WRITTEN AND RESEARCHED BY PAUL HENNESSEY
POSITION ….. 53 12 437 N / 000 49 401 E …. (12 MILES NORTH OF WELLS)
OFFICIAL NUMBER ….63474
LENGTH … 66 ft
BEAM …. 13.9 ft
DRAUGHT … 5.6 ft
BUILD DATE …1871
BUILDER … CUMMING AND SWAN, GLASGOW
HULL …. IRON
BOILER …. SINGLE, DRUM TYPE
ENGINE … 2 CYLINDER COMPOUND (MUIR & CALDWELL, GLASGOW)
PROPULSION …. X1 SCREW
OWNER … REHOBOTH ROBINSON, BOSTON, LINCS
LOSS DATE …. 22nd DECEMBER 1897
CAUSE OF LOSS … HIT SUBMERGED OBJECT ( IN BALLAST, BOSTON TO HULL )
CREW … ALL SURVIVED ( CREW OF TWO )
As with many wreck sites, identification of the vessel involved can often be incorrect. The wreck site of the Moonlight demonstrates this perfectly. The UK Hydrographic office have the site listed as that of the Laurium, a 173 ft triple expansion powered collier of 582 GRT.
In June 2015 North Norfolk Divers investigated the site positioned above. On first inspection the site was determined not to be that of the Laurium, as named by UKHO, this conclusion being drawn from the fact that the remains of a 2 cylinder compound engine were in evidence.
Various other publications contradict the Hydrographic offices naming of the Laurium, as the wreck specified at the above position, naming it to be that of the moonlight. At this point things start to become rather complicated, a case of the right name, wrong vessel.
In present publications that list the site as that of the Moonlight, she is specified as being 126 ft long, built by Backhouse and Dixon, along with her circumstances and date of loss being recorded as that of which is now believed to be the true Moonlight, a 66 ft Clyde built Puffer.
On Diving the site, the length of the wreck showed itself to be no more than 60-70 ft from bow to stern, this now disproving the claim that the site is that of the Backhouse and Dixon built Moonlight. The evidence given showed we were looking for a very small vessel, steam driven and machinery aft. After extensive investigations it is now believed this site is to be that of the Clyde built Puffer Moonlight, as described at the head of this page. For more information go to http://www.clydeships.co.uk/view.php?ref=5041.
The Moonlight makes for a very pleasant dive, at only 66ft long and at a depth of 20mtrs there is plenty of time to explore this picturesque wreck. For the most part she stands no more than a metre clear of the seabed, the small drum type boiler being her highest point at 3mtrs. Starting at the stern you will find her small single prop, this being no more than 1.5mtrs in diameter. From here there is a short distance to her 2 cylinder compound engine, this having rolled out of her port side onto the seabed, here you will also find her single drum type boiler. All around this area you will find an assortment of pipework and valves associated with the engine room, along with items of her upper structure that have now collapsed down into what were once her below deck compartments. Moving forward from here the Moonlight is for the most part a mass of broken plates and ribs. A short fin from the boilers will bring you to the bows, here you will find a mass of anchor chain, this giving refuge to juvenile crabs and lobsters.