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Blue Water Adventures

of Pensacola, Florida

 

South Wind Marina, 10121 Sinton Dr., Pensacola, FL

 

 


Pensacola Sites

 
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1. Ft. Pickens' Jetties (Beach Dive)

Location: On the western tip of Santa Rosa Island National Seashore

Ft. Pickens' Jetties is a good beach dive with easy access. A drive approximately six miles west on Santa Rosa Island will bring you to the park. Here you are only minutes away from the hotels, restaurants and clubs. The park's excellent facilities include camping grounds. The rock jetties are located at the very end of the island. Start your dive at the beach and follow the gradual slope to a 50-foot depth. The rocky bottom is alive with marine life. The site is often used by instructors for check-out dives. Because of strong currents that accompany each tidal change, it is extremely important to dive on a slack tide. Check with the local dive shops or the park rangers for tidal information. Remember to always tow a diver's flag on a surface float.

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2. Catherine (Beach Dive)

Location: West end of Santa Rosa Island on the Gulf side, inside the Gulf Islands National Seashore. It is just off the beach near the Old Coast Guard Station.

The Catherine was a Norwegian bark that ran aground on August 7, 1894. The broken remains lie in approximately 15 feet of water. A dive from the beach will require a strong kick to make it through the surge. Remember to float a diver's flag behind.

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3. USS Massachusetts

Location: A little over a mile off the rock jetties, this wreck is found easily.

This is one of the best small boat dives in the Pensacola area. The site is listed as a Florida Archaeological Preserve. The 500-foot battleship of WWI vintage was built in 1893 and sunk by the Navy in 1927 to be used as target practice. Lying in 25 feet of water, part of the ship is still exposed. Though it is mainly intact, some sections of the USS Massachusetts are covered by sand. In winter, diving can be hampered by rough surge.

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4. Three Coal Barges

Location: l.8 miles off the beach in 50 feet of water.

Three Coal Barges rest end to end on a white sand bottom forming a wonderful area for safe, easy diving. The top decks of the 200-foot barges are 15 feet off the bottom. The area has developed into an outstanding fish habitat. The clean sand surrounding the ships is covered with large sand dollars and shells.

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5. Casino Rubble

Location: 1 mile off Pensacola Beach.

The rubble from an old casino (the first building constructed on Pensacola Beach) was dumped in 60 feet of water to form an atificial reef. Large concrete bricks and other construction materials provide habitat for flounder and red snapper.

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6. Liberty Ship/Joseph L. Meek

Location: 7 miles east-southeast of the pass leading to Pensacola Bay.

The intact hull of the 480-foot Liberty Ship Joseph Meek was sunk by the Department of Commerce in November 1976 as part of their program to form areas for sport divers and fishermen. She rests in 95 feet of water with her sides rising 20 feet off the flat bottom.

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7. Tex Edwards Barge 

Location: 6 1/2 miles east-southeast of the pass leading to Pensacola Bay.

This large, intact deck barge is considered by charter boat captains to be one of Pensacola's safest dives. Blue angelfish and other tropicals hide in the many compartments. The top of the barge is at a depth of 60 feet.

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8. Bridge Rubble

Location: 7 miles from Pensacola Beach

Twelve barge loads of rubble from the old Pensacola toll bridge were dumped in 75 feet of water to form an artificial reef. The large, complete bridge spans an area nearly 300 feet in diameter, forming an exceptional fish haven. Snapper, grouper and flounder are common at the site. The remains of a 100-foot barge lie at the western end of the area.

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9. Russian Freighter/San Pablo

Location: 9 miles off Pensacola Beach

The San Pablo was torpedoed in the Florida Straits during WWII. She went down nine miles off Pensacola Beach while being towed to Mobile for repairs. She was later dynamited to clear shipping lanes. Her stern section and boilers remain intact in 75 feet of water. Her remains form an excellent fish habitat with many barracuda, grouper and snapper.

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10. Monsanto Boxes

Location: 8 miles south-southeast of Pensacola Pass.

Over two hundred 4 x 4-foot fiberglass shipping containers with metal edges were welded together in units of eight or ten each and placed down in 70 feet of water as a fish haven. They have worked so successfully that the area is known by local divers as the Grouper Condos.

A second Monsanto site is just southwest of the first.

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11. P.C. Barge

Location: 8 miles south-southeast of Pensacola Pass. Just east of the Sylvia.

A 110-foot barge was sunk in 75 feet of water in 1990 as part of Escambia County's ongoing artificial reef building project. The barge is part of a cluster in this one-square mile area that includes the Monsanto Boxes, the tugs Sylvia, Deliverance and Tessie.

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12. Sylvia

Location: 8 miles south-southeast of Pensacola Pass.

