I feel like a Wreck
While Mystique lay waylaid in Bimini for 4 days awaiting a favorable southerly wind to cross the Gulf Stream, my crew couple and I felt like wrecks. That is, we felt like visiting and exploring two nearby ill-fated, ship wrecks - one on the beach near the entrance to North Bimini and the other offshore 2-3 miles due south of South Bimini. As we soon discovered, our explorations of their hulls and the stories behind their demises were both fascinating and fishy. And not surprisingly, by the end of the day I too felt like a wreck.
For the offshore wreck, we hired Benjamin from Bimini's Shark Tank to take us to snorkel the SS Sapora. Riding his 20+ year old dilapidated 12' Boston Whaler, propelled by a fairly new 25hp Yamaha outboard, we bounded and bounced across the crystal blue shallows from North Bimini's docks towards the prominent brown blimp on the southern horizon. Within 15 minutes without any rash guards or anything close to warming wetsuits, we went swimming with hundreds of fish around and within her rusty, jagged hull.
And then I saw two sharks. As we finished our underwater snorkeling, I noticed a sleek, spiffy, small speed boat anchor a hundred feet astern of the doomed derelict. And as two wet-suited young men emerged deckside from the craft and jumped into the waters, I noticed their spear guns in hand. As I realized they would be shooting the fish that made the ship their home, they were not actually "hunting" for prey. I suddenly became disgusted and incensed by their actions. It felt terribly wrong to me to kill beautiful fish for sport or food when they were like "sitting ducks". I could not understand the mentality of these men who seemingly had all the equipment and gear to come to what had become a tourist attraction to hunt and kill fish. These supposed hunters were actually land sharks to me. As we sped off to snorkel the reef, Benjamin told us there are no restrictions about spearfishing at the wreck. That seemed wrong to me. And then he said the sea sharks leave these beautiful reef fish alone. Ironically, some sharks apparently know better.
The fascinating history taken from Wikipedia:
The underwater view of the the port side hull
of SS Sapora after almost 80 years underwater.
The wreck lies in about 15 feet (4.6 m) of water, the stern broken off and partially submerged by hurricanes that struck in 2004. Little concrete is left on the hull because of the effects of bombing and weathering. The wreck itself and the surrounding area is a popular site for scuba divers and snorkelers. The ship was used as a backdrop in the 1977 horror film Shock Waves directed by Ken Wiederhorn. It was also figured as a key setting in Ian Fleming's novel, Thunderball.
More hull growth
near the engine room
Benjamin awaits our return from our snorkeling.
Inside the wreck
A fish guarding the shipwreck's ribs.
On one of the first days ashore on North Bimini,
we encountered the shipwreck Gallant Lady
lying fallow, forlorn and forgotten in vibrant, pristine and chromatic waters.