Shipwrecks of Florida

Photos by Bob Hampton

Inside the Empire Mica

The Empire Mica

The Empire Mica was a British tanker, 465 ft. long, that was sunk by a German U-Boat.  Two torpedos from the U-Boat caused a series of explosions which were heard along the Gulf coast of Florida, more than 20 miles away.  The ship burned for a day as it drifted in the gulf, finally sinking in 105 ft. of water south of Cape San Blas, Florida.

The explosions did a great deal of damage to the Empire Mica.  Most of what's left of it is just a large debris field.  Part of the bow section, however, is relatively intact, and rises 50 or 60 feet above the bottom.

It's an authentic relic of WWII, unlike most of Florida's other wrecks which were purposely sunk for diving.

Oil Tank on the Empire Mica

The Empire Mica is an impressive wreck, even if it's mostly broken up.  It's huge cargo holds offered plenty of great places to explore, and the surprisingly clear, warm water had brought a wonderful assortment of fish and reef creatures to the site.

I enjoyed the Empire Mica more than any other wreck I dove in Florida.

My Dive Buddy (shown here) for my dives on the Empire Mica was Paul Bonge, of New Orleans, LA.

The Orion Tugboat

The Orion Tugboat

The Orion is a 118 ft. long tugboat that sank in 1981 several miles east of Key Biscayne, Florida.  It sits upright on the bottom, 95 ft. deep.

This wreck was very intact and had many interesting places to explore inside.

The Orion was a great little shipwreck.

The Arida LCT

The Arida

The Arida is a 165 ft. long LCT (Landing Craft) that had been converted to a freighter. It lies on the botton, almost upside down, about 4 miles east of Key Biscayne.

The Jay Scutti Tugboat

The Jay Scutti Tugboat

The Jay Scutti is another tugboat sunk as an artificial reef.

This one is in 70-80 ft. of water just east of Ft. Lauderdale Florida.

The Owens

The Owens

The Owens is a 125 ft. long freighter sunk in 85 ft. of water just off W. Palm Beach, Florida.

This small ship was sunk in December of 1985 as an artificial reef.

It's a beautiful and interesting wreck, and it's located in the warm, clear water of the Gulf Stream.

The Rolls Royce Silver Cloud

The Rolls Royce

In 1985 this Rolls Royce Silver Cloud was dumped here next to the Owens as part of the same artificial reef program.

It was reportedly a 1966 model, in mint condition when sunk here.  This photo was taken in May of 1987.

Text and Photos © 1999 by Bob Hampton  All Rights Reserved

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