August – Spiegel Sundays
The past few weekends we have dove the Spiegel grove each Sunday. Today the visibility was excellent, we could see the top deck from the surface! A double dip down ball 5 revealed goliath groupers munching the bait balls that had filled the deck.
The USS Spiegel Grove (LSD-32) was a Thomaston-class dock landing ship of the US Navy. At the time of sinking in 2002 she was the largest ship to be sunk for use as an artificial reef. The ship sank prematurely on 17 May 2002. During the planned sinking, 12 ton anchors were dropped, and her ballast tanks flooded with water. Unexpectedly, she rolled to her side and sank upside down. In June, the ship was rolled onto her starboard side by pumping air into the port side hull tanks, air bags, and tug boats.
The wreck was finally opened to recreational diving on 26 June 2002. In the subsequent week, over a thousand divers visited the site. Over the next 2 years alone, 50,000 dives had been done on the Spiegel.
Miraculously, hurricane Dennis righted the ship in July 2005 onto her keel, standing proudly right side up – the original resting position when she was sunk. Today, this makes for one of the best wreck dives in the world.
Great people, terrific vis, and a bunch of marine life made this a great Sunday.
Thanks to Iris and Sami, guided by Michael, who are doing their AOW with us this month, and thanks to Silentworld’s Dan and his clients for a lovely Sunday morning.