BRIDGE - CAPTAINS BATHROOM (Maximum depth 40m)
On one of your first dives you will almost certainly be taken to see the bridge area. It is sometimes called the Captains Bathroom (for reasons that will become obvious). This dive is also sometimes done in conjunction with dives to the Promenade Deck, the Bow, Hold One or Hold Two.
From the shore you swim out to near the deco stop and then descend. You follow the rope to the bow and then angle across past the mast and crane arms to the Bridge. As you approach for the first time, you can really appreciate how big the Coolidge was. The front of the Bridge area is enormous, almost too big to take in.
|The Bridge from Hold Two||The Captains Bathroom|
The Bridge has a great deal of interesting things to see. the dive usually follows a very convoluted route, zig-zagging in and out of the various decks, going though cabins and across decks. The following is a brief description of some things that you may see on a typical dive.
The remains of the Bridge can be seen on the upper most level of the ship. The wheelhouse is not really recognisable as the top was made of timber and now totally missing as it has been eaten away by borers. The anti-aircraft guns that were located on this deck have all fallen away and now lie on the sand. Only a couple are worth looking at as most ended up upsidedown on the sand.
Below this level is the Boat Deck which had the officers' quarters. At the front of the Bridge (to the left as you look at it) and just down from the side of the ship (top as you look at it) on this level you can see the Captain's Cabin. All that remains are the bath, toilet and basin. This is very colourful and you can get some nice photographs.
The rest of the cabin and his office, including walls and ceilings, appears to have been made of timber or some other fragile substance (as were all cabins) and they have either been eaten away or rotted away. Lower down there are some other officer's cabins but they are too deep to see on this dive.
|Looking down the Promenade Deck from the Bridge||Gas masks on the Promenade Deck|
The next level of the ship is the Promenade Deck which has the Promenade. You will probably have a look at a section of the main Promenade. This is very interesting and has lots of artefacts on it. You will also notice that the "floor" (actually the wall) is now angled down at 10° or so. Before 2002 this section was level and it will probably not be too many years before the whole section collapses like it has further back.
On the Promenade there are rifles, machine guns, helmets, gas masks, boots and more to see. There are also some excellent gorgonias and the remains of the roof and the outside of the deck make some very attractive photographs.
Further into the centre of this deck of the ship are the Library and Writing Room. There is not much to see here. Further towards the stern inside the ship is the Continental Lounge which is really a separate dive, but can be combined with this one if you like.
|Kelly about to exit the hatch on A Deck onto the main foredeck||Kelly outside the hatch shown at left|
The next level is the A Deck. This has a lot of passenger accommodation. The rooms closest to the hull of the ship, accessible through the window at the front of the Bridge, are First Class. There are a large number of baths, toilets and basins to be seen, some in groups of two (back to back). You can return back to near Hold Two via this same deck and exit the hatch shown above or go to B Deck.
|Kelly coming through a bathroom on B Deck||Rifles, shovels and more on B Deck near the Lobby|
On B Deck there are more bathrooms as well as lots of artefacts. This can be an extremely interesting section of the ship to explore. As you move along, you pass through the bathrooms and you will see lots of things abandoned by the soldiers as they fled the sinking ship.
|More artefacts on B Deck||The hatch from B Deck to Hold Two |
There are lots of artefacts here
There are rifles, gas masks, helmets and lots of other things to see. At the end there is a pile of bottles, some appearing to be medical supplies. These are right next to a small hatch that leads out into Hold Two. From here some time can be spent in the hold or on the bow before going back to the deco stop.
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