SHIPWRECK DIVING Guide By Capt Dan Berg
Source of information on shipwrecks of Grenada including the Bianca C, with links to other shipwreck vacation destinations.
is one of the most beautiful and unspoiled of the Caribbean islands.
by stunning beaches, and populated by friendly people, the interior of this
volcanic island has cascading rivers and waterfalls, lush rain forests, and one
of the most breathtakingly beautiful mountain lakes imaginable. Information and
images taken from Capt. Dan Berg's Tropical Shipwreck book.
According to grenadagrenadines.com "Coral reefs abound around
the islands, affording divers a unique opportunity to enjoy the underwater world
with clear visibility sometimes to a depth of about 200 feet. Lying beneath both
Grenada and sister island Carriacou’s surface is some of the Caribbean’s most
dramatic and unspoiled underwater scenery. From lazy drift dives over coral
gardens to the Bianca C, the largest shipwreck in the Caribbean, Grenada's and
Carriacou's waters offer captivating images to divers of all levels. Since
Grenada and Carriacou are not as heavily frequented by visitors as other
Caribbean destinations, the reefs, wrecks and coral walls remain unspoiled by
crowds and many have yet to be explored. Divers will discover nearly every kind
of coral imaginable, along with sea fans, gorgonians, sea horses, rays,
barracuda, dolphin (dorado) and colorful reef fish."
information about Grenada visit the Grenada Board of Tourism’s official website
British Windward Islands
The Bianca C is also known as the Titanic, or Andrea Doria of the
Caribbean. She was a 593 foot long by 75 foot wide, 18,427 ton, Costa Cruise
Lines luxury cruise ship owned by the Linea & ;C"; Company of Genoa.
Today, she is resting on the ocean
floor off the southwest coast of Grenada. The Bianca C was built in 1944 by Provencale de Constructions Navales, La Ciotat in yard #161. She had triple
screws and 31,500 BHP sulzer diesels that could push her at speeds of up to
twenty two knots, two masts and one funnel. She was originally launched as the
Marechal Petain, then renamed in 1946 the La Marseillaise, and in 1958 she was
sold to the Arosa Line Inc. and renamed the Arosa Sky. The vessel had
accommodations for 200 first class passengers and1,030 tourist class passengers.
The first class dining salon had a glass roofed hall two decks in height.
She was also equipped with a swimming pool, solarium, beauty parlor, library,
gym, and a children's playground. The Bianca C was sunk once before her construction was ever completed.
After being launched in 1944,the Marechal Petain's hull was towed to Port Bouc.
In August of the same year, the Germans sank the incomplete vessel as they
retreated from Southern France. The ship was later raised and completed.
On October 22, 1961,ten days after she left Italy the Bianca C was on her last
port of call before returning to Europe on her usual run from Naples to La
Guaira in Venezuela. She was under the command of Captain Francisco Gravato and
at anchor off St.Georges, Grenada when suddenly, before dawn one of her
massive boilers exploded instantly killing one of her crewmen. Fuelled by
bunker oil in the storage tanks, flames rapidly spread from the engine room to
every deck. The explosion on the ship was so massive it sent tremors through the
town of St. George. Fortunately for the 750passengers on board, the people
of St. George were awakened and rushed to the fiery scene with a flotilla
of30 small crafts to ferry everyone to safety. Two crew members were
reported dead from burns in the tragedy. Eight crew men including Rodizza Napale,
her chief engineer, were treated at a hospital for injuries.
After the initial explosion and subsequent fires, the Bianca C was doomed.
The island did not possess any marine fire fighting equipment that would
have been needed in a salvage attempt of this enormous magnitude. Captain
Gravato circled the burning vessel with twenty of his officers trying to direct
hopeless fire fighting efforts from a small boat, but ultimately ended up
watching this once beautiful vessel destruct before their eyes. On October
24, two days after her initial explosion while the Bianca C was still
ablaze and beginning to sink, the H.M.S. Londonderry, a British frigate,
succeeded in securing a cable to the still burning cruise ship. This was no easy
feat as a crew from the Londonderry had to face burning deck plates and
billows of steam in order to fasten the tow line. The Londonderry then attempted
to beach the Bianca C in a spot where she would not be blocking the harbor, but
after towing her a few miles through strong currents and winds, her burnt
hull plates gave out and she went down off Port Saline.
