The wreck of The Fearless is a half hour boat ride from Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. A wooden hulled mine-sweeper, the Fearless is the sister-ship of Jacques Yves Cousteau’s Calypso. With that in mind, we decided to visit this wreck so that Dominique could relive some memories of his past, when he worked on board the Calypso. For Dominique, his days working with Cousteau were the pinnacle of his professional career.
Built in 1942 in Seattle, the Calypso was an old boat from the Second World War. In 1950 after the war it was bought by the Guinness beer family and given as a gift to Cousteau. For close to 50 years, the boat was lovingly patched together by the mechanics and the rest of the Cousteau team. Calypso managed to survive a gruelling trip to the Antarctic and many hurricanes and storms but finally sunk in the Singapore harbour.
We decided to do a night dive on the Fearless. Dominique’s idea was to bring back memories, visiting his cabin and some familiar corners of the mine-sweeper.
The wreck sits upright on the sand in 80 feet of water. It appeared out of the blackness like a haunted castle. Its wooden structure was quite rotten and the inside of the wreck felt very unsafe. A barracuda patrolled the deck of this phantom wreck. We surfaced from our dive unsure whether this wreck is a dream or a nightmare.
Another nearby wreck at a dive site called Coral Gardens is a small airplane which has become a magnet for sea life. It was an opportunity to lighten things up with some underwater antics in the cockpit.