Upper Keys Artificial Reef Foundation
106000 Overseas Highway, Key Largo, FL 33037
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The Spiegel Grove Sinking
15th Anniversary Celebration
March 30 - September 4, 2017
The Spiegel Grove was launched in 1956. She is 510ft long with an 84ft beam, making her one of the largest artificial reefs in the world.
Spiegel Grove |
The USS Spiegel Grove is the flag ship of all wreck dives in the Florida Keys.
Landing Ship Dock
The USS Spiegel Grove’s major claim to fame is that she carried and delivered many tons of food and medical supplies to several African countries on two separate Humanitarian missions in the 1960’s. This is when she earned the nickname “Top Dog”. The Spiegel Grove served in the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and the Mediterranean Sea.
The sinking of the Spiegel Grove in 2001 is a story unto its own. After completing the environmental cleaning she was towed to Key Largo for the final preparation. On the very day of her scheduled sinking she went down four to five hours prematurely and rolled upside down resting on the stern side of the heli-pad at 130ft and her bow sticking out of the water about 65ft. The Key Largo Community hired a salvage company to raise her stern back to the surface and rolled her onto her starboard side. She remained on her side for three years when Hurricane Dennis came by and stood her upright.
Diving the Spiegel Grove
She was named after the Ohio Home of President Rutherford B. Hayes. Her main function was to carry a large contingent of US Marines and beach assault vehicles that could be launched in any war zone in the world. She also carried helicopters with a large helipad that covered the huge well deck. She carried four anti-aircraft batteries for protection.
The following dive operators will be happy to take you to the Spiegel Grove on the “big day” , and all the famous reefs and wrecks in the Keys any day:
Quiescence Diving Services
Sea Dwellers Dive Center
Reefs &Other Wrecks
With all of the turning and rolling, the heli-pad broke off and is lying off to the side in the sand. Sometime in her career one of the anti-aircraft batteries was removed but there are still three remaining. Most divers do not recognize the batteries because the barrels were removed during the cleaning process. When you approach the gun emplacement you will see two very large springs, these are the recoil springs of the gun. The Spiegel Grove’s deck is now at 100ft with the top of the superstructure at 65ft. The huge size of the Spiegel Grove will require divers to do approximately six dives to circumnavigate her one time. Divers will really enjoy the crane area. The top of each crane is at 65ft. with lots of places for marine life to hide out. The sinking committee saw fit to cut additional openings in the Spiegel Grove and added permanent lines inside providing divers easy access to some interior sections of the ship with multiple exists along the way. There really is so much to see on the exterior of the ship that there is no need to penetrate the interior, but don’t miss the “swim-throughs”. Penetration beyond these areas is dangerous and highly discouraged.
This dive is an advanced level dive. All dive operators require either and Advanced Dive Certification with recent diving experience or to be able to show an eighty foot or deeper dive in your log book within the last 6 months. You can also hire one of Key Largo’s experienced dive instructors or divemasters to take you on a guided dive. You should book a minimum of one week in advance of your trip.
Diving the “Spiegel”
Depth Range: 60-134 feet
Experience Level: Advanced to Expert
Sunk June 10, 2002
This world-famous artificial reef was until recently the biggest wreck in the world sunk especially for divers. The wreck is now upright. Most of the openings have been widened and secured with lines, so that advanced divers can easily do a variety of exciting swim-throughs with daylight. For "pros", the wreck offers lots of additional possibilities.
Amy Slate’s Amoray’s Dive Resort
Florida Keys Dive Center
Rainbow Reef Dive Center
Conch Republic Divers