In gratitude for the efforts of the Grenadian people, the Italian government
sent a statue of "Jesus of the Sea" which can now be seen guarding the
harbor at St. George's.
The Bianca C now rests only one mile from shore which is about a fifteen minute
boat ride. Although she sits in 160 feet of water leaning slightly to her
starboard side, divers can reach her deck hand railings at 95 feet and cover
most of her decks without descending lower than 120 feet. Water temperature here
is usually a steady 80 degrees, and the visibility on and around the wreck is
usually better than 50 feet. The current over the wreck is very powerful; divers
have to pull themselves down the dive boat's anchor line, hand over hand, to
keep from drifting away. This deep but interesting shipwreck is only for very
experienced divers due to the strong currents and depth. As an extra note of
caution all divers should be conservative on their dive schedule since the
nearest recompression chamber is on the island of Barbados. The area is
inhabited by all sorts of marine life including some huge eagle rays, turtles,
and barracuda. The Bianca C has not been visited by too many divers, but those
who have had the privilege of exploring this enormous wreck will surely remember
her as one of their most interesting dives.
In February of 1989,a group of experienced wreck divers from Long Island, New
York comprised of Chris Dillon, Hank Garvin & Rick Schwarz traveled to
Grenada , dove the Bianca C and recovered her bell. Despite other contradictory
reports this group noted that the condition of the wreck has deteriorated
extensively. Since much of her brass portholes and fixtures are missing it can
be concluded that the Bianca C may have already been commercially salvaged for
her valuable brass, and due to natural causes of saltwater the structure of the
ship has become very weak.
This could also have been caused by extensive
fire damage incurred before her sinking. The group was also able to find
their way into the ship's china room, and brought up some beautiful third class
china which will be displayed on the island of Grenada as well as in the United
States in order to promote diving on this beautiful Caribbean island.
penetration into any shipwreck should only
be done by those with proper training, experience and
wreck diving equipment. Scuba equipment
like powerful dive lights,
as well as redundant air supply like a
pony bottle or
are standard gear for wreck divers. On the Bianca C we also
jon line for deco stops due to the strong current.(uw photo by
years later Capt. Dan Berg and the film crew from his Dive Wreck
Valley cable TV series visited the island and filmed a documentary
on the Bianca C wreck. The show depicted the vessels history as well
as her current condition.
Photo: Wreck Valley TV film Crew after a dive to the Bianca C in Grenada
According to scuba
instructor Gerald Kreutzer
"The Bianca C is very unstable at
the moment. Every other week some additional parts collapse. We
divide the wreck into 3 parts. I will do that in this email as
well. The stern third is as shown on your sketch. The whole middle
part (superstructure) collapsed. There is only a very small part
left which provides a nice swim through. The part between
superstructure and the higher bow section collapsed as well a few
meters which means the cargo hole is lower than on your sketch.
The actual bow section is still as shown on the sketch. It
provides excellent swim throughs although I am not sure how stable
it still is".
The Buccaneer was a coastal schooner, which was scuttled, back in 1978, to form
a fish haven and dive site. The Buccaneer, which is sitting in 80 feet of water,
has done both magnificently, her hull supports a wide array of tropical fish and
she is visited by hundreds of divers each year. Because her structure has become
beautifully encrusted with soft corals and sponges, divers have found this site
to be excellent for photography. The Buccaneer is also an ideal warm up dive for
the deep wreck of the Bianca C.
Photo by Gerald Kreutzer
With its keel at a maximum depth of about 28 meters, this 100 ft. long wreck was
on the 4th of September 2004 and did not suffer any damage from the passage of
The occasional current makes this dive suited for experienced divers only.
A spectacular wreck dive with an already magnificent abundance of marine life.
