This was our first dive site and while we are still taking the class (theoretically at least) I can’t use my camera. Don’t worry – there will be dives where I can before the trip is over. Until then I will use pictures from the sites we visit online. Our first location was the Benwood Wreck site. Unfortunately for us, we knew very little about her before we jumped in the water – fortunately for you, I looked up the info on the ship and the incident that lead to her sinking.
Located within the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary is the Benwood. This 285-foot 1910 English-built ship sailed a crew of 38 with 12 rifles and one four-inch gun.
The actual sinking of the Benwood, which occurred in 1942, has been a subject of much controversy. One account goes as follows. The freighter was torpedoed during World War II by a German submarine off the Florida Keys. As she sailed in search of shallower waters, she was again hit, this time by a passing ship, the Robert C. Tuttle. Five shells on board exploded ending this ship’s possibility for being salvaged. A second more likely account claims the two ships, the Benwood and the Tuttle, collided. Rumors of German U-boats in the area required her to travel completely blacked out. The Robert C. Tuttle, also blacked out, was traveling in the same area, bound for Texas. The two ships were on a collision course, and the bow of the Benwood collided with the port side of the Tuttle.
According to Wikipedia the ship sank on April 9, 1942 which puts us on her deck just over 70 years from the time she sank.
The trip consisted of two dives where we started with a skills review and then did a short tour of the wreck. The amount and variety of fish we saw were unreal. We have two more dives today and then we’ll officially be certified. At that point, there will be pictures after the jump. No promises on quality but the underwater rig is ready to go as soon as we are.