Anyone with a regulator, mask and snorkel can’t help but wonder, “Did Irma wreck the Florida Keys Wreck Treck?” Back in 2011 while studying the old ships sunk in the seas off the coast of the Florida Keys, I distinctly remember coming across the information that the largest ship sunk intentionally, before the General Hoyt S. Vandenberg, the Speigel Grove, didn’t sink properly and landed upside down with parts of her bow sticking above the ocean’s surface. This in 2001. Read the intriguing report here. Even more interestingly a $.25 M plan to turn her upright also went awry. But, the force of Hurricane Dennis in 2005 turned her upright for divers around the world to enjoy.
View the TDC’s underwater video here.
Here is a look at a couple of unpublished pictures from that 2011 ocean exploration with one of the notable Barracuda that calls the artificial reef home.
In Key Largo, there is also the Benwood.
And in Islamorada, the Duane and the Eagle wrecks are part of the ecosystem.
In another one-hundred and twenty feet of water off the coast of Marathon is the Thunderbolt. Here are pictures from a dive with Castaway Restaurant and Sushi Bar Owner John Mirabella and his dive partner, Adolphus Busch III.
Busch also sunk a wreck off of the coast of Big Pine, the area hardest hit, which he had named off of his great-grandfather. A great read here.
Seven nautical miles off of the coast of Key West is the mother ship. Organizers of the 523-foot General Hoyt S. Vandenberg, the largest artificial reef to conclude the Florida Keys Wreck Trek sunk in 2009 with marked fanfare, media coverage and unlike the Spiegel Grove, upright.
Now that the winds have calmed and a massive county clean up is underway, what is the state of these ships? Are the satellite dishes damaged? Is the 250-foot Adolphus Busch Sr. Wreck as smashed and shattered as the structures on the nearby islands? Which diver is hitting the trek to see which ships survived unscathed; and which if any, were demolished?
That’s a lot of heavy metal and that was a lot of force Irma insisted on unleashing through the Caribbean and all the way up Florida’s coastlines. No one was spared from her savagery.
The chance for peril, when out at sea and swimming at extreme depths, is always looming. Doesn’t matter if a Hurricane is gaining strength or not. The TDC reports that all of the islands will open for business Sunday, October 1, 2017. Better find those fins.
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