Dive on the Wreck of the Eagle, Florida Keys

The Eagle was built in 1962, a year before I was born. It was built at Bijkers Shipyard, Gorinchem, Netherlands, and named Raila Dan. It was originally 268.5 feet long. It’s names have been numerous, including my favorites – Carmela, Arron K, and Carigulf Pioneer. In October of 1985, I had just arrived in San Angelo, Texas, from Monterey, California. On the 6th the Arron K caught fire between Miami and Venezuela.  The damage was too extensive to repair and on 19 December 1985 the ship was bought by the Florida Keys Artificial Reef Association, renamed Eagle Tire Co. and sunk as an artificial reef near Lower Matecumbe Key, Florida.

There the Eagle sat for the enjoyment of scuba divers at a max depth of 115 feet. On September 2, 1998, Hurricane Georges crossed paths with the Eagle and tore the ship in two. It is a testament to the destructive power of hurricanes and it is not uncommon for ships that have been sunk as artificial reefs to be damaged by overhead passing storms. The Capt Tibbetts, a former Russian Destroyer, was torn in two in the Caymans, the Spiegal Grove was righted and now sits upright due to a hurricane, and the Kittiwake will one day be the victim of a storm that passes overhead as it sits in only 58 feet of water.

This is a video of my most recent visit to the wreck. I love diving this ship. There is never a strong current and the ship always appears ghostly laying on its side with its masts sticking out horizontal. Enjoy.


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