Volunteers from MAHS traveled to Bermuda in August of 1995 to assist the Bermuda Maritime Museum and East Carolina
University graduate student, Sarah Waters, in documenting the wreck of L'Herminie, one of the
most famous dive sites on the island. Waters planned to use the site as the basis for her Master's
thesis and MAHS was invited to assist in collecting data for the project.
L'Herminie was a French frigate built and launched in 1824. After years of duty in the
Mediterranean, she was sent to the Caribbean, arriving in the summer of 1837 as part of a squadron
of seven ships intended to back French claims against Mexico.
Late in 1838, following months
of hard use in the tropical climate, the squadron was in an advanced state of disrepair.
The vessels -- L'Herminie among them -- were in need of major overhauls and the crews
were decimated by yellow fever and other diseases.
Returning to France in December of 1838, L'Herminie encountered heavy weather and made
for Bermuda. She became caught in the extensive reef system surrounding the island and
eventually ran onto the reef at the Chub Heads, west of the Royal Navy Dockyard. The crew was
rescued and some salvage was conducted, but many of the vessel's features including several anchors
and cannon were not recovered.