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Atlantic Pearl aka James Point is a boat accessible salt water dive site, located in Eleuthera, Bahamas. The maximum depth is 11-15ft/3-5m.


James Point

The reef off of James Point, and neighboring James Beach, lies off the Atlantic side of the island behind the settlement James Cistern. Through the centuries, numerous shipping routes have taken vessels around the tip of James Point. Unfortunately, the reefs here are deceptive: they extend much farther out into the sea than in most places on the island. Locals tell stories of having even small outboard motors hit rock even 1.5 - 2 miles from shore. In light of this, it’s no surprise that the settlement of James Cistern is itself named after a captain named James (nicknamed "Lord James") who wrecked his ship on what would later be called James Point. The captain and his crew moved inland to find fresh water in what is now called James Cistern. (It’s unclear whether the eponymous "James’ Cistern" itself is the James Cistern Ocean Hole discussed below in the Cenotes section, or a smaller hole which is reputedly located somewhere behind the present-day Zion Baptist church.)

No recreational dive operations are situated near James Point, and as a result, the wrecks discussed below are little-known. Many of them have remained virtually undocumented until now. In an effort to thoroughly document the site, I will post additional discussion relating to wrecks which were successfully removed from the site, but which were historically significant in some way.

Atlantic Pearl (James Point, 1979)

On February 11, 1979 (or November 2, 1979; sources vary presumably due to a misread date convention somewhere, although the most detailed listings use the February date), the partially-refrigerated British cargo ship Atlantic Pearl was grounded on the reef just under a mile off of James Point. The ship was packed with a full load of cargo, and had developed leaks on a journey from Miami to Guadeloupe. With her engine room and holds flooded, she was intentionally grounded and her crew abandoned ship. She was subsequently declared a constructive total loss and sold "as is, where is."
While salvage efforts were attempted by the Symonette Shipyard in Nassau, the ship could not be saved and it proceeded to break up into several pieces. Built in 1963 by Nieuwe Noord Nederlandse Scheepswerven in Groningen, the Atlantic Pearl weighed between 639 and 643 tons and was 265 feet long with a 34 foot beam and 12 feet of draft, and was owned by Atlantic Pearl Ltd. of the Cayman Islands and operated under a British flag.The cargo of the Atlantic Pearl spanned a wide variety of items, including cars, heavy equipment, new tires, groceries, and meat (the latter of which could be seen scattered along the entire length of James Beach for weeks after she went aground). At least some of the cars were removed via helicopter before the ship broke up. However, the heavy equipment (including trucks and construction equipment) could not be removed in this manner remains beneath the waves. The tires and many of the perishables were quickly rescued from the surf by area residents.

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