Ever since I was young, I have read about an amphibious military vehicle sunk off Del Monte beach in Monterey. It was usually briefly mentioned in books or articles about diving Del Monte Beach, but there was never any details. Even today (2020), I can't find much information about the wreck.
What kind of vehicle is it?
The vehicle is often refered to as an Amtrak, Half Track, Buffalo Half-Track, Tank, etc. I beleive it is actually an Amphibious Tractor (which then is shortened to amtrac) also known as an Amphibious Vehicle, Tracked (LVT) (which then is shortened to amphtrack or amtrak).
What was it doing in Monterey?
During WWII, Fort Ord was the home to many Amphibian Tractor Battalions in 1943 and 1944 on their way to the Pacific. This site lists 18 battalions that arrived at Fort Ord.
I found a few picutres that look like they could be Amtracs in Monterey, but the only ones actually labeled as being in Monterey are from the 727th Amphibian Tractor Battalion Association website:
The 727th Amphibian Tractor Battalion on the beaches of Monterey Bay, May 15th, 1944.
Why did the amtrac sink?
I can't find a record of why the amtrac sank yet, but I think it is reasonable to assume that something went wrong durring the WWII training, and they simply left it.
How to find the amtrac?
There was a dive guide of Monterey (still trying to find my copy), that listed a way to line up land marks to find the amtrac. I tried to find it in 1999 (March 14, 1999 trip to Del Monte Beach, Monterey) but was unsucessful. Chuck Triblet's Website, lists a lineup, mentions there is kelp on the amtrac even in winter, and the GPS cordinates as:
N36 36.182 W121 53.136
The line up on Chuck's website:
"The second story window on the first two-story building on Wharf 2 with the statue on the hill way behind it. The statue is getting kind of hard to see because of bushes, but if you know where it is you can see it."
Are there photos of the amtrac underwater? I can find photos of other underwater features of Del Monte beach (the cement sail boat, shale reef, and Wharf II) but nothing of the amtrac on the web. I plan to go out and try to get some photos to document how it looks in 2020. This would be a good project to test out an ROV/Underwater Drone, or maybe even a drop camera.
But wait, there is more!
While looking for details about the location of the amtrac off Del Monte beach, I see on Chuck's website, there are two more off Lover's Point, which he calls Mating Amtracks.
The GPS coordinates for the Mating Amtracks is:
N36 37.787 W121 54.621
Kawaki Chetron's website (www.coldwaterimages.com) has a page on the Mating Amtraks
Clinton Bauder's website (metridium.com) Monterey Scenics gallery has two pictures of the Mating Amtraks:
In 2012 the Bay Area Underwater Explorers (BAUE) documented the wrecks in the BAUE Mating Amtracks Project.
I plan to check out these two amtracs also.
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