The nearest shipwreck to us, The El Aguila rests in a huge sand patch at 110 feet deep. The ship was sunk intact 1997, but even with the deck 80 feet below the surface it was not safe enough to withstand hurricane Mitch in October of 1998. The storm left the ship broken in half with the cargo bay split lengthwise and separated from the wheelhouse in the stern and the bow.
We tie up to the mooring affixed to the wheelhouse, and descend to the stern of the ship. The descent provides an overall view of the ship strewn about the sand patch as it fades in the distance towards the bow. We make our way down the side of the wheelhouse to the keel exploring over and around the rear portion of the ship for elusive sea residents.
Ending our visit to this portion of the ship we make our way forward through the split and scattered cargo holds. The forces 0f the hurricane are very apparent here with large sheets of steel and structural members lying about the bottom like so much paper litter. The upside to the destruction is that it provides a lot of habitat for the bottom dwellers. Moray Eels, Angel-fish, Snappers, Tangs, and huge Groupers populate the ecosystem made up of the wreckage.
The bow is detached but standing almost upright on its keel. Sheared off from the storm we ascend past decks to the remains of the mast at the bow. Photo ops abound here, and the fish seem to congregate about this vertical structure. The dive on the ship ends here as we make our way over to the reef nearby, and begin our slow ascent to the boat.