Shipwrecks: US East Coast-2022

Hatteras, NC (September 2022)

diving aboard Lion's Paw

Shipwrecks FW Abrams, Proteus and Dixie Arrow

Boiler Tube Creatures

So many of the shipwrecks we explore are old steamships, powered by coal-fire boilers producing steam for the reciprocating engines. The majority of these boilers are massive steel or iron cylinders that endure the marine environment for a long, long time. The lower half of a cylindrical boiler usually contained between two and four furnaces, where coal-stoked fires burned to heat water inside the boiler and change it into steam. It was soon discovered that additional heat energy could be drawn from the hot furnace gases that were a by-product of the coal fires. This was accomplished by venting the hot gas through a series of small tubes that passed back through the boiler before being exhausted out the familiar ship's smoke stack. These tubes can usually be seen on the flat ends of a cylindrical boiler, about midway up the face and above the large cylindrical furnace openings. It is these "fire tubes," as they are sometimes called, that today provide a fascinating marine habitat on many old steamships. Forming a honeycomb-like structure much like a beehive, these banks of boiler tubes amount to an underwater apartment complex for a wide variety of fish and invertebrate life. Measuring two to four inches in diameter, each tube is the perfect size for a small animal or fish. In many ways they are reminiscent of the apartment-like bird houses sometimes erected for purple martins, with each individual boiler tube serving as a home for a tiny, individual animal. I first noticed this wonderful adaptation of an old boiler off the coast of North Carolina many years ago, and since then I check out these little critters on a regular basis. On our most recent weekend in Cape Hatteras, with the visibility a bit on the murky side, I spent all my dives shooting these little critters. . .

Sharks swim over the Proteus' boilers (right and left); a matrix of fire tubes punctuate the boiler's flat end, providing a myriad of homes for small critters (center)
Conger eel (left); juvenile oyster toadfish (center); blenny (right); click on an image for a larger pop-up
Arrow crab (left); cleaner shrimp (center); bristle worm (right); click on an image for a larger pop-up
Flame scallop (left); mantis shrimp? (center); moray eel (right); click on an image for a larger pop-up
blenny and small red fish (left); crab and pencil urchin (right)



Atlantic Beach, NC (August 2022)

diving aboard Atlantis IV

Atlas (sunk April 9, 1942 by U-552)


Caribsea (sunk March 11, 1942 by U-158)

The sharks were in full attendance....


HMT Bedfordshire (sunk May 11, 1942 by U-558)



Bell Island, Newfoundland (August 2022)

diving with Ocean Quest Adventures

Link to Newfoundland page:

World War II wrecks of Bell Island

The fabulous wreck of the Rose Castle



Pt Pleasant, NJ (July 2022)

diving aboard Tenacious

RP Resor (sunk February 28, 1942 by U-578)



Hatteras, NC (June 2022)

diving aboard Lion's Paw

Our annual June trip to Cape Hatteras was compromised by tropical storm Alex, which stormed across Florida before heading east and out to sea, but not without sending swell and strong winds to the Outer Banks for much of the week we were there. We were only able to get out diving for one day out of a planned seven, leading us to pursue other activities. While diving the British Splendour, we were visited by a Great White Shark! Dave Etchison got a couple of outstanding photos of it, but I never saw it.....but I'm sure it saw me!!

British Splendour (sunk April 7, 1942 by U-552)



Aerial Tour from Manteo, NC

Oregon InletBodie Island Lighthouse

Night Sky Photography

Star trails and Milky Way over the Hatteras beach
Rho Ophiuchi Nebula region in the constellation Scorpius (mostly). This incredibly colorful region includes the bright red giant Antares (large yellow star at mid-left) and its yellow nebula, the globular cluster M4 (below Antares), a blue reflection nebula and red emission nebula, and multiple dark nebula and dust clouds. Two hours total exposure with William Optics Redcat telescope and modified Canon 6D DSLR.


Atlantic Beach, NC (April 2022)

diving aboard Atlantis IV

Ario (formerly known as Hutton, sunk March 15, 1942 by U-158)


Naeco (sunk March 23, 1942 by U-124)



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All images, text and content Copyright © Bradley Sheard. All rights reserved.