Love Shipwrecks? Go Scuba Diving in Roatan!
Roatan has long attracted scuba divers from all over the world. With its close proximity to the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, the second largest barrier reef on the planet, its incredible diving conditions and some of the most economical outfitters found anywhere in the world, this tiny island situated off the north coast of the Central American country of Honduras has punched well above its weight when it comes to scuba diving offerings. Featuring sites suitable for all levels of diving expertise and a wide variety of underwater attractions, Roatan has something for everyone. Are you a beginner diver? An expert? Are you into sea life and coral reefs? Do you love shipwrecks? Go scuba diving in Roatan! Your interests will be covered, and your expectations will be exceeded.
Roatan has more than its fair share of shipwrecks. With a history of naval exploration, seagoing warfare and piracy dating back over 500 years, along with some of the most treacherous waters on the planet, the seabed around Roatan has claimed countless ships. However, these sunken treasures don’t last forever. Hurricanes, gales and other storms conspire with the corrosive seawater to dismantle the leftover hulls in a steady and persistent way. This means, aside from the most durable segments, most of the shipwrecks are completely reclaimed by coral, sponges and the seabed in about 50 years. Consequently, the most popular wrecks for divers aren’t actually very old at all. In this article we’ll concentrate on a few of the most accessible shipwrecks for dive exploration off the coast of Roatan
The Odyssey is the largest deliberate shipwreck in the waters surrounding Roatan. Its 300-foot-long, 85 feet tall and 50 feet wide hull sits on a sandy seabed under 110 feet of water near the scenic village of Mud Hole. Sunk in 2002 to provide an artificial reef for divers, the ship needed an extensive clean up job that hinged on the support of the ship’s owners, nearby resort proprietors, the government and many small dive shops. However, shortly after sinking it was hit by several storms that caused hatch covers to be ripped off and the center section of the hull to collapse.
The Odyssey still remains a massive shipwreck that can’t be fully explored in a single dive. The ship’s stern leans at an angle that gets sharper every year. The cargo hold, which is the size of a football field, leads to the bow which lays at an even sharper angle than the stern. It’s common for divers to see schools of barracuda, grouper, sharks and tuna around the wreck.
The El Aguila
The El Aguila, also known as the Eagle, ran aground off Utila in 1989 where it was abandoned. After being ravaged by storms and undergoing a couple of salvaging attempts, it was decided to deliberately sink her in 1997 to create an artificial reef. It was ripped into three separate pieces by Hurricane Mitch in 1998. This turned out to be a good thing for explorers as the remains of the 230 foot long hull that sit under 100 feet of water off the island ‘s north shore now features several large swim throughs and a lot of extra areas that are inhabited by sea creatures. Divers regularly encounter groupers, snappers and angel fish as well as a bustling eel garden.
Prince Albert’s Wreck
The Prince Albert was the island’s first deliberate sinking intended for scuba divers. Used by Nicaraguan refugees fleeing the civil war, the ship was abandoned in French Harbour until it was deliberately sunk off the south coast in 1985. The 140-foot freighter sits upright in 65 feet of water however it’s still accessible at 35 feet making the shipwreck easily accessible to beginning divers. Its open hatches make penetration easy and allow for plenty of natural light. Divers encounter schools of moray eels, silversides and many other tropical fish. Turtles, nurse sharks, eagle rays and barracuda are also often sighted. As a bonus, very nearby lies the wreck of a downed DC-3 jet airplane which is also explorable.
Ready to start planning your Roatan scuba diving vacation? Ask us about our discounted Dive & Stay packages today.