River of Wrecks | JONATHAN BIRD’S BLUE WORLD


Next on Jonathan Bird’s Blue World, Jonathan
explores shipwrecks in the St. Lawrence River! Hi I’m Jonathan Bird, and welcome to my
world. The Saint Lawrence River is one of the busiest
waterways in the world. Because it connects the Great Lakes to the
Atlantic Ocean, the river has been used for hundreds of years to get cargo to and from
ports serving both the United States and Canada within the Great Lakes. Huge cargo ships travel up and down the St.
Lawrence by the hour. Like any busy waterway, the St. Lawrence has
had its share of accidents, and as a result, there are hundreds of shipwrecks on the bottom
of the river going back hundreds of years. Many of these wrecks are remarkably well-preserved
time capsules of history. To learn more about these wrecks, Cameraman
Todd and I have driven up to the Thousand Island region of the river to do some diving. The Thousand Island region is a beautiful
community in upstate New York. There really are over a thousand islands on the river here,
and many of them contain incredible homes! Our guide to the area is famous National Geographic
photographer David Doubilet. He’s a local resident and expert on the nearby wrecks. We load the boat, operated by Chris Hunt,
of Hunts Dive Shop, and we’re off on an adventure! It’s a little bit strange for me to be heading
out for a dive in fresh water. It smells differently from the sea, and the conditions on the river
are calmer than I’m used to. Chris expertly guides the boat to the first
mooring we are visiting today. The bow of his boat tilts down like the front
of a world war 2 beach landing craft, providing an easy entry into the water. We suit up, preparing to jump into the relatively
warm 65 degree water. David and I head down the mooring line to
the top of the wreck of the Keystorm, in only 35 feet. The Keystorm was a 256 foot-long steel-hulled
cargo ship that sank in 1912 carrying a load of coal. The captain miscalculated his position
and struck a ledge. David knows this wreck well, so he motions
for me and Todd to follow him towards the bridge, which is, strangely, on the side of
the wreck! The ship is awkwardly lying on its side, so
the bridge, instead of being the highest point on the wreck, is hanging out in space at a
depth of about 60 feet! It makes for a great shot and I explore the bridge, swimming in
and out of the windows, the glass from which is long since gone. David photographs a ladder going sideways! I head upwards, into the interior. Fish are hanging out inside, and rooms are
full of deep accumulations of shells from generations of zebra mussels. Back outside, I swim a little deeper, down
the side of the wreck to a huge cowl vent. This is sticking up off the top deck, but
since the ship is on its side, it points horizontally out into the water. A cowl vent is used to
funnel fresh air below deck. Just to illustrate how big this thing is,
I hop inside. Will I fit? Yes! Even with my scuba gear I could slide right through this
thing! Soon I’m off into another room. This used to be stateroom where a member of
the crew slept. Rustcicles hang from a doorway. And hanging vertically from the sideways floor?
A bath rub! I hop in the tub for a quick rust bath, and then Todd and I head back out into
daylight. David is swimming along the hull, which is
completely encrusted in zebra mussels, a small invasive mollusk that grows on everything
in the St. Lawrence these days. Finally, getting low on air, it’s time to
head back to the surface. Whew! Wow! The really confusing thing about
that wreck is that it’s on its side, so everything is discombobulated. The floors
are the walls and the walls are the floors and the ceilings. And when you are swimming
though it, it doesn’t make any sense at all. It completely throws your brain for a
loop, but a very interesting dive visually. We leave the mooring and head off to another
wreck. Approaching Dark Island, home of Singer Castle, we slow and prepare to dive the wreck
of the America. The America was a drill barge that sank 1932
due to an accidental explosion of dynamite it was carrying. Several people were killed
in the explosion. David, Todd and I jump into the water and
head down to the sea floor. In the shallows we find the anchor chain, and follow it over
and down to the wreck. Once we reach the wreck, David directs us
towards the stern, where the explosion happened. As we approach the stern, it gets deeper and
darker. At 75 feet, we encounter the props. Because
the ship is upside-down, the props are sticking straight up. David and I maneuver for shots
while Todd backlights the props with his video lights. Next we drop over the side, down towards the
sea floor. Hanging off the bottom of the wreck, which is actually the deck, is a huge rusty
winch, wound with steel cable. I poke my head into the engine room door and
have a look around. As this was a steam engine, it had furnaces
for the boilers. One of the furnaces is open and I can clearly see the bricks lining the
inside. This is where coal was burned to boil water to make steam for the engine. The black
soot from the fire is still visible even after 80 years on the bottom of the river! I head out of the engine room, up the line
to the chain and back to the mooring line. My exploration of both the Keystorm and the
America offered a fascinating glimpse into history. Shipwrecks are time capsules of history.
The moment they sink, out of sight to the rest of the world, they stop changing with
the world above. Although they eventually rust away and disappear, in the meantime they
allow divers to travel back in time, if only for an hour, to a world of the past.

