescued, but all of their hair and clothes were
The Gabrielle now rests on a sand bottom in 100 to ll5 feet of
Divers report that pieces of exquisite china and human bones are
being found in the wreckage.
The Giallia is the only wreck in the bay that was not sunk during
eruption. She was a dredge boat that while doing work around St.
dock in 1930, sunk. She now lies in 100 feet of water and is fairly
The Grappler was a 860 ton cable repair steamer belonging to the
India and Panama Telegraph Company of London. According to the New
York Times, she was one of the first ships to disappear after the
The Grappler was lost with all hands aboard. She is now resting in
approximately 105 feet of water.
The wreck of the ltalian Yacht lies on a sloped bottom. Mason Logie,
owner of Dive Away Inc., a New York based company that specializes
exotic wreck diving, says that her bow is in 65 feet and her stern
is in 130
feet of water. Since her sinking, the wreck has deteriorated and has
to break up.
The wood remains of the vessel North American lie on a ledge in more
than 160 feet of water. The ship is broken up and has also begun to
The Raisinier is one of the shallowest wrecks in the bay, sitting in
feet of water. According to John Fine's article on "Mont Pele's
Graveyard" this wreck is very photogenic. Divers can sometimes still
brass pins, but the wreck has already been picked pretty clean.
The Roraimu was a steal hulled Quebec Line steamship, and is the
wreck in the bay. She was transporting a cargo of potassium when the
eruption occurred. Her combustible cargo caught fire, and she burned
three days before sinking.
Her burnt remains are now sitting upright with a slight tilt to her
side. She sits on a sloping bottom where her depth ranges from 160
feet. The Roraima is mostly intact except for her bow which has
down and her stern which has split from the main wreckage.
The Tamaya was a 566 ton, three masted iron bark, built in Liverpool
1862 and owned by Rozier and Nantes. Sunk with all hands, the Tamaya
is now a deep wreck, resting on her starboard side in 260 feet of
which makes her to deep for sport divers to explore.
TERESA LO VICO
The Teresa Lo Vico was a two masted sailing vessel, weighing 585
built in 1874. At the time of the eruption, she was carrying a cargo
building supplies that included tiles, rope, and cement in barrels.
diving on this fairly intact, large wooden wreck, divers will see
on her deck, rope still coiled, and the now hardened cement cargo
has taken the form of the wood barrels, now disintegrated, that were
used for transportation. Three of the Teresa Lo Vico's crew survived
eruption and sinking. Jean Louis, a mechanic, reported. that the
moored at the foot of Rue d'Orange, only 150 feet offshore. "At 8:00
an enormous mass of the crater detached and was hurled toward the
Jean Louis managed to abandon his sinking ship and, with the use of
small canoe he found adrift, rescued I I sailors from the Bay.
The Teresa Lo Vico now lies on a sloping bottom with depths ranging
from 100 to 120 feet of water.
information and images for the Caribbean section of this site was
taken with permission from the book Tropical Shipwrecks by Daniel
and Denise Berg.
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