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The Grenada Shipwreck Expo Directory Capt. Dan Berg's Guide to Shipwrecks information
Historical and current Grenada Shipwreck Information and images for scuba divers and fisherman.
 

Grenada Shipwrecks      How to SHIPWRECK DIVING Guide By Capt Dan Berg
Source of information on shipwrecks of Grenada including the Bianca C, with links to other shipwreck vacation destinations. Grenada is one of the most beautiful and unspoiled of the Caribbean islands.
Bordered by stunning beaches, and populated by friendly people, the interior of this volcanic island has cascading rivers and waterfalls, lush rain forests, and one of the most breathtakingly beautiful mountain lakes imaginable. Information and images taken from Capt. Dan Berg's Tropical Shipwreck book.

According to grenadagrenadines.com "Coral reefs abound around the islands, affording divers a unique opportunity to enjoy the underwater world with clear visibility sometimes to a depth of about 200 feet. Lying beneath both Grenada and sister island Carriacou’s surface is some of the Caribbean’s most dramatic and unspoiled underwater scenery. From lazy drift dives over coral gardens to the Bianca C, the largest shipwreck in the Caribbean, Grenada's and Carriacou's waters offer captivating images to divers of all levels. Since Grenada and Carriacou are not as heavily frequented by visitors as other Caribbean destinations, the reefs, wrecks and coral walls remain unspoiled by crowds and many have yet to be explored. Divers will discover nearly every kind of coral imaginable, along with sea fans, gorgonians, sea horses, rays, barracuda, dolphin (dorado) and colorful reef fish."

For more information about Grenada visit the Grenada Board of Tourism’s official website – www.grenadagrenadines.com

GRENADA                                 British Windward Islands
 
  BIANCA C

The Bianca C is also known as  the Titanic, or Andrea Doria of the Caribbean. She was a 593 foot long by 75 foot wide, 18,427 ton, Costa Cruise Lines luxury cruise ship owned by the Linea & ;C"; Company of Genoa. Today, she is resting on the ocean floor off the southwest coast of Grenada. The Bianca C was built in 1944 by Provencale de Constructions Navales, La Ciotat in yard #161. She had triple screws and 31,500 BHP sulzer diesels that could push her at speeds of up to twenty two knots, two masts and one funnel. She was originally launched as the Marechal Petain, then renamed in 1946 the La Marseillaise, and in 1958 she was sold to the Arosa Line Inc. and renamed the Arosa Sky. The vessel  had accommodations for 200 first class passengers and1,030 tourist class passengers. The first class dining salon had a glass roofed hall two decks in height.  She was also equipped with a swimming pool, solarium, beauty parlor, library, gym, and a children's playground.  The Bianca C was sunk  once before her construction was ever completed. After being launched in 1944,the Marechal Petain's hull was towed to Port Bouc. In August of the same year, the Germans sank the incomplete vessel as they retreated from Southern France. The ship was later raised and completed. 



On October 22, 1961,ten days after she left Italy the Bianca C was on her last port of call before returning to Europe on her usual run from Naples to La Guaira in Venezuela. She was under the command of Captain Francisco Gravato and at anchor off St.Georges, Grenada when suddenly, before dawn one of her massive boilers exploded instantly killing one of her crewmen.  Fuelled by bunker oil in the storage tanks, flames rapidly spread from the engine room to every deck. The explosion on the ship was so massive it sent tremors through the town of St. George.  Fortunately for the 750passengers on board, the people of St. George were awakened and  rushed to the fiery scene with a flotilla of30  small crafts to ferry everyone to safety. Two crew members were reported dead from burns in the tragedy. Eight crew men including Rodizza Napale, her chief engineer, were treated at a hospital for injuries.

After the initial explosion and subsequent fires, the Bianca C was doomed.  The island did not possess any  marine fire fighting equipment that would have been needed in a salvage attempt of this enormous magnitude.  Captain Gravato circled the burning vessel with twenty of his officers trying to direct hopeless fire fighting efforts from  a small boat, but ultimately ended up watching this once beautiful vessel destruct before their eyes.  On October 24, two days after her initial explosion while the Bianca C  was still ablaze and beginning to sink, the H.M.S. Londonderry, a British frigate, succeeded in securing a cable to the still burning cruise ship. This was no easy feat as a crew from the Londonderry had to face  burning deck plates and billows of steam in order to fasten the tow line. The Londonderry then attempted to beach the Bianca C in a spot where she would not be blocking the harbor, but after towing her a few miles  through strong currents and winds, her burnt hull plates gave out and she went down off Port Saline.


