These two wrecks have always been associated in my mind. They are similar depths and diving conditions, in the same neck of the woods, and both anonymous barges. Apart from that, they have nothing to do with each other.
Cunner inspects a sponge on the Bald Eagle
- shipwreck, schooner barge
- ( 330 x 40 ft )
- March 12, 1932
- 95 ft
Capt. Mick Trzaska of the dive boat CRT II also calls this the "Bomb Wreck", since it once produced a live aircraft-type explosive. A diver had sent it up with a lift bag thinking it was a champagne bottle! How it got there is anyone's guess.
The Asfalto is one of the less-frequented wrecks off Long Island, New York's south shore. She sits in 95 feet of water 16 miles south-west of Jones Inlet, an area known as Wreck Valley. The Asfalto is an unidentified wreck, but she is thought by some to be a schooner barge that was sunk on March 12, 1932. She is approximately 300 feet long, has a 40 foot beam and a steel hull. Although not confirmed, it is also believed that there is a second wreck on the site, possibly the tug which was pulling the barge. This would make sense because many times a sinking barge would pull down the tug before the tow cable could be cut. Whether one wreck or two the site is also known as the Cindy, Rudder or X-Ray Wreck, depending on which dive captain you ask.
The Asfalto's remains are low lying and scattered over a very large area. There are few easily distinguishable landmarks so it's recommended that divers utilize dive reels for navigation. Inside her hull divers will find all sorts of artifacts dating back to the late 1800's. Over the years divers have brought up everything from bottles and china to silverware and even a ceramic spittoon. On most shipwrecks, divers must dig in order to find artifacts but the Asfalto is literally filled with a seemingly unending supply of prized artifacts. If correct, the assumption is that the Asfalto is an old garbage barge that was most likely transporting garbage from New York City to an offshore dumping ground. What divers find is the non bio-degradable remains of what the barge had been transporting.
Bottles, silverware, ceramic pieces and bone have remained in near perfect condition, unharmed after over 60 years of immersion in the powerful Atlantic. Note that the bottom composition here is very silty. This silt can and quickly does get kicked up by divers digging on or exploring the wreck. Almost instantly visibility can be temporarily reduced to near zero. This is just one reason why good navigational skills are the key to becoming a good wreck diver. Marine life on the site is also quite abundant, but for divers the Asfalto's main attraction is her abundance of artifacts. This wreck is so productive that it is not at all uncommon for divers to find an entire bottle collection in only one dive.
The Asfalto may not be as well known or as popular as some of Wreck Valley's larger more historical wrecks, but she is certainly one of the most productive bottle dives on the East Coast.
Excerpted from Wreck Valley CDROM by Dan Berg
- shipwreck, barge (s?)
- 90 ft
The "Bald Eagle" consists of a substantial amount of wreckage, including stone piles, wood ribs, metal ribs, and metal debris. The wreckage is scattered in all directions, and this, along with the variety of different materials found, makes it very likely that this is not a single wreck, but the superimposed remains of two or more unidentified vessels. In one part there is a recognizable stern section, with a propeller. Some parts of the wreck are separated from the main section, and may in fact be small wrecks of their own. Or it could all be the torn-apart remains of a single very large wreck.
Judging by the bottles you can find, at least part of this wreck dates from the early part of the twentieth century. However, these could have been dumped onto the site after the fact. Lobstering here is often an exercise in frustration, but it would be unusual to go home without at least one. Sometimes you can move the stones to get at them, but most of them have seemingly bottomless holes to retreat into. Fish life is profuse. Visibility tends to be better than inshore sites, but still not great, and easily ruined by stirring up the silty bottom.
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.
What can be found is a fascinating shipwreck, loaded with lobsters, bottles and artifacts. You can anchor on the edge of a fairly large double banked wood hull. A huge pile of small square cobble stones are piled high just next to the anchor. The ribs and double planked hull made numerous holes. Navigation is fairly simple due to the distinct edge and excellent visibility. The wreckage you can hook into is about 150 feet long and almost 25 feet wide. The pile of stones are about 40' x 20' and almost 10' high. This is not however the entire wreck. As you round one end and headed back up the other side you can find another large piece of wreckage about 20 feet away. These two main pieces angle together and join on one end.
It is possible that 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.
The "Ghost Wreck" near the Bald Eagle
Excerpted from Wreck Valley CDROM by Dan Berg
As you can see, there is a good deal of color on this wreck, which is really not fully expressed in these pictures.
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