The Herrera Wreck is named for the merchant nao Herrera whose ship was stranded inside the reef during the 1733 Hurricane

The Herrera Wreck has no marker or mooring buoys to mark the site. The depth of the water is 18'. It’s located approximately two and a half miles south of Snake Creek. This is NOT a Sanctuary Preservation Area. The GPS coordinates are 24'54.326N and 080'35.538W.

This merchant ship was traveling with the Silver Plate Fleet in July of 1733. There were 22 ships in the fleet. They left Havana harbor on Friday, July 13, 1733 sailing back to Spain from the New World. The four Spanish Galleons and several small treasure ships were loaded with 20,000,000 Mexican Silver Pesos.

Ballast stones from shipwreck

On Saturday, July 14, 1733 General de Torres, the commander of the fleet, sensed a hurricane speeding toward the fleet. He ordered the ships to return to Cuba. It was too late, the storm caught up with the fleet of ships the following day and drove them onto the reefs of the Florida Keys. Seventeen of the twenty two ships were grounded or sank that day. Only five ship broke free from the hurricane. Four made it safely back to Havana and one sailed on to Spain.

The Herrera Wreck now lies inside the reef in Hawk Channel. It’s in an area of turtle grass and sand. All that’s left of her is a pile of ballast stones. She was carrying a cargo of clay bowls, animal hides, pottery, small animal figurines, and a few cannon balls. This wreck is called the Figurine Wreck by locals because of the hundreds of small clay animal figurines that have been discovered at this dive site. If you’re interested in trying your luck at locating one of these figurines, you’ll need patience and a tool for digging as well as something stiff to fan away the sand. Ancient figurines are still being found today. If you’re lucky enough to find one you’ll need to keep it submerge in saltwater until it can be properly preserved. They are old and very fragile. If not cared for properly, it will crumble to pieces.

The visibility at this Florida Keys ship wreck isn’t always that good because of its location in the middle of Hawk Channel. Happy treasure hunting.

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