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Wreck Heaven

Back in July 2001 Graeme Gourlay, who was then editor of Dive Magazine, asked me if I’d be interested in working on a feature with them on the wrecks that surround Bermuda, and of course I accepted.

Two weeks were spent diving many of the wreck sites, with most laying in 6 to 20 meters of water. The shallow depth helped make them reasonably straight forward dives and gave us a good amount of bottom time for exploration. Due to the age and decayed state of some of the ships, and fine silt that can be kicked up by rough sea, there is often an eerie feel to the dive sites. With visibility often dropping to less than 10 meters, this just added to the atmosphere of these historical wreck sites.

One of the highlights of the trip was spending a day diving with Teddy Tucker. Teddy is responsible for discovering most of the wrecks that surround Bermuda (that’s well over 100) and is famous for inspiring Peter Benchley’s Novel and 1977 Movie The Deep. For those interested there’s a useful wreck map here.

I was shooting with a Nikon D90x & Nikkor 16mm ƒ2.8 lens in a Subal housing, and as always with my underwater work I used natural light only. The original article was written by Charlotte Boan and my dive buddy was Caroline Haycock.

Here’s a small selection of what we shot..

One of the four huge boilers from the wreck of the Caraquet..

Wreck of L’Herminie which sank in 1837. Note the huge fluted anchor slowly being buried amongst the coral..

Finning over the devastation that was once a proud paddle steamer..

The wreck of the Constellation which hit the reef in 1942. The cargo consisted of hundreds of bags of cement, 700 cases of Scotch whisky and thousands of drug ampoules. It is this wreck, and that of the Montana which is nearby, that was the inspiration for the film The Deep..

The Montana. She was en route from London to North Carolina and hit the reef on December 30 1803..

The Lartington which sank in 1878. She hit the reef while her captain was trying to escape a hurricane..

Cannon and cannonballs lay scattered on the sea bed. They belong to L’Herminie, a 60-gun French frigate.

And finally the front cover. Caroline finning over one of The Lartington’s boilers..

My underwater work is available as RM stock exclusively through Corbis.