The S.S. Cartagena was a T.R. Class minesweeping trawler built in Ontario, Canada by the Port Arthur Shipbuilding Co in 1917 for the British Admiralty and known as T.R. 4. The ships dimensions were 38.1 m long, 7.2 m wide and 4.1 m deep with a displacement of 275 tons. In 1926 the gun platform was removed and a fish hold was made forward of the main bunkers and she was sold to the Boston Deep Sea Fishing and Ice Company. The ship was renamed Cartagena. In December 1927 the ship was sold on to the Brazilian Ministry of Marine, on condition that it was delivered to Rio de Janeiro. The Cartagena left Fleetwood on 14 January 1928 and set sail properly in heavy weather the following day. A drum of oil and an unused life boat from the ship were found in Llandudno the following day. All 12 of the crew were lost
The SS Cartagena now lies upright in approximately 35m of water 6 miles off the N.E. coast of Anglesey. In July 2009 Duncan organised an expedition to dive this wreck as part of his Advanced Diver practical. However on the day of the dive the sea conditions were too rough to complete the dive and so we had to dive plan "B", which left us with some unfinished business. With better weather in prospect we had another go on Sept 13 and we managed to get out and shot the wreck in time for slack.
Descending the shot we realised how good the visibility was and at 20m we could easily see the wreck outline from above, absolutely covered with plumose and dead mans fingers. The shot went right over the stern rail and we followed this to the rudder where we said hello to a smallish lobster. A quick scout around here and back up to the deck on starboard side moving forwards towards the bows. The main crew quarters were in the forecastle and we had a look in via a hole in the starboard side. We then swam back down the port rail to have a look into the masters cabin where there is a toilet near the entrance. After that back to the shot on the stern to deco before surfacing.
What a lovely dive, the size of the wreck meant that we could get round the whole of the outside in 1 dive. In 10m viz we could see a lot of life, bib pollack etc swimming just off it. Who would have thought of such a nice dive off the coast of Anglesey. So it was smiles all round on the way back up. It was also the most adventurous dive that we have done off our boat for some time. I do not think anyone would have dared to venture 6 miles from shore on the old engine (grant money well spent). I for one am looking for a few more adventurous dives from our boat next year.
Thanks to Duncan for organising the trips and that early start. Thanks to MonaLisa for the boat handling.
- Most of the information about the Cartagena's history was taken from the Board of Trade Wreck Report.
- Chester Sub-aqua Club were the first to correctly locate the Cartagena, and A Tale of Two Shipwrecks, the story of its discovery makes an interesting read.
No photos, no cameras, Alan