This wreck was sunk on September 4th 2004. This dive is only suitable for
experienced divers as there can be a strong current.
The San Juan is an old fishing boat. We do not know the history of this wreck or
when she went down but the San Juan makes a great dive. There can be a current,
but wreck divers can penetrate the interior of this shipwreck. The wreck which
sits in 70' of water 2 miles from Hardy Bay, St Georges is mostly intact.
Shakem or SHARK ELM
The Shark Elm is a small cargo ship which sank in 2001 off Quarantine Point, St
Georges. She was carrying a cargo of concrete at the time. Apparently her cargo
shifted in rough seas and the ship capsized and went down. Today the Shark Elm
sits upright in approx 99' of water. Divers can see both of her anchors in the
bow and cargo crane amidships. Divers can also penetrate the wrecks interior to
her cabin decks, generator room and even engine room. Gerald Kreutzer writes
that The deck (with the huge concrete filled cargo hole) is at about 80
is a 170' freighter which sunk on March 5th 2005 three miles off the
south coast of Grenada. She sits in 100 feet of water
which was built in 1963 was on its way back to Trinidad.
Seas were rough and the ship started to take on water.
Unfortunately the bilge pump did not work. Grenada
coastguard rescued all crew, but the ship went down
approximately 3 miles off the south coast of Grenada.
lies on its side. The Hema 1 will be one of the main
attractions to Grenada's wreck divers.
The King Mitch is a Navy Minesweeper. The King Mitch
sank in 1981 four miles from Hardy Bay, St Georges.
Fortunately all of the crew survived. The wreck now lies
in the sand on its port side. According to scuba
instructor Gerald Kreutzer
The King Mitch lies like the Hema in about 100 feet
depth. He reports that diving on the Atlantic wrecks
like the San Juan, Hema and King Mitch can be a bit
tricky. "Sea can be rough and the current really strong.
Normally we use a DPV to tie up before we send the
divers down along a descent line. Bianca C is much
easier than the Atlantic wrecks".
This is the remains of a cargo ship. The Quarter wreck
is really just the stern section of a cargo vessel that
lies in approx 40' of water next to Grand Reef, off
Quarantine Point. Her propeller is easily
recognizable and her deckhouse and the engine room can
all be penetrated by experienced divers. Marine life
includes barracuda, angelfish, snappers, and moray eels.
According to scuba instructor Gerald Kreutzer
is there only a quarter? Some Grenadians wanted to
sink a cargo ship as an artificial reef. The took the
ship and divided it into four parts. When they towed
the whole thing to the final destination they had
troubles with the stern part - it slipped or filled
with water or something like that. So they had to drop
it before they reached the final destination. The
other three parts where dropped at the right place.
This dive site is now called Three Part Wreck (the 3
is absolutely nothing to penetrate on Quarter Wreck.
But the Three Part Wreck offers easy penetration
possibilities". The Three Part Wreck sits in 46 feet
According to scuba instructor Gerald Kreutzer
One really cool wreck
is the Veronica wreck
It stands upright like the Shakem
in about 47 feet. It's a cargo vessel and has also a
crane. But it's much smaller than the Shakem and the
cargo room is completely empty. It's a very nice and
easy to dive wreck with many fish life around.
Many thanks to Gerald Kreutzer for
providing updated shipwreck information for this
page. For additional information on Gerald's
services visit his web page at
Tropical Shipwrecks ebook
The Diver's guide to Shipwrecks of the Caribbean and Bahamas
7.3 MB instant download, printable PDF file
Shipwrecks contains a
wealth if information such as; aquatic
life, currents, bottom composition, depth, visibility and the
history and present condition of 135 shipwrecks spread over 35
tropical islands. This downloadable ebook includes 127 illustrations
comprised of color photos, Black and white historical images,
maps, and drawings which combined with an informative text
paint a complete picture of each wreck site. Many of these
rare photos have never before been published. Divers,
historians, armchair sailor or anyone with a general interest in history,
diving or the sea will surely find this book fascinating and the perfect
addition to their library.