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Alma E.A. Holmes

 The schooner Holmes was a four-masted ship 202 ft in length with a 41 ft. beam.  She was carrying a cargo of coal when she left Norfolk, VA bound for the Lehigh Coal Yards in Salem, MA.  On the morning of October 10, 1914 in a thick fog, the steamer Belfast struck the Holmes with little warning, its bow striking the schooner near the foremast.  The Belfast was on a run from Bangor, Maine to Boston with about 150 passengers.  Realizing the blow to the Holmes was fatal, the pilot of the Belfast, Frank Brown, kept the bow of the steamer positioned in the Holmes to give the crew time to clamber onto the deck of the Belfast.  When the Belfast was finally backed away, the Holmes sank immediately.  Due to the fog, an exact position of the wreck was never given and the wreck remained undiscovered until recently.

 The Holmes was located in 1993 by local diver and wreck historian Ray Bates.  She sits upright in about 160 FSW on a mud/sand bottom.  The wreck has been broken up badly over the years, and while the hull timbers are somewhat intact nothing remains of the deck or deckhouses.  The bow has retained much of its shape, and gives a glimpse of what the once-proud Holmes was truly like.  Spars and rigging can be found in many directions from the wreck, with a large concentration off the stern.  This wreck continues to give up artifacts on a regular basis - we located both running light lens (one fully intact) in the past year, along with various pieces of brass including door hardware and fittings.

 In good visibility, the Holmes is an awesome dive with its ghostly remains rising up from the mud bottom.  One can take in much of the outline and piece together the whole of the beautiful ship.  In poorer visibility, the Holmes can be a confusing wreck, and running a line is recommended even for divers experienced on the wreck under these conditions.  I almost embarrassed myself in poor conditions once when I “lost” the wreck and therefore the mooring line while poking through a tangle of spars looking for artifacts.  Only a familiar tangle of netting leading to the hull kept me from enduring the inevitable round of guff from the others on the boat when one resorts to shooting a bag.


  A divers light points out a piece of the hull           A sheave lies in on the bottom near a sea raven


More wreck debris litters the bottom                    A March day shows off what the vis can be!


Anemones cover a winch                                             Yours truly behind a section of the hull


A significant amount of hull still standing               A hull section with the deck bracing still intact