In gratitude for the efforts of the Grenadian people, the Italian government sent a statue of "Jesus of the Sea" which can now be seen guarding the harbor at St. George's.

The Bianca C now rests only one mile from shore which is about a fifteen minute boat ride. Although she sits in 160 feet of water leaning slightly to her starboard side, divers can reach her deck hand railings at 95 feet and cover most of her decks without descending lower than 120 feet. Water temperature here is usually a steady 80 degrees, and the visibility on and around the wreck is usually better than 50 feet. The current over the wreck is very powerful; divers have to pull themselves down the dive boat's anchor line, hand over hand, to keep from drifting away. This deep but interesting shipwreck is only for very experienced divers due to the strong currents and depth. As an extra note of caution all divers should be conservative on their dive schedule since the nearest recompression chamber is on the island of Barbados. The area is inhabited by all sorts of marine life including some huge eagle rays, turtles, and barracuda. The Bianca C has not been visited by too many divers, but those who have had the privilege of exploring this enormous wreck will surely remember her as one of their most interesting dives.
BIG BIANCA C
In February of 1989,a group of experienced wreck divers from Long Island, New York comprised of Chris Dillon, Hank Garvin & Rick Schwarz traveled to Grenada , dove the Bianca C and recovered her bell. Despite other contradictory reports this group noted that the condition of the wreck has deteriorated extensively. Since much of her brass portholes and fixtures are missing it can be concluded that the Bianca C may have already been commercially salvaged for  her valuable brass, and due to natural causes of saltwater the structure of the ship has become very weak.  This could also have been caused by extensive fire damage incurred before her sinking.  The group was also able to find their way into the ship's china room, and brought up some beautiful third class china which will be displayed on the island of Grenada as well as in the United States in order to promote diving  on this beautiful Caribbean island.
Remember penetration into any shipwreck should only be done by those with proper training, experience and wreck diving equipment. Scuba equipment like powerful dive lights, navigation reels, dive knives as well as redundant air supply like a pony bottle or doubles are standard gear for wreck divers. On the Bianca C we also recommend a jon line for deco stops due to the strong current.(uw photo by Gerald Kreutzer).

A few years later Capt. Dan Berg and the film crew from his Dive Wreck Valley cable TV series visited the island and filmed a documentary on the Bianca C wreck. The show depicted the vessels history as well as her current condition.


Photo: Wreck Valley TV film Crew after a dive to the Bianca C in Grenada

According to scuba instructor Gerald Kreutzer

"The Bianca C is very unstable at the moment. Every other week some additional parts collapse. We divide the wreck into 3 parts. I will do that in this email as well. The stern third is as shown on your sketch. The whole middle part (superstructure) collapsed. There is only a very small part left which provides a nice swim through. The part between superstructure and the higher bow section collapsed as well a few meters which means the cargo hole is lower than on your sketch. The actual bow section is still as shown on the sketch. It provides excellent swim throughs although I am not sure how stable it still is".



BUCCANEER
 
The Buccaneer was a coastal schooner, which was scuttled, back in 1978, to form a fish haven and dive site. The Buccaneer, which is sitting in 80 feet of water, has done both magnificently, her hull supports a wide array of tropical fish and she is visited by hundreds of divers each year. Because her structure has become beautifully encrusted with soft corals and sponges, divers have found this site to be excellent for photography. The Buccaneer is also an ideal warm up dive for the deep wreck of the Bianca C. Photo by Gerald Kreutzer

WESTSIDER WRECK
With its keel at a maximum depth of about 28 meters, this 100 ft. long wreck was officially sunk
on the 4th of September 2004 and did not suffer any damage from the passage of Hurricane Ivan.
The occasional current makes this dive suited for experienced divers only.
A spectacular wreck dive with an already magnificent abundance of marine life. This wreck was sunk on September 4th 2004. This dive is only suitable for experienced divers as there can be a strong current.

