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Diving Adolphus Busch Sr Is A High Octane Advanced Key West Dive
The Adolphus Busch Sr is without question, one of the premier Florida Keys wrecks attracting advanced and technical divers scuba diving Florida Keys.
An added bonus is that this Florida Keys wreck dive has a close proximity to one of the world's top diving and snorkel sites - Looe Key Reef.
This makes wreck diving this artificial reef the perfect first dive trip before polishing off the day with a more relaxing second dive trip at Looe Key or nearby American Shoal.
This short distance freighter was built in Scotland in 1951, and has served under different flags and names including London, Topsail Star, and Windsor Trader.
She also had a short stint as a prop in a movie when she was in the 1957 movie, "Fire Down Under."
However, the fate of this freighter changed in 1998 when divers from a non-profit group called the Florida Marine Sanctuaries, Inc., decided to purchase a ship to serve as a local artificial reef. Their search eventually led them to Port-au-Prince, Haiti where The Ocean Alley was located.
Adolphus Busch Sr., another avid diver in the area, provided the significant financial assistance they needed to complete their transaction. In tribute to him and his brewing company, the ship's name was then changed to bear his.
Wreck Diving Adolphus Busch Courtesy of YouTube and GeoMeoMy
Adolphus Busch Sr. Wreck Diving Conditions
This 210' freighter now rests in an upright position with a wreck dive depth of 110 feet. The deck and wheelhouse are found at about 80 - 100 feet, and the ship's tower at 40 feet. The ships bow and stern anchors are embedded into the ground to help keep her stabilized, a Monroe County and NOAA requirement. Plus the weight of her frame has settled the keel deep into the soft sand.
The pristine condition you'll find her in, is largely due to the fact that she sits in protected Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary water. Since this was to be her final destination, she needed to be properly prepared for her final duty.
Towards that end, this Florida Keys wreck was carefully cleaned and her hatches and portholes were removed. Everything else was left to increase wreck dive interest. and to enhance marine life attraction, growth and development. In fact, a polishing brush is still positioned near her name plate.
When she was towed out to her final resting place, dynamite wasn't used to sink her because she was in protected water. Instead, 12 holes were cut into the hull, her compartments were flooded, and she settled into her final position at 12:30 p.m., December 5, 1998.
The dive quality of this Florida wreck is superior because it lacks the rips and tears that are common when detonation is used. The holes that were cut into her were planned, marked, and cleanly made. The fact that they're purposeful cuts makes them excellent swim holes, and when diving the wreck it's easy to pass through them on exploratory swims.
Not only is this one of the more outstanding Florida Keys scuba diving sites in terms of ship integrity, it has also fulfilled it's mission by becoming a perfect habitat for marine life.
Sitting at a deeper depth with a large cavernous interior, the cave like atmosphere is favored by many deep dwelling, lair loving Florida Keys fish, including goliath grouper, and moray eel.
Not only will you see those saltwater fish who prefer to ambush their prey, you'll encounter a vast assortment of tropical fish and game fish, and many of these will be larger than what you'll find at the shallower Key West dive sites.
At-A-Glance Wreck Diving Description and GPS Coordinates
Adolphus Busch Sr., 210' Island Freighter Location
6 miles SW of Pine Key, or 3 miles W of Looe Key Reef half way between Looe Key & American Shoal GPS Co-ordinates
24 31-841N 081 27-688W Markers
4 mooring buoys Level
Technical or Advanced open water certification Depth
Good Dive Site Description
The ship's tower comes within 40' of the surface. 12 large holes have been cut in the ship making for great swim throughs for divers. The ship is intact and in upright position Marine Life
Large goliath grouper, moray eels, cleaner shrimp, rays, all varieties of tropicals including angelfish and parrotfish, snook, spanish mackerel, cero mackerel, barracuda, grunts, jacks, tarpon,ocean sponges and coral
Without question, wreck diving is one of the most exhilarating of experiences. The possibilities of what may be lurking around that next corner keeps the adrenalin pumping.
However, at most diving sites, one important piece of the dive puzzle always seems to be missing. Not so at the Adolphus Busch Sr. Here you have a deep dive, a large vessel in pristine condition, and a vast amount of marine life. It doesn't get any better than that on a diving holiday.
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