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The St. Thomas Shipwreck Directory  Caribbean Shipwrecks
Historical and current St Thomas, Caribbean Shipwreck Information and images for scuba divers, and marine historians.
             

 

 

 

   Capt. Dan Berg's Wreck Valley Collection   

 
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Bow of the Cartanser Senior. Photo courtesy Steve Simonsen.

 
   

ST. THOMAS                                 U.S. Virgin Islands
St. Thomas is by far the best known of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Excellent
shopping, clear water, intimate beaches, night life and of course spectacular
diving can all be found here. The reefs off St. Thomas support all types
of tropical fish. In fact it's not uncommon for a diver to see parrotfish,
damselfish, peacock flounder, turtles, and sting rays all on the same dive.

For more information about the US Virgin Islands visit the US Virgin Islands Board of Tourism’s official website – www.usvi.net

AIRPLANE
This wreck is that of a Lockheed Constellation aircraft that was rumored to be
designed by Howard Hughes just after WW II. The cargo plane had four
engines and a triple tail. The plane was originally commissioned for the
U.S. Air Force, but after many years of service she was purchased to deliver
fruits and vegetables between islands. According to Debbie & Joe Vogel,
who own and operate a local dive operation, the plane crashed in 1980 while
en route between St. Croix and St. Thomas. The accident happened at dusk
while a misty rain was present. No radio distress calls were heard; it seemed
as though she just plunged into the sea. The Constellation stayed together
and afloat overnight, allowing survivors to be rescued. Unfortunately, her
pilot, co-pilot and one of her crew members were killed in the crash. The
following morning the aircraft was in tow tail first, but she sank off Fortuna
Bay before she could make it to shore.

The Airplane wreckage now sits in 45 feet of water about 100 yards off
shore on the southwest end of the island. She has been scattered a little
from the heavy winds of a few hurricanes, but divers will still be able to
find two thirds of her fuselage and her wing intact. Her landing gear, a still
inflated tire, and even windshield wipers are all recognizable. To give you
an idea of the size of this huge aircraft, just imagine a 727 sitting in crystal
clear water in only 45 feet of water. Bringing a camera goes without saying
for this site.
 

CARTANSER SENIOR
This 190 foot long, steel hulled freighter has an interesting history. During
World War II, she was used to transport goods. After the war, she was
used to carry various cargos between islands. She was brought to St- Thomas
in 1970 and was abandoned by her captain and crew. By this time, the vessel
had definitely seen better days and was eventually towed into a cove where
she was moored. Over time, the unattended vessel began to take on water
and was soon on the bottom. Unfortunately, her location for divers was horrible
as she was sitting in silt, and poor visibility was inevitable.
At one point in1975, the Army corp. of Engineers was going to blow the
wreck up as they considered the ship a hazard to navigation. Around the
same time, St. Thomas noticed the amount of interest their neighboring
British Virgin Islands were getting since the movie "The Deep" was being
filmed on the wreck of the Rhone. St. Thomas decided that they too should
have a clear water wreck, and started the wheels moving to raise the
Cartanser and move her to a spot more accessible for divers. Local divers,
led by the St. Thomas Diving Club, banded together in the campaign
"Save The Cartanser". They raised funds by selling "T" shirts stating their
slogan. This effort was a huge success that will be enjoyed by divers for
many years to come.

On July l6th, 1979, with the help of a giant super crane paid for by the
"Save The Cartanser" fund, the Cartanser Senior was raised, moved five
miles to a cove on the west side of Buck Island, and re-sunk. She is now
resting in 50 feet of water, leaning on her port side. Her hull has split
open and bent a little from the various storms that have passed through,
but this wreck is a photographer's dream. Everything from her engine room
to her bow has been photographed hundreds of times. Her remains attract
not only yellow tails, tang, groupers and angelfish, but dive boats from
all over the island that bring divers to explore the wreckage.

FERRY BOAT
The Ferry Boat is the newest wreck off the island. She was named Mein
Capitan and used as a ferry between St. John and St. Thomas before her
sinking during hurricane Gilbert. The Ferry Boat was raised onto a barge,
but due to the extent of her damage, it was not worth repairing the vessel.
The Mein Capitan was then taken out and dumped off the southwest end
of Lovango Key. The vessel now sits upside down in 50 feet of water and
has not yet fully developed as a fish haven. The Ferry Boot will not remain
in this location for long since she was dumped without a permit. Plans are
already underway to raise and relocate the wreck to a spot near the General
Rodger's wreck. Wherever she ends up, the Ferry Boat should definitely become
much more popular as tourists learn about her existence, and the surrounding
marine life make her their new home.

GENERAL RODGER'S
The General Rodger's was a 120 foot long, steel hulled, auxiliary Coast
Guard vessel. The ship has large reels on her stern deck which indicate
that she may have once been utilized by the Coast Guard as a buoy tender.
According to Steve Siminson, a local diver, she was sunk by the Coast
Guard in 1972 to form an artificial reef. However, the General Rodger's
didn't go down too easily. In fact, she took many hours before slipping
beneath the ocean's surface, and during that time, she unexpectedly swung
around over slightly deeper water. When the General Rodgers finally did
sink, tragedy struck when one of the crew, who was helping to scuttle the
vessel, drowned with her.

The General Rodger's now lies in 65 feet of water. She is not dove on as
often as the Cartanser but is sitting upright and intact in a channel off the
northwest side of St. Thomas. This wreck is fascinating to explore. Divers
can swim through passageways, look out porthole openings, and can even
see a huge spare propeller in her forward cargo hold. A current is usually
present at this site.
The General Rodger's is also a great wreck to photograph. Penetration is
unobstructed, and divers will find her propeller encrusted and very colorful.
This site does not seem to attract quite as much fish life as the Cartanser,
but large school of small mouth grunts, barracudas, tang, and jacks can be
found. ,
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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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