2.0 Nautical Miles off Mantoloking
The Axel Carlson reef is situated in a trough next to an underwater hill known as the Manasquan Ridge. This is an area of silty mud bottoms, and usually has relatively poor visibility. Axel Carlson reef is sometimes referred to as the Mantoloking reef. It also contains a number of sunken army tanks ( not shown. ) Minimum clearance at mean low water is 40 feet.
Side-scan image of the entire reef, back when it was largely empty
Side-scan sonar images courtesy of Enviroscan Inc, Lancaster PA. / Vince Capone.
Budget Boat Towing readies the barge to be sunk
by cutting holes into her hull near the waterline with a torch.
( Heavy Metal is now sunk on the Townsends Inlet Reef. )
Funds used to clean, tow and sink the vessels were raised from proceeds of several functions and film shows sponsored by local dive shops, clubs and individuals to support the New Jersey Reef Program. Named for Barbara Ann Nagiewicz.
Bay King "MRMTC"
These two tugboats were sunk together, 180 feet apart; close enough to share a single mark on the chart. The larger MRMTC is to the east of the "Four of Clubs." the full name of the sunken tug is the MRMTC Member Memorial Reef, to commemorate and honor members of that club who have passed away.
Megan Sue "Four of Clubs"
Side-scan sonar image of the tug on the bottom. Note the gouge in the sand where the ship landed and slid, still evident almost a year later. The black sonar shadow matches the profile of the wreck as seen in the photo above.
The Colleen was a canal tugboat which towed barges on the Erie Canal between New York City and the Great Lakes. She also helped dock ships in port.
The Colleen is a near twin to the Spartan. At about 60 ft depth, large holes in the roof make it easy to drop down several decks inside the wreck, and still have daylight in sight above. Look for lobsters dug in under the edges of the hull, along with a great many Sea Bass. The rudder is cranked 90 degrees to one side, leaving plenty of room to swim through the gap where the propeller should be. At least one APC lies close-by off her stern, upside-down, and a reef ball lies on the aft deck.
Something unusual - the Colleen as she appears on a depth-finder trace, just
minutes after sinking, with streams of bubbles rising from the wreck.
A Reef Ball on the stern of the Colleen.
How it should have been
Horseshoe Crab Sculpture Destroyed
Artist Chris Wojcik's sculpture shattered as support strap breaks during sinking process
The artist with his work
By Karen Wall - Asbury Park Press
The snap of a support strap was all it took to end Chris Wojcik's dream of placing a giant sculpture on the Axel Carlson Reef.
The 47-foot sculpture of a horseshoe crab -- representing more than a year's worth of work to construct it and raise funds -- lies in pieces in 80 feet of water, according to Hugh Carberry, director of the state's Artificial Reef Program through the Division of Fish and Wildlife.
"It was basically my worst nightmare coming true," Wojcik, of Point Borough, said Thursday evening, when he finally returned home after spending a few more hours at the reef site trying to assess the damage.
The sculpture was welded onto a pair of 50-foot deck barges, and the 50-ton assembly towed out to the reef site Thursday morning. Once there, Carberry said the barges were slowly filled with water and a pair of bridles -- one under the head of the crab, the other under the tail end -- were put in place.
As it neared the point of being ready to sink, Carberry said, the bridles were attached to a crane operated by DonJon Marine, an experienced heavy marine moving company. As they began to lower the crab to the bottom, Carberry said, the bridle under the tail section snapped and the barges sank.
Instead of simply hitting the bottom, however, Carberry said that during the descent, the crab separated from the barges and it hit bottom first and broke. The deck barges then landed on top of the pieces, breaking them further, he said.
"It's a heartbreaker," Wojcik said. The sculpture was expected to be listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the world's largest underwater sculpture. "It's a very discouraging situation."
Carberry said he and the crew from the reef program ran side-scan sonar over the area almost immediately and he said at first they could see the barges sitting right side up but not the crab. Side-scan sonar is projected out from the sides of a boat, instead of straight down, and has been used in mapping ocean wreckage for several years.
Carberry said DonJon had divers on the crane and sent them down to confirm the sonar findings.
"The way it (the bridling) was designed, it should have worked," Carberry said.
Carberry said the pieces of the crab and the barges will still make good habitat because they provide structure. Wojcik had welded steel piping onto the deck of the barge that will make good habitat for lobsters, and the pieces of concrete -- made from the same material the state uses to create reef balls -- will still attract all kinds of life.
"It'll still make a nice reef," he said, "but we would have liked to have seen it (whole) on the bottom."
Carberry said that when Wojcik approached him initially with the concept, he thought it was a really neat idea.
"I thought it was really unique," Carberry said, noting that Florida has some sculptures as part of its reef system. But the magnitude of the one Wojcik constructed surprised and impressed him.
"I had no idea it would be that big," Carberry said.
The sculpture had taken Wojcik and two friends six weeks to construct. A steel rebar skeleton was built, and the concrete that made up its body was poured in a single pour over the frame and shaped into place.
The sinking took several months to accomplish as Wojcik had to raise the funds to pay for it, then set all the arrangements in place with the state and the crane operator. Among those who supported the effort were the Hudson River Fishermen's Association, and the Ann E. Clark Foundation, which has been a significant supporter of projects on New Jersey's artificial reefs.
