Diving The Spiegel Grove: A Little Piece of Heaven Underwater
The recreational sport of scuba diving has been gaining popularity by leaps and bounds over the past decade. One of the hot spots for diving is none other than the Florida Keys, which is sometimes referred to as the diving capital of the world. The top key, Key Largo is home to one of the most fascinating and rewarding dives in the world, The Spiegel Grove.
The USS Spiegel Grove is a Landing Dock Ship (LSD 32) which was sunk in 2002 to create a artificial reef in Key Largo. This ship is a whopping 510 feet long and 85 feet wide, it is said you can dive this wreck 100 times and still never see the entire thing.
I was privileged to dive this wreck at night, which intensifies the experience like none other. And to say this dive was amazing would be an understatement. Upon tying off our charter to the mooring line I got the chills just wondering what I might see down there.
Once in the water I grabbed my line and started to descend, into what looked like the abyss. Then she met me with all of her glory, a ship so massive that even during the day you cannot see the entire ship. Right upon getting on the wreck I ran into some beautiful life, a small octopus, 200lb grouper, and even a spiny lobster who scurried off with the quickness.
I must admit I was a little intimidated at first. There are just so many doors and openings that it can be a little overwhelming as to where to explore first. As I began to make my way to the bow of the ship I came across the wheel room. Then a few corridors down I came into a room which looked very much like a bar room, with small high tops and a unmistakable bar in the corner.
Seeing the scenery like this makes your mind race, thinking of all the sailors who went about living their daily lives on the ship once upon a time. Nothing feels more like being a modern day Indiana Jones then going through a wreck the size of two football fields.
As if everything I saw wasn't enough I was greeted by a very curious little squid when I started making my ascent to the boat. He was a lovely little guy, just sitting right in front of my mask flashing all of his beautiful colors at me. He got so close that when I shined my light at him and see right through his transparent body and see his little heart beating away.
For anyone who can get the opportunity to dive this wreck I highly recommend it. It does require an advanced diving license, due to the depth. And if you want to penetrate the wreck you need to be certified to do so. Take warning that this is not a playground and all precautions must be taken.
In January of 2007 a group of divers did lose their lives in this wreck. Only dive here with the proper precautions and experience. It will be an experience that you will never forget, even for you divers with logbooks the size of the bible.
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