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Dives off Key Largo

Spiegel Grove

This is an intentional wreck, clumsily sunk in 2002, and it's the largest ship ever sunk for this purpose. The USS Spiegal Grove was a naval amphibious assault ship launched in 1955, 510 feet long and 84 feet wide. It's five miles out from Key Largo, and has mooring buoys above it. It is huge. It carried amphibious assault vehicles, so the deck is large and cavernous. Water was allowed to flood the well deck, to create a dock-like environment on board at sea for loading of the amphibious vehicles. The ship also contained its own gigantic cranes for unloading the vehicles onto a dock. The cranes broke free during the sinking of the ship. There were three twin anti-aircraft guns on board, and these are still intact underwater, except for the barrels, which were removed. There are 3 levels of the ship, but since the ship turned over during the 2005 hurricane season, don't go inside this ship.

All of these ship characteristics make for a fascinating dive, and Spiegel is indeed one of the most popular dive sites in the Key Largo area. Be cautious, since the current is sometimes strong here, as are the waves. Visibility can be anywhere from 20 to 120 feet depending on conditions in the area.

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