HMS Cerebus 1783

aka. Musket Ball Wreck

A large wooden British gun-ship the Cerebus was 126 feet long and 35 feet wide carrying 32 guns. Launched June 15th 1779 the HMS Cerebus was lost on the 21st of February 1783 when coming out of the Castle Harbour she struck the blind reef in the middle of the channel and then floundered against the most southern island/rock of the channel.

Several cannons are reported to have been salvaged at the time of her sinking as she apparently sat with decks above water for several days.

Due to the loss of the Cerebus the British Admiralty forbade the further use of the Castle Harbour as an anchorage for her majesty’s ships.

The wreck has been locally known as the “Musket Ball Wreck” because of the large amount of musket balls (the equivalent of modern bullets) that could be found strewn on the bottom in the sand around some iron ballast weights and some general metal debris in the area where the wreck floundered.

It is quite normal that after being salvaged at her sinking and being battered in shallow water against the rocks on south shore for 222 years that there is no timber left and only very little iron debris. Today, since Hurricane Fabian, the debris and the musket balls are almost non-existent, all that is evident are a half dozen of her ballast weight, 100 and 200 weight. This wreck was surveyed by the Bermuda Maritime Museum in 1993. This wreck is not regularly dived by any of the dive shops and is not a part of the Bermuda Dive Sites program.

Decision: deferred