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The Constellation 1942 - American Schooner

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The Constellation was a four masted, wooden hulle ...

The Constellation was a four masted, wooden hulled schooner originally built in 1918 and measuring 192 feet in length. A beautiful ship in her day. She was used for many different things in her life, including a training vessel. In 1932 she was sold to Robert L. Royall and renamed The Constellation. Mr. Royall refitted her and made her into a floating nautical school providing all the modern comforts, including electricity, refrigeration, plumbing and a modern galley. Unfortunately Mr´ royalls plan didn´t work as there appeared little demand in this type of sailing, within a year the ship was put up for sale and by 1943, she was a shadow of her glorious past.

PhotoDuring the 2nd World War, all available ships were pressed into The Merchant Navy. The Constellation was also used, but instead of heading towards Europe, she left New York Harbour and headed towards La Guira, Venezuela. The Constellation, was the last wooden cargo vessel to leave New York harbour, she was carrying a general cargo of building materials, medicinal drugs and 700 cases of Scotch Whiskey.

Almost immediately after leaving New York, she start to take on water. The crew manned the pumps, 24 hrs. a day. It was thought best to head for Bermuda for repairs, taking almost 2 weeks to get here. Upon reaching Western Blue Cut (an area of reef to the north west of Bermuda), she either struck the reef or the bow section of the wreck of The Montana. She wrecked On July 31st., 1943. All the crew survived.

PhotoToday her hull lies broken apart on a coral and sand bottom in 30 feet of water, exposing sacks of petrified cement, cups, nail polish bottles and a vast assortment of small items. The most notable cargo is the 80,000 pounds of cement she was carrying in 50 pound bags as deck cargo. This has hardened to form massive stacks. In and under the cement, is the rest of the cargo. The only cargo recovered was the whisky, which was almost immediately salvaged by the US Navy.

The Constellation, together with The Montana, formed the basis for Peter Benchley´s book and the subsequent movie ´The Deep´. Just like the movie, Morphine ampoules are still found.

Divemasters notes

The wreck lies in 30 feet of water, with the top of the cement pile being about 8 feet below the surface. Visibility tends to be quite good here, (average 70 feet in the summer and 150 feet in the winter), but can drop substantially in an eastern wind.

PhotoI´ve made in excess of 5,000 dives during my diving career. Of those, about 500 have been made on this wreck! I never tire of this site and the neighbouring Montana. There are many different artifacts to see from the cargo that The Constellation was carrying. The most noticeable are the cement bags which were carried as deck cargo. 80,000 lbs. of it in 50lbs. bags!!! Maths anyone?

In the cracks and holes formed by the bags, many juvenile Coney´s, Speckled Eels and Octopus live. The bags also form excellent shelter for Sgt. Major eggs, so, there is always a large population of Sgt. Major´s hanging around to protect the eggs from over zealous attacks by diver´s? especially in the summer months. Be aware, pound for pound the Sgt. Major is the single most vicious creature known. If they grow over an inch or two we would never enter the ocean.

AmpulesThe ever present Bermuda Chubs flock in their hundreds here too. Algae´s grow very well on the cement bags, attracting large populations of Parrot Fish. Look out for predator fish looking for easy pickings, there are usually numerous Trumpet Fish hunting the juveniles as well as vast schools of Barracuda and Groupers.

As this is one of the most popular sites in Bermuda, the fish are use to divers and do not hesitate to come very close.
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