PROMENADE DECK (Maximum depth 32 to 35 m and almost 40 m if you go to stern section)
The Promenade Deck can be done in conjunction with the Bridge or one of the holds or as part of many other dives. This dive takes in the shallower section of the Promenade Deck, although you can do the whole Promenade Deck as a second dive if you want. On ships, this deck originally got its name from the fact that it encircled the whole of the superstructure and enabled a person to walk or "promenade" around the ship. On many ships, it is considered the main deck of the ship, as many of the public areas are normally located on this deck. Note that the Promenade on the Coolidge did not go around the stern section, so it was shaped like a U where the bottom part was below the Bridge.
|Swimming over the stern section of the Promenade Deck
|The very rear section of the Promenade Deck
On the Coolidge, the term Promenade Deck is generally used to describe the section of this deck that runs from the Bridge right back to the area near the Swimming Pool and which sits just below the upper (starboard) hull. However, it should be remembered that in true terms, the Promenade Deck includes all the structures on that level of the ship, in this case, things like the First Class Smoking Room, the Continental Lounge, the Library and more.
If you are planning to do this dive as a separate dive, I would suggest doing as follows. After descending at the normal location, you swim to the bow and then follow the topside hull till near the bridge area. Angle over towards the superstructure and once you reach the Promenade Deck (the second level above the front deck and the second level down from the top) follow the outside of the ship. You could follow the hull side or drop over the "side" (actually the top) of the ship and follow this.
|A hand basin under the Promenade Deck at the stern
|Rifles on the very rear section of the Promenade Deck
In early 1999 the middle section of the main Promenade Deck collapsed considerably, by at least a metre, on the outmost part of the "deck". It was caused by corrosion helped along by an earthquake. In 2001, almost all of this section dropped completely. The roof of the First Class Smoking Room was then almost straight below the original deck of the Promenade Deck. The inside wall of the Promenade Deck (which was the floor as you swam along), hung almost vertical, hinged at the deck floor. In 2007 the front section has dropped a fair bit and is perhaps sloping at about 10°.
|The Promenade Deck windows at the collpased section
|The collapsed section of the Promenade Deck
The damage stopped then at a spot adjacent to the main lobby. However, since 2002, the whole section of the Promenade Deck and Boat Deck which is above it has collapsed from the front of The Lobby right to the back of the First Class Smoking Room. This section that had fallen in 2001 fell even more. You will see this as soon as you get close, the whole section has totally fallen down. If you follow the corner of the ship towards the stern you will see that the Promenade Deck is still intact near the Engine Room Hatch (false funnel) and the Marine Tea Garden.
Once you get here, you will see the Soda Fountain ahead and below. Enter the Marine Tea Garden and swim back through the very top section. This will lead into the Promenade Deck. Here there are some artefacts. After about 15 metres you will come back out into the open where the deck has fallen.
|A 78 rpm record on the Promenade Deck
|The remains of the Moasic Fountain on the Promenade Deck
Swim back towards the bow and below you will see the remains of the Toilets that used to be found between the First Class Smoking Room and the Lobby. There are also some ladders that were deployed when the ship was sinking. As you pass the Lobby you will see that the Promenade Deck starts again. Right at this first section there are quite a few rifles stacked against what was the floor (the right as you look at it). This makes a good photograph.
Also here are two pieces of the Moasic Fountain. This used to be in the Lobby on the Promenade Deck outside the Continental Lounge. It was destroyed when the section collapsed in 2001 and these sections have been placed here. Rub them a bit and you will see that they are quite brilliantly coloured. There is also an old 78 rpm record in this area.
As you swim along the deck, there are lots of things to see, helmets, water bottles, gas masks, rifles, bullets, Thompson sub-machine guns, plates, cups, cooking utensils, morphine and cat gut phials (these used to be there but have now disappeared) and many more pieces of equipment.
If you look through the windows below you as you swim you will see into the Continental Lounge and the Library. Towards the Bridge end of the Promenade there are some excellent gorgonias that provide a very colourful scene.
|Looking down the Promenade Deck from the Bridge
|Gas masks on the Promenade Deck
At the front of the Bridge, at the bottom of the Promenade Deck as it rounds the bridge, there is a row of six toilets. I have no idea where they were originally, but if they were on the deck above as it appears they may have been, then these toilets had the best view of any toilets I have ever seen!
From here you can go onto the Bridge, Hold One or Hold Two and then back to the deco stop.
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