Many thanks to Michael Sherratt who runs Dive Time Abaco, conveniently based within The Abaco Beach Resort, for this article. DiveTime offers both snorkeling and scuba diving tours, combining full service scuba diving with a personal touch.
Abaco offers some of the most spectacular dive sites in the Bahamas, being directly exposed to the Atlantic Ocean. The reefs of the Abacos are relatively shallow, 60 feet or less making amazing Elkhorn and star coral formations easily accessible to both scuba divers and snorkelers. Combine these awe-inspiring corals with an abundance of marine life ranging from the tiniest of reef fish to turtles, dolphins, eagle rays, sharks along with some of the clearest water in the world and you have an experience of a lifetime!
Abaco Beach Resort’s location, only minutes from both of Abaco’s pristine National Parks, allows Dive Time Abaco to provide world-class diving adventures to suit all tastes.
The third largest barrier reef system in the world, over 100 miles in length, protects Great Abaco from The Atlantic Ocean and provides a world class diving and snorkeling destination. Pristine coral reefs, historic ship wrecks and coral gardens are easily explored at any time of year, with water temperatures ranging from 70 – 85 °F with visibility up to 150ft.
The Fowl Cay National Park is conveniently reached from most central Abaco Cays and settlements. The park has steadily become attractive to scuba divers and is an extremely popular area for local boating and snorkeling. The reefs offer many dive site in the 20 – 60ft range.
The Pelican Cay National Park is located 8 miles north of Cherokee Sound, Great Abaco, this 2,100 acre land and sea area is a sister park to the Exuma Cays Land and Sea Park. It contains beautiful undersea caves, extensive coral reefs and abounds with terrestrial plant and animal life.
The U.S.S. Adirondack was an Ossipee class wooden screw sloop built in 1861 at the New York Navy Yard. She was launched on February 22, 1862 and commissioned in June of the same year. This union gunboat was 207 feet long, had a 38 foot beam, weighed 1,240 gross tons and was powered by both sail and steam.
The Adirondack was part of the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron. On August 23, 1862, while on a voyage from Port Royal to Nassau, she ran aground on Little Bahama Bank. The vessel Canandaigua rescued her crew, but all salvage attempts of the ship failed. The Adirondack broke up in the surf and sunk. The scattered remains of this warship rest in l0 to 30 feet of water. Divers can still see two of her 11 inch bore cannons that are about twelve feet long and weigh about 10,000 pounds each. Twelve smaller cannons can also be sighted while exploring the wreckage.
The U.S.S. San Jacinto warship is yet another civil war gunboat. The U.S.S. San Jacinto was one of the earliest American-built steam vessels. In fact, she was built as an experimental ship to test the technology of new propulsion concepts. She was laid down by the New York Navy Yard in August of 1847 and launched on April 16, 1850. A screw frigate, the Jacinto was 234 feet long, and had a 38 foot beam.
During her life on the sea she was plagued by unreliable machinery, which was always in need of repair. Naval support to northern troops, capturing the blockade runners Lizzie Davis, Fox, Edward, Roebuck and Lealtad; diplomatic missions overseas; and involvement in China’s Second Opium War, the San Jacinto met her doom by running aground on New Year’s Day, 1865. At the time of her demise, she was engaged in blockade duty for the U.S. Navy. Her guns and some of her provisions were recovered, but all efforts to salvage the vessel were unsuccessful.
This wreck sits on a slope with a maximum depth of 40 feet. Her structure is scattered due to the constant pounding of the sea which leaves us no clue as to the shape she once held.
Are you ready to book your Abaco Dive Time adventure yet? Be sure to get in touch!
Historical information courtesy of the Steamship Historical Society Collection, University of Baltimore Library.