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An exciting shallow water diving adventure is planned this summer to the stern of the Persephone. The Panamanian tanker was torpedoed just a few miles outside Barnegate Light inlet. Ironically, the Persephone was built in Germany in 1926 and destroyed by the German sub U-593 on May 25, 1942. Often it is overlooked as dive boats venture past this site in pursuit of the gamete of offshore wrecks that line the Barnegate Shoals. I found this wreck to be one of the most interesting shallow water wrecks on the coast. A large portion of this once gigantic tanker remains torn to pieces over the endless copiously strewn sandy terrain. Here portholes, large brass shaft blocks, and assorted bits of mungo have been exposed and recovered in years past. A diverse wreck which is ever changing due to the shallow depth and the pounding wave action of coastal storms. Visibility is often good for such a shallow dive and I have found it to be better than many popular deep wrecks, because of the light sandy bottom in this area. I have also found this wreck to be particular diverse in marine life. Once I happened upon a school of monkfish lying about the debris varying in sizes from a few inches to granddaddy sizes reaching over a yard plus. Like something in an alien horror movie, they littered the bottom occupying every inch of sand. The little ones seemed the most interested in me as I gingerly touched down in the living mine field below. They took a few snaps at my fins and I decided to hover off the bottom, making sure not to bother momma. I was more excited about the spectacle of their abundance, than afraid of numerous jaws awaiting below. Considering the negative landing areas under me, I decided to move on to a less populated area not wishing to risk setting off a flurry of snapping all mouths, literally... One of my best memories of the Persephone includes the recovery of a eighty pound brass telephone. The great wrecker Chuck Wine discovered what he thought was the ships safe. After his second dive he could not contain his exuberance about his discovery. He went on and on describing the find and how a real treasure was waiting to be had. He digressed explaining that he was convinced that it was the safe because it had a lever and said Persephone on it. He being out of time and air, I volunteered to recovery the safe for him. With a hand shake topside we sealed a partnership and an agreement that we would split the contents of course. I quickly entered the water and soon to my chagrin found what I knew to be a telephone in a brass box with a lever on it. I sent it up on a lift bag and gave it to him back on the boat. I understood his enthusiasm, knowing that he had only read PHONE on the box not Persephone. Needless to say the call for treasure that day remained unanswered. Much more awaits those willing to venture to a some what shallower adventure. Look for this exciting wreck on two of our Dina Dee trips in 2011. Good Wreck Diving in 2011! Attached Images
__________________ Good Wreck Diving!