Delta Shoal is home to three shipwrecks that sank after hitting this reef in the Florida Keys
Delta Shoal is marked with a spar buoy. The depth of the water is 6' to 25'. There are mooring buoys here, but I don’t know the exact number. It’s located one and a half miles east of Sombrero Reef Lighthouse. The GPS Coordinates are 24'37.780N and 081'05.490W.
This shoal is made up of spur and groove formations. The long fingers of the reef stretch out for half a mile. There are large areas of sand between these coral fingers. The reef lays in an east to west direction. Outside the spur and groove formations are lots of single coral heads of all sizes. There are lots of ledges and crevices to explore. You’ll find this dive teeming with marine plant and animal life. The water is relatively shallow here so it’s a great place if you just want to snorkel or if you’re new to scuba diving.
The Ivory Wreck is on the west end of the shoal in 15' of water. There’s not much left of this shipwreck today. It’s hardly recognizable. It sank in 1853. This ship carried human cargo. It was a slave trading ship. In the 1960's divers discovered the wreck. They found lots of artifacts. Leg irons, brass bowls and a six foot long elephant tusk were some of the artifacts found at this wreck site.
The North American Shipwreck is located north of Delta Shoal. The GPS Coordinates are 24'38.270N and 081'05.605W. She was 130' long and 29' wide. She sank on November 25, 1842. She was carrying a cargo of furniture and dry goods from New York to Mobile, Alabama when she struck the reef. Local wreckers helped to salvage the cargo and rescue Captain Hall and his crew. The remains are in a sand and turtle grass area in 14' of water. There is a ballast stone pile with part of the keel visible at the bottom. There are copper spikes, cement patch material, cement barrels and timbers belonging to the floor. There is a mooring buoy at this wreck site.
There’s the wreck of a barge behind the east end of the shoal. It’s covered with soft corals and lots of marine life. This is a great place to snorkel.
The wreck site of several Spanish Galleons or Schooners can be found between two of the coral fingers. Keep an eye out for them as you swim from finger to finger.
This is one of those not so visited Florida Keys dive sites.
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