Tres Puentes Shipwreck is still giving up artifacts today to divers in the Florida Keys

Tres Puentes Shipwreck doesn’t have a marker or any mooring buoys to make the dive site. The depth of the water is 15'. It’s located between Snake Creek and Whale Harbor. This is NOT a Sanctuary Preservation Area. The GPS coordinates are 24'53.612N and 080'35.012W.

This shipwreck is thought to be one of two ships in the 1733 fleet. One was a 296 ton merchant ship the Nuestra Senora de los Dolores Y Sante Isabel, which was also called the Nuevo Londres. It was owned by Nicholes de Castillo and the captain of the ship was Antonio de Loaysa. Or it could have been a 212 ton vessel named the Nuestra Senora de Belem y San Juan Bautista. It was owned by Francisco Lebrum. Deigo de la Corte y Andrade was the captain of that ship.

Tres Puentes Ballast Stones

Spanish records show that she took on her cargo of sugar, spices, tobacco, tanned hides, fruit, indigo brazilwood and silver coins in Vera Cruz, Mexico. She sailed in the middle of the fleet. On September 14, 1733, a hurricane struck the fleet just as they had spotted the islands of the Florida Keys. The ships were scattered for miles westward. Many of the ships were thrown onto the reef and pounded by the waves and winds of the hurricane. This ship made it through the reefs only to strike the sandy bottom in 18 feet of water on the outside edge of Hawk Channel. She quickly flooded up to her decks. The Herrera hit bottom a short distance away at Matacumbe El Grande, known today as Upper Matacumbe Key. She was also flooded with her decks awash. The crew weathered the storm and all made it safely to dry land on the islands of the Florida Keys.

Salvage operations began as soon as the storm passed. The Spanish were able to recover most of the ship’s cargo and treasure.

A small mound of coral encrusted ballast stones stretching southeast to northwest with a few timbers sticking out of the sand is all you’ll see when diving this shipwreck. It’s sinking into the sand with each passing hurricane and strong storm.

If you plan to dive the Tres Puentes Shipwreck and look for real Florida Keys treasure I suggest that you take along an underwater metal detector and some tool to help you dig or fan away the sand. Artifacts that have been found lately were discovered on the outside area of the ballast stones.



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