About Evelyn Dudas
Evelyn Bartram Dudas first breathed compressed air in the early 1960’s when the sport of scuba diving was newly born. After obtaining her certification at the University of Buffalo in 1964, she returned to West Chester and began diving off the Mid-Atlantic coast at every opportunity. During a dive trip in 1965 on the recently sunk tanker Stolt Dagali, she met John Dudas, and they became frequent diving partners. Evie was the first woman to dive the Andrea Doria. She and John retrieved the compass from the wheelhouse of this luxury liner. Her story has graced the pages of Skin Diver, Newsweek, National Geographic, Franklin Mint Magazine, and Harper’s Bazaar to name a few. She appears in the DEMA/Jack McKenney video Scuba Dive America.
Scuba Dive America
This article was published on the front page of the Sunday Philadelphia Inquirer, July 26, 2009 written by Kathy Boccella.
It was June 1967, and the 22-year-old woman with a toothy smile from West Chester was aboard a smelly fishing boat with 11 men eager to dive the offshore wreck of the famed Andrea Doria, 220 feet below the Atlantic. Evelyn Bartram Dudas didn’t recover the best artifact – the ship’s compass, which went to her future husband, John Dudas – but she returned from the trip a hero as the first woman to reach what is considered the Mount Everest of shipwrecks.
Viking Starlite docked out of Montauk, NY, agreed to take a group of hard-core New Jersey wreck divers to the Andrea Doria. It was the second year that a charter had been organized by George Hoffman and Mike DeCamp, two well-known wreck divers. The boat fee was $10 a day for three days and the food cost $28 for a grand total cost of $58. It was a 10-hour run to get to the site. We anchored over the Doria with two big Danforth sand anchors that bridled the wreck. Then a team went in the secure a downline to the wreck…
The Ayuruoca lies in 176 FSW in the New York Mud Hole. The “Hole” is the long flooded ice age Hudson River Valley about 8 miles off sandy Hook. Mud Hole wrecks are silty and very dark from the constant flow of ooze from the Hudson River. The helm was the rear most auxiliary station located near the very tip of the stern. It’s impressive diameter and oversized shaft is due to the fact that it was intended to turn the rudder with muscle power in case of a steering failure. It was contained on three sides by doghouses, and forward by a steel shroud which covered the wheels shaft and bearing. Overhead was a gun tub placed there during the Second World War. The wheels only access was through narrow companionways port and starboard.