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The Derelict Bay 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.

Above: Wreck Valley charter to Derelict Bay. Its not often that your group goes home with three portholes from a bay dive!

Hank Garvin and I were flying over Long Island in a little single engine Cesnar when I spotted a shipwreck. Actually I spotted what appeared to be a small cove filled with small cabin cruiser wrecks. The cove was just west of Captree Boat Basin and on the bay side. Hank and I had been taking aerial photographs around Long Island for my LONG ISLAND SHORE DIVER BOOK, we were on a tight schedule so we did not take the time to circle or photograph the site. The one wreck that interested me appeared to be around 45 feet long and was sitting awash on her starboard side in the middle of the bay. Even though we continued on to finish our photography project my thoughts were of the portholes that may still be found on this little wreck.

Two weeks latter we where aboard the R.V. Wahoo and were cruising offshore to film the wreck of the Gun Boat Tarantula for a DIVE WRECK VALLEY TV episode. Hank and I were now reviewing the aerial photographs and the topic of the little wreck came up. Diver Jim McGuire told me that he had actually been to the site and that although all the portholes above the water line were gone those on the wrecks starboard side were still on the wreck.

One week later divers Billy Campbell, Mike Mc Meekin, Donavan Berg and I boarded my 24 foot boat Wreck Valley. It was late October, pretty late in the season. The day looked perfect and the sun was just starting to burn off the early morning chill. Unfortunately our hopes of running offshore were quickly canceled due to sea conditions. I remembered the little wreck out east and we decided to go take a look. Cruising east through the inland waterways it only took about an hour to reach the bay. As we slowly inched our way closer we could see small boats scattered on the shore and a few sticking through the surface. I carefully watched the depth recorder as we entered the cove. We wanted to get as close as possibly to the 45 foot wreck I had spotted from the air. It was a little strange but as we approached the wreck which appeared to be hard aground we still had 20 feet of water under us. Latter we learned that this wreck was actually sitting on top of a sunken barge.

I was the first to suit up and snorkel over to the wreck. Their was no sense in all of us getting wet if their was no artifacts. Especially since we had been planning on an offshore dive and were set up with double tanks. As I circled the wreck and free dove down to her submerged starboard side I spotted the first brass porthole. With in a minute I found three more. The final count was seven. I returned to get my tanks and tools as Mike, Bill and Donavan were suiting up. Donavan had never recovered a porthole before so It old him that on wooden boats they are usually easy to pry loose. The trick is to use a sledge hammer and chisel from outside the wreck and drive the porthole in. Of course be careful not to smash the glass. Then its just a matter of going in and recovering the artifact.

With in a half hour all four of us were working furiously. In fact it sounded more like a construction site then a scuba dive. Their were two different size portholes on the wreck and I started working on one of the small ones which were mid ships. Within a short time the porthole was loose. I went in and found the engine room but their was no room for a diver. This was a little disappointing because it meant that we couldn't get at three portholes. With Mikes assistance we took another approach to the problem and started to chisel a hole in the exterior wall. We worked in shifts with one swinging the hammer and the other prying with a crow bar. After almost an hour we had a hole large enough to reach in and grab the porthole. For the other two we just had to enlarge our hole and reach in the other direction.

Mike and I then moved to the bow where both Donovan and Billy seemed to be swinging their sledgehammers in rhythm. These portholes were not as easy as I had originally thought, they were securely mounted into two inch thick hard wood. I squeezed through a hatch into the bows interior and with a crow bar assisted the guys with three additional portholes. Mike had also just finished taking a little porthole off the wrecks deck house. We were now all a little tired and we headed back to the Wreck Valley.

After lunch I sent Donovan to snorkel in to shore and check out the small visible wrecks for brass. Billy would search the bays bottom for sunken boats. Mike and I figured the 45 foot wreck would have a nice size propeller and went back in with a hacksaw to work on it. After another long working dive Mike and I were able to get through the two inch propeller shaft by taking turns with the hack saw. Latter when we were all back aboard we had a total of seven brass portholes, three propellers, a danford anchor and an assortment of smaller brass items. I'm still not a hundred percent sure of why all these wrecks are in the same bay but I was told that the Coast Guard uses this cove to dump any derelict vessels it finds. This explanation makes sense and also means that the area will be restocked with artifacts every few years. We probably won't return to soon but will definitely remember this site for the next time the weather kicks up and we cant make the run to an offshore wreck.

Capt. Dan, Mike McMeeking and crew of Wreck Valley with artifacts from Derelict Bay. Photo courtesy Wreck Valley Collection.

One of the wrecks in Derelict Bay. Photo courtesy Wreck Valley Collection.

Donavan Berg with a brass porthole from Derelict Bay. Photo courtesy Wreck Valley Collection.

Mike McMeekin with a brass propeller he cut off one of the wrecks in Derelict Bay. Photo courtesy Wreck Valley Collection.

Mike McMeekin with one of his portholes from Derelict Bay. Photo courtesy Wreck Valley Collection.

Capt. Dan Berg with a porthole from Derelict Bay. Photo courtesy Wreck Valley Collection.

Bill Campbell with a portholes from Derelict Bay. Photo courtesy Wreck Valley Collection.

Don and Dan Berg. Photo courtesy Wreck Valley Collection.







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