SAN JUAN
The San Juan is an old fishing boat. We do not know the history of this wreck or when she went down but the San Juan makes a great dive. There can be a current, but wreck divers can penetrate the interior of this shipwreck. The wreck which sits in 70' of water 2 miles from Hardy Bay, St Georges is mostly intact.

Shakem or SHARK ELM
The Shark Elm is a small cargo ship which sank in 2001 off Quarantine Point, St Georges. She was carrying a cargo of concrete at the time. Apparently her cargo shifted in rough seas and the ship capsized and went down. Today the Shark Elm sits upright in approx 99' of water. Divers can see both of her anchors in the bow and cargo crane amidships. Divers can also penetrate the wrecks interior to her cabin decks, generator room and even engine room. Gerald Kreutzer writes that The deck (with the huge concrete filled cargo hole) is at about 80 feet.

HEMA 1
Hema 1 is a 170' freighter which sunk on March 5th 2005 three miles off the south coast of Grenada. She sits in 100 feet of water
The Hema, which was built in 1963 was on its way back to Trinidad. Seas were rough and the ship started to take on water. Unfortunately the bilge pump did not work. Grenada coastguard rescued all crew, but the ship went down approximately 3 miles off the south coast of Grenada.

The Hema lies on its side. The Hema 1 will be one of the main attractions to Grenada's wreck divers.

KING MITCH
The King Mitch is a Navy Minesweeper. The King Mitch sank in 1981 four miles from Hardy Bay, St Georges. Fortunately all of the crew survived. The wreck now lies in the sand on its port side. According to scuba instructor Gerald Kreutzer
The King Mitch lies like the Hema in about 100 feet depth. He reports that diving on the Atlantic wrecks like the San Juan, Hema and King Mitch can be a bit tricky. "Sea can be rough and the current really strong. Normally we use a DPV to tie up before we send the divers down along a descent line. Bianca C is much easier than the Atlantic wrecks".

THE QUARTER WRECK
This is the remains of a cargo ship. The Quarter wreck is really just the stern section of a cargo vessel that lies in approx 40' of water next to Grand Reef, off Quarantine Point. Her  propeller is easily recognizable and her deckhouse and the engine room can all be penetrated by experienced divers. Marine life includes barracuda, angelfish, snappers, and moray eels.

According to scuba instructor Gerald Kreutzer "Why is there only a quarter? Some Grenadians wanted to sink a cargo ship as an artificial reef. The took the ship and divided it into four parts. When they towed the whole thing to the final destination they had troubles with the stern part - it slipped or filled with water or something like that. So they had to drop it before they reached the final destination. The other three parts where dropped at the right place. This dive site is now called Three Part Wreck (the 3 remaining parts).

There is absolutely nothing to penetrate on Quarter Wreck. But the Three Part Wreck offers easy penetration possibilities". The Three Part Wreck sits in 46 feet of water.

Veronica Wreck

According to scuba instructor Gerald Kreutzer  One really cool wreck is the Veronica wreck
It stands upright like the Shakem in about 47 feet. It's a cargo vessel and has also a crane. But it's much smaller than the Shakem and the cargo room is completely empty. It's a very nice and easy to dive wreck with many fish life around.
 

Many thanks to Gerald Kreutzer for providing updated shipwreck information for this page. For additional information on Gerald's services visit his web page at http://www.geraldkreutzer.net/

 

 
 
Tropical Shipwrecks ebook
The Diver's guide to Shipwrecks of the Caribbean and Bahamas

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7.3 MB instant download, printable  PDF file

Tropical Shipwrecks contains a wealth if information such as; aquatic life, currents, bottom composition, depth, visibility and the history and present condition of 135 shipwrecks spread over 35 tropical islands. This downloadable ebook includes 127 illustrations comprised of color photos, Black and white historical images, maps, and drawings which combined with an informative text paint a complete picture of each wreck site. Many of these rare photos have never before been published. Divers, snorkelers, marine historians, armchair sailor or anyone with a general interest in history, diving or the sea will surely find this book fascinating and the perfect addition to their library.

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photos  grenadagrenadines.com  

  

 

 

 
 

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