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The Bald Eagle Shipwreck  New York and New Jersey's (Wreck Valley)

Historical and current New York and New Jersey Shipwreck Information and images for scuba divers and fisherman.
 
 

The Bald Eagle is another of Wreck Valley's unidentified shipwrecks. Her low lying wood wreckage sits in 85 feet of water, 14 miles out of Jones Inlet NY and only a short run from Manasquan Inlet NJ. Her true identity or even why she was given her name may never be known.  For over 20 years I have run my boat over this wreck on the way to offshore dives or to let my mates jump in to catch lobsters. I even did a side scan sonar survey of the wreck last year. However, for one reason or another it was not until earlier this year (1999) that I actually jumped in and explored the Bald Eagle Wreck for myself. What I found was a fascinating shipwreck, loaded with lobsters, bottles and artifacts. Now I wonder why I waited so long.


 At 6:30 am on a Tuesday morning divers Jim Mandato, Aaron Hirsh, Mel Brenner, Fred Bellise and I headed out to make a morning dive before work. Fred suggested the Bald Eagle because he had never been on the wreck either. The ocean was flat calm with the surface bubbling up a transparent blue in the Wreck Valley’s wake. Less then an hour latter we dropped the grapple and hooked into the wreck on the first shot. Fred descended first to secure the grapple into the wreck. Once Fred’s work was done Jim and I descended. As we approached the bottom the wreck materialized before us. We had at least 40’ visibility. We were anchored on the edge of a fairly large double banked wood hull. A huge pile of small square cobble stones were piled high just next to our anchor. Jim started to search for lobsters along the wreck edge, carefully looking into each hole with his powerful light. The ribs and double planked hull made numerous holes. Each contained a lobster, or ling cod. As we continued we spotted several large bugs in the 8-10 pound range, but these were in deep holes and could not be reached. Navigation was fairly simple due to the distinct edge and excellent visibility. The wreckage we were hook into was about 150 feet long and almost 25 feet wide. The pile of stones was about 40’x20’ and almost 10’ high. This was not however the entire wreck. As we rounded one end and headed back up the other side we found another large piece of wreckage about 20 feet away. These two main pcs angle together and join on one end. While trying to get a feel as to the wrecks layout Jim and I caught six lobsters and found a small medicine bottle and a brass valve. Aaron and Mel also returned with lobsters and bottles. Fred had the best find of the day, a small round brass container. It was probably a pill or snuff box.  After the dive we compared notes and tried to figure what type of vessel she was. No one had found any machinery, but we also did not find any masts or sign of sail power. Therefore, we think this wreck was a converted schooner barge. She was most likely transporting a cargo of cobble stones when she went down. The bottles and other small artifacts which all date from the 1920’s are most likely not from the wreck but rather the result of years of garbage dumping from NY City. Many other wrecks in the area like the Three Sisters, RC Mohawk, Pilot Boat, and Asfalto also hold bottles that originate form 1920’s vintage garbage dumping.  For a season that has been plagued with strong winds and not the best dive conditions. Our early morning trip to the Bald Eagle turned out to be one of the most productive as well as interesting dives of the season. For divers interested in diving the Bald Eagle several boat run trips. Capt. Bill Readon from the Jeaniee II in Brooklyn hits it most often. Out of NJ try Capt. Steve Nagiewicz from the Diversion II or on Long Island the Wreck Valley. I am definitely not going to wait another 20 years before returning to this beautiful wood hulled shipwreck.

A few years ago we found another pc of wreckage called the Ghost Wreck. Its about 150 feet long and consists of low lying wood ribs. This pc sits about 50' off the main wrecks west side. This is a great area for lobsters as well as bottle hunting.

Capt. Ed Slater with a small china bowl recovered from the Bald Eagle Shipwreck. Photo by Dan Berg.

Mel Brenner with artifacts from the Bald Eagle Shipwreck.

Bald Eagle and Ghost wreck. Image by Dan Berg and Aaron Hirsh

The new Ghost Wreck which can be found off the west edge of the Bald Eagle shipwreck. Copyright Dan Berg and Aaron Hirsh.

Fred "The Beard" Bellise with a brass snuff box from the Bald Eagle. Photo by Dan Berg

Photos: Sketch of the Bald Eagle Shipwreck. Copyright Dan Berg and Aaron Hirsh.
Mark Wenzel with a beautiful intact china statue recovered from the Bald Eagle shipwreck in 2002. Photo by Dan Berg.

 

 
 
 

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2745 Cheshire Dr
Baldwin NY 11510
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