This intact 65-foot tug rests on a sand bottom in 82 feet of water. There is a lot of fish activity around the vessel and her surrounding sands are littered with sand dollars, starfish, and shells. An excellent dive.

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13. Deliverance

Location: 8 miles south-southeast of Pensacola Pass. Just south of the Sylvia.

This is another intact 65-foot steel tug in the artificial reef site.

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14. Tessie

Location: 8 miles south-southeast of Pensacola Pass.

A 40-foot cabin cruiser, with her superstructure removed and filled with four auto bodies, was sunk in 75 feet of water as an artificial reef. The wreck is surrounded by large concrete culverts. Flounder are common in the area.

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15. LCM/Heron

Location: 11 miles south-southeast of the Pensacola Pass.

A 53-foot steel tug rests upside down inside a 56-foot LCM landing craft. Deployed in July 1990. This is a sight to see!

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16. Tug Phillip

Location: Situated in artificial reef site #7, which is approximately 8 miles on a 157-degree course from the sea buoy.

This intact 60-foot long, 22-foot wide tug sits upright in 95 feet of water. Deployed in December 1990.

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17. Tug Born Again

Location: Situated in artificial reef site #7, which is approximately 8 miles on a 157-degree course from sea buoy.

The 40-foot tower of the 65-foot tug Born Again projects to within 55 feet of the surface. Her hole is filled with 21 18-foot long stanchion pipes. She was placed in 95 feet of water in February of 1991. A large school of resident horse-eye jacks patrol the intact vessel.

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18. Pete Tide II

Location: Inside artificial reef site #7, just northwest of the Heron & LCM.

A fully intact 180-foot oil field supply boat sits upright in 100 feet of water. Her top is only 60 feet below the surface.

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19. A-7 Jet

Location: 17 miles south of Pensacola Pass in 110 feet of water.

The A-7 Corsair jet was lost as a result of a cold catapult from the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Lexington. The intact plane rests upside-down.

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20. Miss Jenny

Location: In artificial reef site #20 which is approximately 19.5 miles on a 166-degree course from the sea buoy.

An intact, 53-foot steel crew boat rests upright in 115 feet of water. She was deployed in December 1990.

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21. Dredge Avocet

Location: In artificial reef site #20 whick is approximately 19.5 miles on a 166-degree course from sea buoy.

This huge 2,640 ton, 247-foot clam shell dredge built in 1943 is one of the largest and best wreck dives on the Gulf Coast. The top of the third deck wheelhouse rises 68 feet from a depth of 115 feet. The vessel was sunk as an artificial reef in May of 1991.

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22. The Tenneco Oil Rig

Location: 22 miles south-southeast of Pensacola Pass.

Two massive 500-ton structures were submerged in 175 feet of water after a 275-mile barge journey from its original Gulf location. This gift from the Tenneco Oil Company is the first use of a complete platform as an artificial reef. The first Loran coordinates listed below are for the tower section with the deck intact. The second are for the section that consists only of the leg structures called jackets. Diving should be limited to the rig's upper section which begins 80 feet below the surface. Visibility in the area is 100 feet or more during the summer months. Large fish are abundant.

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23. Chevron Oil Rig

Location: 18 miles on a 131-degree course from the sea buoy.

Two large sections of an oil rig donated by the Chevron Oil Co. sit side by side in 134 feet of water. The great structures rise over 50 feet off the bottom attracting great schools of pelagics, including amberjacks. The rigs were placed down in October 1993. Visibility is usually quite good in this deep water location.

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24. Kingry Barge with Tanks

Location: Inside artificial Reef Site #7, approximately 8 miles on a 157-degree course from the sea buoy.

A 75-foot barge with open-ended cylindrical fuel tanks welded to the deck was sunk as an artificial reef in November 1993. Some of the large tanks are over ten feet long and eight feet in diameter. She settled upside down, resting on the tanks in 84 feet of water creating an excellent hiding place for fish. Plenty of snapper and amberjacks frequent the site.

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25. M/S Antares

Location: 20.9 miles on a 165-degree course from Buoy 12 in Pensacola Pass.

This great freighter, measuring 387 feet, was one of the largest intact artificial wrecks in Florida before Hurricane Opal did her thing in 1995. The storm twisted and broke the hull leaving only the stern section intact. She rests in 130 feet of water with her stern 90 feet below the surface. This is still a great dive, but deep. Penetration into the structure is extremely dangerous!

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26. Oops Barge

Location: Approximately 7 miles from Pensacola Pass.

Accidents happen. While being towed to another site for deployment, this 65x20x7-foot steel barge inadvertently sank in 71 feet of water.

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Blue Water Adventures

of Pensacola, Florida

 

South Wind Marina, 10121 Sinton Dr., Pensacola, FL

 

 

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