Subic Bay Dive Sites

Subic Bay has over a dozen wrecks plus additional muck and reef dive sites.

 

 

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History of the San Quintin

History of the San Quintin from Cunard Lines S/S Andes to being scuttled at Subic Bay

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Concrete Ship Wreck of Subic Bay

February 6, 2016 by Charles W. Davis
A Concrete ship of the same class as YON-146

A Concrete ship of the same class as YON-146

The Concrete Ship Wreck of Subic Bay YON-146

World War II saw many interesting ship building activities, Concrete Ship building being one of them. Since the large ship yards were turning out capital ships, the corn field ship yards created the LST. These ships yards got that nick name because many of them had been farms before the war. Far inland, they used the nations waterways to get the ships to the coast. All this ship building put a strain on the production of steel. Steel production limits meant critical items were often delayed. Fuel barges being one of them. Concrete boats or more accurate ferrocement boats had been made many years before. The origins have been lost but some suspect that there were ferrocement boats as far back as the Roman Empire. In WWI, 12 ferrocement ships were built by the US Navy but with poor results. The Cement industry had a pamphlet showing the benefits of ferrocement.

WWII saw the effort renewed and learning from previous mistakes 24 ships were ordered. Early in the war it was

Concrete Ship YON-146 during WWII

Concrete Ship YON-146 during WWII

seen that fuel storage was becoming a issue. The success of this ferrorcement concept and the need for fuel storage lead to the ordering of ferrocement barges. These are barges in the sense that they had no engines and were pulled by tugs. They did, however, appear as ships. The first fifteen of the barges built were designed to transport oil from the Texas coast to the East coast oil refineries. Additional contracts created both bulk cargo barges and liquid barges. The largest barge was the B7-A2 design which was 375 feet long, 360 feet at the water line, with a beam of 56 feet. It had a height of 38 feet of which as much as 26 could be draft. The Landing Ship Tank was only 326 feet long and 50 foot beam. 22 of the B7-A2 were built, they were classed as “YO” if they were to carry bunker fuel and “YOG” is carrying “clean” fuel such as diesel or gasoline. The “N” was not always used, it designated a non-self propelled vessel. One of the barges was modified before launched to have half of the tanks aviation fuel and the other half water.

Two concrete ships were scuttle at Normandy to create a breakwater. Breakwaters containing floating concrete ships from WWII can be found in the Powell River in B.C. Canada and the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia.

YON-146 was built in National City Ca, starting on 23 Feb 43 and ready for launch on 16 May 43. She officially

Seafans on the Concrete Ship YON-146

Seafans on the Concrete Ship YON-146

entered service on 12 Aug 43. While the war records for the barge is sketchy at times, she is known to have been initially assigned to Asiatic-Pacific Theater at Port Purvis Anchorage, Florida Island, Solomons Island Group. She seem to been moved to Guam in 1945 and in early 1950, she was towed from Guam to Pearl Harbor where she entered dry dock for a short time. This information of her time in Guam comes from the University of Hawaii. Acanthophora Spicifera is a type of red algae also know as Spiny Seaweed or Prickly Seaweed. It is the most common type of sea weed in Hawaii, however, it did not exists there before 1950. A heavily fouled YON-146 has been “accused” of bringing the seaweed and two fish species to Hawaii. Research has clear her of the fish but she still listed as a possible source of the sea weed invasion.

YON-146 was back at an Pacific Area advance base (probably Subic Bay) starting in June 1951.She was involved in Operation Ivy at Eniwetok Lagoon for most of 1952. Operation Ivy was a nuclear testing program in the Marshall Islands. After the operation she returned to Subic Bay here she was active until added to the disposal list on 24 Apr 57. However, YON-146 was lost by accident in July 1957.

 

She is the largest ship wreck at Subic, however, she is seldom dived. Subic Bay has very poor visibility at times and this wreck sits at the mouth of the largest river. The B7-A2 has a 36 foot freeboard and this wreck sits upright in about 120 feet of water, however silt has filled in around the wreck so that she raises only about 10 feet from the bottom and the holds are mostly filled in with silt. Still divers who explore her will find huge sea fans and schools of small fish.

ice_cream_barge

While concrete ships might seem unusual there is one that is in its own category. The Navy adapted a Army Barge, refrigerator, light to a floating ice cream factory.

 

History of the Spanish Armed Transport San Quintin

September 21, 2015 by Charles W. Davis

History of the Spanish Armed Transport San Quintin ex S/S Andes

A BOILER OF THE SAN QUINTIN © 2015 CHARLES W. DAVIS JR.

A BOILER OF THE SAN QUINTIN © 2015 CHARLES W. DAVIS JR.

For decades, we have called the San Quintîn wreck a gun boat. Recently I started to try to find a better description of the San Quintîn to improve what we know and possibly find a photograph or one of a similar vessel. In the process, I found some items that did not fit with this wreck being a gun boat. Over time, I decided to start researching based just on the name and the reason it was sunk. Once I eliminated that it was a gunship, I was able to find other references to a Spanish ship by the same name. After a couple hundreds hours of research, I was able to find an authority reference to the sinking of the Transport San Quintîn. The San Quintîn performed numerous duties until she was scuttled in 1898. Some times she was a mail ship, providing service from Manila to other Spanish outpost. At others, she performed duties as a Armed Transport. Many times she was accompanied by the Armed Transports Cebu and Manila.

I am sure there may be those who not accept my version of the ship’s identity on face value, and others who might appreciate the steps that lead me to the history. I will post a separate article, giving more details on the research itself.

History of the Armed Transport San Quintîn

The lines of the Cunard Lines S/S Andes

In 1850, the British and North American Royal Mail Steam Packet Company ordered four identical iron screw Passenger/cargo vessels from the Scottish ship builder William Denny & Brothers. They were the Andes, Alps, Australia and Sydney. The ships were listed as 1275 grt/866 nrt , the length of 236.6 feet (72 meters), beam of 33.2 feet (10.1 meters) and depth of 24 feet (7.3 meters). The ships were mail ships. These were basically passenger ships that also operated under a contract to transport mail. The ships were design to carry 62 passengers in first class and 122 in second class. Prior to these ships, all the ships of this company were side wheelers and most wood. Only a few more side wheeler were built by the company after this and no more wooden ships.

In 1850,the British and North American Royal Mail Steam Packet Company changed their name to Cunard Lines. Before being completed, the Australia and Sydney were sold to Australian Royal Mail Steam Navigation company. The Cunard Lines took possession of the S/S Andes on August 18, 1852 and the S/S Alps five weeks later. The S/S Andre made its maiden voyage to New York sailing from Liverpool on December 8, 1852, however, problems with it propulsion system forced them to return to port. The problems were corrected and the ship arrive in New York on Christmas Eve. The Ship continued to sail that route until 1854. In 1854, with the out break of the Crimean War, the British government leased the S/S Andes and the S/S Alps. The two ships were initial used as troop transports and later the S/S Andes was used as a hospital ship. After the war, they returned to service with Cunard Lines.

Walters, Samuel, 1811-1882. S.S. Australian 1862. oil on canvas ; 71.3 x 107.7 cm. National Library of Australia

In 1859, the Spanish government bought both the S/S Andes and the S/S Alps. The S/S Andes was renamed to the San Quintîn and the S/S Alps renamed to Mandingo. The San Quintîn’s initial role seems to be primarily as a mail ship.

Note on names: The Andes is often shown as Andes (1852). This is to keep it from being confused with two later mail ships named Andes in the 1900s. San Quintîn is also seen spelled as San Quentin.

While there is not a definitive history of the San Quintîn, there are many historical references to her.

  • Cuba seems to have been one of the early assignments for the San Quintîn. The New York Times has a number of mentions of her arrivals and departure from Havana. This is from a NYT story of March 1862: The steam transport San Quintin, of the Spanish Navy, which arrived a short time ago from Vera Cruz with nearly two hundred sick soldiers, left again for the same place the day before yesterday, with provisions for the army and forage and maize for the horses and cattle of the expedition.
  • The Micronesioan Area Research Center, Guam published in 1998 a book titled: Chronicle of the Mariana Islands. Recordings in the Agaña Parish church 1846-1899. This book is a translation of the Parish records of the church in Guam. Most of the record was written by Father Aniceto Ibáñez and records the activities of the church and reflects the life in Guam. Only the introduction of the book is available on line. The introduction is mostly about the priest of the church. It notes that the entry for 1884 is short but does include that Father Franciso Resano return to Manila for health reasons aboard the steamship San Quintîn.
  • 21 August 1885 the San Quintîn arrives in Yap to establish a capital for the Caroline Island. The following day the ship Manila arrives. The San Quintîn, under the command of Capt. Guil de Espana, brought the new Governor-general, two priest (one being Father Aniceto Ibáñez as vicar) and others to Yap. Between the two ships they had soldiers, laborers and the materials needed to build a church and the governor’s residence. The ships were unloaded, however, the governor did not like the location. The group spent three days searching the surrounding areas until they found a location the governor’s liking. He sent runners out to notify the locals to be at the location the following morning for a flag raising ceremony. When the group arrived back at the ship, they found the German flag raised and the German cruiser Iltis in port. The Spanish withdrew, however, the public backlash almost caused a war between Germany and Spain. Some reports state that it was the S/S Carriedo that accompanied the San Quintîn. This was the transport Manila’s name before being purchased by Spain. It was owned by a private firm doing mail service between Manila and Singapore.
  • March 14 1887 the transport Manila transported a new Governor-general by the name of Posadillo, soldiers, priest, workers and colonist to the island of Pohnpei. They were to set up a government and establish a colony. The actions of the new government was harsh on the natives mostly the actions of the governor’s executive Manuel Torres, a Spaniard born in the Philippines. At the end of June, the natives refused to work. Posadillo send Torres to the chiefs to demand they attend a meeting, Spanish soldiers were sent to enforce the attendance. The natives killed most of the group. Those that survived reported back and the colony evacuated to a ship that had been grounded and damaged. The Governor stayed in his residence until 3 July, when he tried to escape to the ship. He and all of is staff were killed, however, the Filipino troops were left unharmed. The natives offered to let the colonist return home unharmed but they stayed onboard ship. In August, The San Quintîn arrived on a routine run and discovered what had happened. She left behind supplies and reported the event to Manila.
  • In 1891, The transports—the Manila, Cebu, San Quintîn, and Marquez de Duero carried an attack force of 1,240 men against the Maguindanao and Maranao (Muslims in the southern portion of the Philippines). The attack was unsuccessful. Moro reports had the transports Manila, Cebu, and San Quintîn bringing supplies to the Spanish Colonies in the area until 1894. No Spanish records confirm this.
  • Current records show that the San Quintîn was decommissioned in 1894.
  • In his nearly 1,000 page book “ The Spanish American War” published in 1911, the noted Naval Historian Rear Admiral USN (retired) French Ensor Chadwick discusses every naval aspect of the war. At the beginning of the war, then Captain Chadwick was chief of staff to Admiral Sampson, commander of the North Atlantic Fleet. The Captain was also the commander of the USS New York ACR-2. The book shows a partial transcript of a planning meeting held on March 15,1898. Admiral Montojo meet with General Primo de Rivera and the Governor-General to discuss defense plans. The admiral’s plans were approved. The admiral issued orders to Captain del Rio to sink the transport San Quintîn and two old merchant vessels.
  • While not specifying the type of ship, Admiral Montojo’s battle report verifies that the San Quintîn was sunk as ordered.

sanquintin.subicStorms and the passage of time has reduced the wreck. At the time of her being scuttled she would have been just below the surface. It seems likely that the majority of the ship is below the sea floor.

A great deal of time went into research and writing this article and I retain full copy right over its contents. Unless noted, the images used here are believed to be public domain. I will authorize rights to use this content provided that the following is included:

Contains material © Charles W. Davis Jr.

 

 

skyraider

June 25, 2015 by Charles W. Davis

Sorry for not posting lately. I have been busy with a number of projects including posting on Johans Beach and Dive Resorts facebook page and creating a new website for them.

Skyraider under subic bay

A recently discovered Skyraider

Also, have been doing some research. Johan has found a Skyraider aircraft and I been researching possible aircraft. I have two prime possibilities both are Ad-5Q aircraft. The AD-5Q is a modified Ad-5N changed to perform Electronic Counter Measures (ECM) missions.

The Skyraider is best known as a single seater single engine propeller driven attack aircraft. Designed at the end of WWII they saw duty in the Korean War. They are probably best known as Sandy to Vietnam Vets. The Sandy was used for close air support and as protection for search and rescue missions. Unlike the new fancy jets, the Skyraiders could stay with the helicopters and could stay on target for hours. They could be loaded with a mixture of bombs and had 4 20mm cannons. They could keep a landing zone safe for the recoveries.

The AD-5N was a night fighter version with a wider body, it had two up front with a technician in the rear section. These were modified to a AD-5Q, so that the rear section had jamming devices and a seat for a second tech. In addition to the ECM missions the AD-5Q was also able to operate as a night fighter.

Similar to the aircraft that has been found

Similar to the aircraft that has been found

Research has led me to a AD-5Q crashing into Subic Bay on Jan 9 1962. The aircraft belong to VAW-13 detachment Foxtrot, which was on temporary duty with the USS Lexington. The crew of four died in the crash. Another crash in 1966 was a AD-5Q belonging to VAW-13 det 1. The crew of that aircraft escaped with no injuries.

This week we plan on visiting the aircraft looking for it data plate and the marking on the stabilizer. This information will allow us to fully identify the aircraft. It also means there is one more to look for.

Diving the El Capitan at Subic Bay

March 26, 2015 by Charles W. Davis

Barges Dive Site

February 28, 2015 by Charles W. Davis

The Barges

The Barges dive site is located on the north side of Grande Island. It is not what you would typically consider a wreck site, it does have a personality of its own. The true origins of the “barges” are unknown, however, I do have my own theory. I am convinced of it but lack documentary proof. I will present my theory later. Grande Island’s military importance dates back to the original Spanish fort. It became Fort Wint under the U.S. Navy until captured by the Japanese in WWII. After recaptured by US near the end of the war, it never regained its military significance. It was later used as a R&R center and at the end of the Vietnam war as a refugee camp.

It is currently the site of a resort. The “barges” is really a floating dock. How, when and why it sank is not known, and a few of the sections seem to be missing. The site is on the bay side of the island, so conditions are generally calm.On the map it is top left of the island. The first section sits about 40 meters from the beach in about 6 meters of water. It is mostly buried with just the top section visible. The next section is about 20 meters away and sits in about 10 meters of water. More of this section sits above the bottom and there are places to look in and under. These first two sections are generally parallel to a breakwater. A third section is mostly on top of the surface with little of it buried. The docks form a rough “T” with the right portion of the “T” sloping down to 32 meters and the left at about 18 meters. A bottom around the docks is mostly sand and the docks themselves have been completely covered with coral. The most common comment about this site is that the marine life always seems to change. The different depths also seem to attract its own variety of marine life. This is an all round dive site. It often used as a second dive and a training site. Discover dives and night diving is common at the site. The slope to different depths allows for deeper dives for experienced divers.

 

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