Dive Trip Report to:
Florida's Beaches -
Purpose: To Dive the 1715 Wreck of the Urca de Lima north of Pepper Park in Ft Pierce.
Date / Dive #
Saturday Morning Dive. My Dive #569
A. Dive Beach Location: Beach Dive - Bauman Apts Lot, north of Pepper Park
Visibility: 15 ft
Water Temp: 71 - 73 on the bottom, warmer on top
Skies: Typical Florida Sunny Clear Blue Skies!!
Air Temp: 89
C. Dive Information:
Depth & Time: Me: Genesis Nitrox Dive Computer - 17 ft for 50 min, 37% NITROX, PO2 0.55
Air consumption: Me: 3600 lbs to 2000 lbs, 120 cu ft
Current: Slight to the north with some Surge!
Description: Well, I havn't dove this wreck since the hurricanes. I've been told it's still there. There was around 6 cannon, ships ballast stone and some embedded wood members at one location and the 20 ft long ships anchor and a cement bouy marker at an adjacent location 100 ft away. The wreck is located 0.2 mile at a heading of about 45 deg off the the coast [ not straight out from the shore and not straight up the shore line ]. It's located about 1/2 way from the path at
The marker bouy are gone.
I've contacted the State of Florida to see if they have any bettern GPS co-ordinates than I do. Mine are from about 3 years ago and marked the two sites. They did not and they were not able to find the wreck on a dive a few weeks previous.
Well to set up such a dive takes a lot of work. We set a date and hope the weather is good. We need the winds to be out of the west for 3 days before the dive to knock down the waves and let the sand and silt settle. We need permission from Bauman Apts to use their empty lot - sometimes they have others using it, so we can't do it. I had to get my sit-on-top kayak, marker bouys, Garmen GPS and dive gear ready. The local Explorer Dive Scout group was also invited along to show these 14 plus year old Scouts a 400 year old wreck.
I arrived around 8:00 am with my dive partner a newbie Beach Diver. We set up 2 sit-on-top kayaks and bouys and paddled out to the two GPS co-oridnates that I have for the urca:
Right away I had some problems. The GPS gave me a heading and range, but I did not have a compass. So it took some playing around to get to the two sites and drop the marker bouys. This done, we returned to the shore and suited up for the dive. As per normal beach dive, we entered the water and floated on our back to the dive site. There down we went. The one marker was right on a Cannon [ See Pic ]. The cannon would not have been recognizable, except for the fact that I've seen them before. It was a grass incrusted 12" diameter, 5 ft long solid tube. We only saw one! The cannon was on the eastern most bouy - the one farthest out to sea.
Off we went to the second site looking for the anchor. I was very excited as the anchor is very visible as a 20 ft long anchor. No anchor or cement bouy marker was found. Upon our return to shore, Dave [ one of the scout leaders ] found the anchor and did identify it per the photo's I took 3 years ago. He was unable to give a positive site location, but it sounded like it was a few hundred feet to the south of the GPS location and on the 2nd reef.
There was no evedance of any ballast stones or other cannon. But, it does need to be dove again and looked at more closley in an organized search pattern from the above GPS locations.
I took my newbie Beach Dive partner south along the 2nd reef line. There's not much to see here, but I did not want to go out any further on this 1st dive and also wanted to look over the reef for other items.
I did find one wooden pole [ see pics ]. It's about 20 ft long, 10 inches in diameter with a metal cap on one end. No idea what it is - maybe a channel marker?
The rest of the dive was not very exciting. Some small fish, lot's of reef grass and urchans. No bugs, no big fish. On the way in, I got a picture of two fresh and BIG fish hooks. These hooks were about 6 inches long. Later we found out that fishing boats were chumming the waters for shark fishing. Some divers at Pepper Park had several shark sightings.
With divers getting a little cold, tanks 1/2 empty, we headed for shore. The walk back to the car is always exhausting walking in the soft sand and hot sun. We cleaned up, got back in the kayaks are retrieved the markers. Several divers cuaght bugs, there were numerous ray sightings. All in all, we had some great weather, good diving conditions and found some parts of the Urca de Lima wreck still there - post hurricanes!
Geo / The Irishman
Last Updated: 14-Aug-2006