After the crab was inspected by the Coast Guard and the EPA and approved for sinking, Wojcik had to wait for cooperative weather. A planned July 25 sinking was scrapped when storms made the conditions unsafe.
When Wednesday arrived and the weather looked good for Thursday, the crab was moved from its home behind the Shipwreck Grill in Brielle, under the Route 35 and railroad bridges that span the Manasquan River to a dock behind the Shrimp Box in Point Pleasant Beach. Early Thursday morning final riggings were attached and the crab began its journey to the reef, passing through Manasquan Inlet to cheers from supporters and in sight of the curious who had heard about it or seen its construction in progress.
Hannah and Cameron Teza, 8 and 10 years old, dragged their father, John, to the inlet just as the sun rose to see it make its departure. Hannah had seen it when it was just being framed, and Cameron had seen the completed sculpture.
"I got home from a business trip last night and my wife told me they wanted to see it," Teza said.
As it moved along behind a TowBoat US boat, Wojcik could be seen on the barge, checking tielines and making sure everything was OK. He waved to the onlookers then went back to his work.
Out at the reef, Wojcik's wife, Caryn, other family members, and a number of folks who helped pay for the construction and the sinking of the sculpture, watched the progress from the deck of Capt. Bob Pennington's Sea Devil.
The wait was a long one as first Wojcik and Carberry walked around the perimeter of the sculpture, then were joined by the crew from DonJon. Coverings were removed from holes on the sides and hoses inserted to pump sea water into the interior of the barges. The sinking slowed when an air pocket developed at the head end of the barges and crewmen from the crane deck had to cut an additional hole in the side to let the air escape.
As water began washing over the deck, you could hear the anticipation rising for what was expected to be a slow descent. But the snap of the bridle caused a collective gasp, and the instant recognition among all that the result might be bad.
Wojcik, who had been watching and filming from a Zodiac, approached the Sea Devil to assure his family that he was OK.
"Somebody didn't calculate right," he said, then turned and headed back toward the site where the crab disappeared beneath the surface.
Thursday evening, Wojcik was trying to find some positives, but the devastation of the day was unquestionably his primary emotion.
"All the material will still make good habitat," he said. "It'll be a little better for lobster than for blackfish, because it will be flat like a dinner plate," while blackfish prefer nooks and crannies to hide in.Wojcik, who had previously talked about possibly doing other sculptures, wasn't sure what his next step would be.
"I have to sort this out first," he said.
The sculpture actually hit the bottom first, and the barges landed on top of it. I don't think it could have turned out any worse.
Side-scan sonar image, somewhat distorted. The vessel appears to be on its port side,
with the bow to the right in this image, an enormous sonar shadow below,
and a debris field spilled out from the deck above.
Clean Water of New York had a barge that was surplus to the company's needs and having prepared and cleaned other vessels for the Reef Program decided to donate the barge 'E 13' to this same program. Mr. Bill Figley, head of New Jerseys Division of Fish and Wildlife's artificial reef program cooperating with the Greater Point Pleasant Charter Boat Association renamed the barge in memory of "Jim Lynch". Lynch was a Port Authority officer of 22 years who died in the World Trade Center tragedy of September 11th and was the captain of the charter boat 'Finnaddict' out of Brielle. Funds to cover the cost of towing of the barge to the Carlson Reef off Mantoloking were provided by the association's Ship Sinking Fund. The barge had at one time delivered fuel in the New York/New Jersey Harbor area. Clean Water had prepared other vessels for the reef program for other companies and was familiar with the scope of preparations needed. The E 13/Jim Lynch was prepared by carefully removing all material that could remotely be deemed toxic or hazardous, any loose and/or floatable materials and any remaining oil or oil residue by thorough cleaning at Clean Water's modern barge cleaning facility. These artificial reefs are expected to provide opportunity for anglers and divers to harvest sea bass, blackfish, porgies and lobsters in the future.
This must have been a very decrepit old hulk of a canal tugboat when it was selected for use as a reef. The hull shows rust damage far in excess of what could have occurred in such a short time on the bottom, and the whole thing just looks beat-up. It is very similar to the Spartan, with the engine room roof cut off, and the engine removed, and the moveable pilot house lowered. The washout under the stern is cavernous, with a large rudder and propeller.
The interior of the ship is easily explored. The wheelhouse can be reached from the inside by squeezing down a narrow companionway. The vessel was completely stripped, but many of the interior fittings, including restored lamps and portholes, can now be purchased from www.TugBoatBrass.com.
Looks like a tugboat, but the side says "CLAM".
( The tow boat Heavy Metal is now sunk on the Townsends Inlet Reef. )
This barge was built by owner Les Swensen in 1970. It is 50 feet long by 16 feet wide and 4 ft draft. It was used for dock building, pile driving and small boat salvage and dredging. It had a small crane on it's deck. It was rebuilt refurbished in 1985 and saw most of its work in Belmar and Barnegat Bay.
Both this and the OWD III barge were overloaded with tire units and flipped over during sinking according to Captain Steve Nagiewicz of the dive boat Diversion II.
Both this and the Schmidiger barge were overloaded with tire units and flipped over during sinking according to Captain Steve Nagiewicz of the dive boat Diversion II.