Louise B. Crary
The story of the sinking of the Crary and
Frank A. Palmer is given on the Palmer page.
Both ships collided and sank together on December 10, 1902. The Crary
was a 5-masted ship 276 ft. in length built by the New England Shipbuilding
Company of Bath, ME in 1900. In the sidescan image below collected by
NOAA's Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, the Crary sits to the left
of the Palmer at a depth of 365FSW.
Approximately 3 weeks after diving the stern section of the Palmer, Slav
Mlch, Tom Huff, Dave Faye and I planned a second dive on the stern of the
Crary. This time our shot line landed just off the port side of the Crary
forward of the aft cargo hold. As the first divers down the line, Slav
and I quickly got our bearings on our location and then began exploring the
aft part of the wreck. Just aft of the cargo hold we found what
appeared to us to be a steam-powered winch with a large water tank resting
nearby. As we passed across the deck and turned towards the stern, I saw the remains
of the aft mast, and at the foot of the mast I found the ships bell.
After making sure I got Slav's attention to see for himself, I dropped down
to get a closer look and for about the 100th time since beginning to dive
these wrecks wished the things weren't in a National Marine Sanctuary.
This bell is a beauty, approximately 18 inches across at the bottom and 24
inches high. I couldn't see any obvious writing on the bell, but a
thin encrustation made it hard to see any detail. it likely weighs 70
lbs. or more, and I couldn't help but to ring it once with the butt of my
knife and imagine the last time it was sounded.
A bitt tangled in netting mid-ships on the port side
of the Crary
The interesting wheel with angled spokes on the
right is one of two on either end of a manual winch, located approximately
mid-ships on the deck.
The stern area of the wreck is in poorer condition than that of the
Palmer, with fewer artifacts remaining. However, near what must have
been the steering station we found two pedestals of some sort remaining in
place (railing) that
had circular flat brass plates fixed to the top. On close examination,
I found some sort of circular patterns in the plates that may be celestial
in nature, but the same type of encrustation found on the bell made it
difficult to determine. I also noticed a large section of netting that
possibly contains wreckage off the stern, but I did not swim off the wreck
The photo on the left looks down into one of the
holds, with the hatch coaming on the left. Coal comes up to within a
foot of the deck.
As with the bow of the Palmer, the Crary's massive bow is completely shrouded in
heavy netting. With dives to date on only the bow and stern, this huge ship
still remains largely unexplored.
The photo at right shows some of the gill-nets that
cover the Crary now, here tangled in some spars resting on the deck.
Navigating the wreck has to be done very carefully.