Snorkel Or Go Key Largo Wreck Diving At Almiranta El Gallo Indiano
The Almiranta El Gallo Indiano (translated to Cock of the Indies) was second in command and guarded the rear of the ill fated 1733 Spanish Treasure Fleet.
Even though she was a larger vessel, she was unable to withstand the strong wind and powerful waves of the 1733 Florida Hurricane.
On July 15, the Almiranta grounded in 14 feet of water, along the inner edge of Hawk Channel at the seaward end of Channel #5 between Craig Key and Long Key.
Her holds completely flooded, 1 soldier, 2 sailors, and 1 child were unable to escape the waters and died.
The Vice-Flagship was a 60 gun galleon captained by Don Bernadino de Maturana. She carried not only armaments but boxes of silver coins, copper slabs, dyes such as cochineal and indigo, ceramics and other treasures.
Coral And Fish Schooling Around Wreck Site
Since the Almiranta El Gallo Indiano was not refloatable, as soon as the Florida Keys hurricane was over, salvage efforts began which included removing many of her fittings. Her cargo was also unloaded, however the valuable dyes she carried had suffered water damage. Those that could be rescued were sun dried and their value was retained.
The amount of King's silver she carried was a small fortune and was all accounted for. In total 1809 boxes of silver coin and bars were saved, and 25 boxes of fabricated silver were removed from The Cock of the Indies. Out of the 517 slabs of copper she carried, 438 slabs were initially found.
Between her immediate salvage efforts, those that came centuries later, and the passing and eroding of time, not much is left of this once majestic Spanish treasure ship.
Unlike some of the other ships in the Flota, she doesn't sit on a soft sandy bottom. The Almiranta rests on a hard bottom that is continually washed by the channel tide. Anyone who's in been diving Key Largo at this shipwreck site, needs to be aware that the current can be strong.
The wreck site itself consists of a large ballast pile which stretches about 140 feet long by 100 feet wide. The different sized stones that made up her ballast have been washed smoothed by the constant current.
Beneath this pile are the remainder of the timber used to build her keel and a more obvious portion rests in the middle of the ballast pile.
At-A-Glance Wreck Diving Description
And GPS Coordinates
Almiranta El Gallo Indiano
Offshore of Layton in Hawk Channel near Channel #5 between Craig Key and Long Key
24 48.633N 80 45.932W
Novice and snorkel
Wreck Diving Description
Current can be strong. Various sizes of stone ballast with a portion of the keel obvious in the middle of the pile
Hard and soft
angelfish, ocean sponges, spiny lobster,
Stony and gorgonian coral can be found around the Almiranta El Gallo Indiano wreck site, plus many different species of tropical and game fish inhabit the water.
The water is usually clear so this can be a good Key Largo scuba diving spot for underwater photography. It's also a good Florida Keys snorkeling site or a second, even third Key Largo diving choice after visiting
San Pedro Underwater Archaeological Preserve,
or the El Lerri
which is even closer.