74 thoughts on “River of Wrecks | JONATHAN BIRD’S BLUE WORLD

  1. Hey Jonathan! Nice video, I love your videos it's so cool seeing all of the different things underwater your my role model and I've been wanting to scuba dive for years now I hope one day I could meet you but that might be a bit far fetched, I'm waiting for summer to come around to get back in gts water for practice and trying!

  2. If only there were Bull Sharks in those wrecks . America you need to step up your game.

  3. Hey if Cameraman Todd ever gets eaten by a shark or anything give me a call.  The guy has probably has one of the best jobs in the world.

  4. God seeing the sideways ladders and all that would really mess with my perception also being underwater might do that too but I dunno

  5. It is a very funny coincidence in getting a video about shipwrecks, today. I was just watching the news, yesterday, and it was showing the wreck of a 10,000 tonne single screw motor tanker in our Maltese seas which happened to be the worst accident ever happening in our shipyards. Sadly, three days ago was the 20th anniversary of that horrible event. But, the images they were showing about the wreck-reef were just stunning.
     Great video and marvellous footage, Jonathan. You and your team are terrific and skilful.
    Thanks loads for the video.

  6. Hey Johnathon havve you evver encountered a blue wwhale? I havve on october 28 2014 when our class for 8th grade went to the channel islands for a feild trip i was amazing!!! I evven told my teacher about your channel

  7. Love your videos! I study marine biology and your videos has helped me a lot with school work, I did a presentation about blue sharks a while ago and your video about them was a massive help 🙂 I can't wait till I get to dive with sharks, it would be so cool! 
    Anyway, could you do a video about saw sharks (or link it if you've already made one) please? I think they're awesome, the way they catch the fish is very interesting and I'd love to see a video about it! 🙂
    Keep up the good work! It'd be really cool to dive with you once I get my diving license haha 🙂

  8. I love shipwrecks, they're like underwater museums.
    Have you dived into the SS Thistlegorm before?

  9. I'm 12 finally old enough to take lessons for scuba diving! I come from a long line of scuba divers and am super excited to start!!!!

  10. This is really cool. This is what I want to do something like this, and discover new things in the underwater world. @BlueWorldTV have u dove the Cooper River ?

  11. Hey johnathon whens the next video or at least an estimated tine of when you think the next video will be

  12. I usually don't watch documentaries about the ocean but you actually make it fun to watch. Thank you, Johnathon for delivering us these fabulous videos. My niece looks up to you as a hero.

  13. A nice cooperative effort, proving the value of teamwork.  A most enjoyable segment.

  14. Blue i watched alot of your vids last night and now i watch it alot ! im going on a scuba excursion with my school 😀 wish me luck

  15. Jonathan i just started to watch your videos yesterday and i was instantly amazed i couldnt stop watching and can you please make a video about jellyfish or ocean sunfish
    Thank You

  16. this is the perfect channel to watch whilst getting comfortable on your bed/sofa and eating and entire bag of doritos…what say about me?

  17. I dream of having the oppoprtunity to do what you get to do

  18. This is so interesting. I am 14 and I am going to get my scuba diving license over the summer and I can't wait

  19. The ocean….its fascinating magnificent in different ways but also contains creepy stuff

  20. I personally prefer seeing all the fish & molluscs heehee!!!… Me too!!! Sharky xxx

  21. I love your vid,great ever. Respect your dedication. And….praise from Vietnam!

  22. The prop is at 120 and the engine room is very tight..The cargo holds were huge and empty…I really love st lawrence wreck diving…

  23. We have been diving in the same locations!!!..Great divers think and dive alike..😀

  24. The america is really cool..It freaky underneathe with those posts holding the wreck off the bottom..

  25. I am really enjoying watching you guys dive those awesome destinations…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *