|The SS President Coolidge|
The Captain's Bathroom, SS President Coolidge
Maximum Depth 40 meters - decompression
Using the bow mooring we descend onto the wreck and swim past the huge holds along the side of this enormous wreck. Entering the ship through the bridge, we can look into Captain Henry Nelson's accommodation on the starboard side of the boat deck. He occupied a corner suite but unfortunately, all that remains is the bathroom, containing the toilet, bath and hand basin. There's also a bottle of Old Spice aftershave and a couple of the old rubber bath mats with the rubber suckers on the bottom.
We usually have a good look and then swim through the officer's cabins where all that remains are fans, heaters, bottles etc. Exiting out onto the sun deck it's a short swim to the bridge; again all the wooden paneling and fittings have rotted or been removed but you can still experience the feeling of 'driving' the SS President Coolidge. It's pretty amazing.
Leaving the nerve centre, we swim to the forward mast and the crow's nest. A single person lookout position giving a once uninterrupted view for the sailor on watch. It makes me think of the scene in Titanic when the lookout spotted the iceberg - not a problem for the Coolidge! After spending a few minutes imagining what it must have been like to stand in the lookout, we head towards the bow. En route, you can see all the equipment lying on the bottom; fire extinguishers, fans, an old typewriter, boots etc. It is quite eerie, especially as most of them are simple domestic items symbolic of the soldiers on this great ship.
Heading up the slope towards the deco gardens we'll make our 9, 6 and 4 metre stops - hoping Boris the enormous groper will come and keep us company. If he is away, there are plenty of anemone fish, mantis shrimps, gobies and shrimps peeping out of their hidey-holes. Deco time seems to take no time at all.
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