ShipwreckExpo
The Martinique Shipwreck Directory  Caribbean Shipwrecks
Historical and current Martinique, Caribbean Shipwreck Information and images for scuba divers, fisherman and marine historians.
             

 

 

 

   Capt. Dan Berg's Wreck Valley Collection   

 
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Wood hulled tug boat Diamant. Photo by Mason Logie.

 
   

MARTINIQUE French West Indies
The shipwrecks on this island are quite distinct from any other Caribbean
island. Not many people know about what we refer to as "The Truck Lagoon
of the Caribbean". This area contains at least eighteen shipwrecks, most of
which were sunk on the same day. This tragedy sounds bad enough
considering that on most all hands went down with their ships,' but this was
nothing compared to the destruction ashore. The cause behind this
catastrophe was the eruption of Mount Pele's volcano. The date was May
8, lg12. The New York Times reported that over 40,000 people were killed
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 ship
in the harbor to stay afloat, reported that he was talking to Joseph Plissono,
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, completely
and instantly enveloping all in a sheet of flame and raining fire. The suddenness
of this calamity which did not even permit ships at anchor in the Harbor
of St. Pierre to make sail and escape is almost incomprehensible.
Today, Martinique is a quiet, lush, tropical island enjoyed mostly by French
tourists. On land there are still many reminders of the tragedy, but many
have forgotten about the vessels lost in St. Pierre Bay. The following is
information on wrecks that have been found and have become dive sites. Water
temperature on Martinique is generally a constant 80 degrees; visibility
ranges from 80 to 100 feet, but is sometimes reduced drastically due to the
fine volcanic silt that covers the sea bed.

For more information about Martinique visit the Martinique Board of Tourism’s official website – www.martinique.org
 

CLEMENTINA
The wreck of the vessel Clementina is resting in deep water of over 160
feet. She sits on a flat sand bottom totally covered with volcanic ash.
 

DIAMANT
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 engine and
boilers can easily be recognized. The Diamant was towing a barge at the
time of the eruption, so close by lies the Barge wreck, but it is not intact.

GABRIELLE
All that is known of this ship is that she was once a wooden, three masted
sailboat. She was riding at anchor with her cargo holds empty at the time
of the eruption. According to Georges Marie Sainte, the Gabrielle's second
officer, the force of the explosion quickly dismasted and capsized her. Five
of her crew were rescued, but all of their hair and clothes were burned off.
The Gabrielle now rests on a sand bottom in 100 to ll5 feet of water.
Divers report that pieces of exquisite china and human bones are still
being found in the wreckage.

GIALLIA
The Giallia is the only wreck in the bay that was not sunk during the lX)2
eruption. She was a dredge boat that while doing work around St. Pierre
dock in 1930, sunk. She now lies in 100 feet of water and is fairly intact.

GRAPPLER
The Grappler was a 860 ton cable repair steamer belonging to the West
India and Panama Telegraph Company of London. According to the New
York Times, she was one of the first ships to disappear after the eruption.
The Grappler was lost with all hands aboard. She is now resting in
approximately 105 feet of water.

ITALIAN YACHT
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 in
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 begun
to break up.
 

NORTH AMERICAN
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
deteriorate.
 

RAISINIER
The Raisinier is one of the shallowest wrecks in the bay, sitting in only 50
feet of water. According to John Fine's article on "Mont Pele's Underwater
Graveyard" this wreck is very photogenic. Divers can sometimes still find
brass pins, but the wreck has already been picked pretty clean.

RORAIMA
The Roraimu was a steal hulled Quebec Line steamship, and is the largest
wreck in the bay. She was transporting a cargo of potassium when the
eruption occurred. Her combustible cargo caught fire, and she burned for
three days before sinking.

Her burnt remains are now sitting upright with a slight tilt to her port
side. She sits on a sloping bottom where her depth ranges from 160 to 205
feet. The Roraima is mostly intact except for her bow which has broken
down and her stern which has split from the main wreckage.

TAMAYA
The Tamaya was a 566 ton, three masted iron bark, built in Liverpool in
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 water
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 tons
built in 1874. At the time of the eruption, she was carrying a cargo of
building supplies that included tiles, rope, and cement in barrels. When
diving on this fairly intact, large wooden wreck, divers will see tiles stacked
on her deck, rope still coiled, and the now hardened cement cargo which
has taken the form of the wood barrels, now disintegrated, that were once
used for transportation. Three of the Teresa Lo Vico's crew survived the
eruption and sinking. Jean Louis, a mechanic, reported. that the ship was
moored at the foot of Rue d'Orange, only 150 feet offshore. "At 8:00 AM
an enormous mass of the crater detached and was hurled toward the city".
Jean Louis managed to abandon his sinking ship and, with the use of a
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.

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The Complete Online Downloadable Divers handbook to mastering the skills of wreck diving.

 

Basic shipwreck information and images for the Caribbean section of this site was taken with permission from the book Tropical Shipwrecks by Daniel and Denise Berg.

You are invited to submit your shipwreck related articles, images and information. As long as the text, photographs, sketches etc are of professional quality we will showcase them. Full credit will be provide and a same page link to your web site can be arranged.

 
     
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All photographs, sketches, images and text

Copyright Capt. Dan Berg / Aqua Explorers Inc

2745 Cheshire Dr
Baldwin NY 11510
E-Mail Wreckvalle@aol.com

 
 
 
 
 
   


 
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