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Islamorada Diving The Herrera
Wreck For Spanish Treasure

The Herrera Wreck is usually referred to by her owner's name, even though her given name was The Nuestra Senora de Belen y San Antonio de Padua.

This merchant vessel sailed as part of the doomed 1733 Spanish Treasure Fleet.

She's also often referred to as the Figurine Wreck, as her wreck site has produced hundreds of clay animal figurines over the years.

As with others in the Flota, the formidable winds of the fierce 1733 Florida hurricane forced this merchant ship further and further west bringing her closer to the jagged coral reefs.

With her decks flooded, the Herrera eventually grounded off Upper Matecumbe Key on the inshore edge of Hawk Channel, stranded in shallow water.




Wreck Diving Conditions

Luckily her crew was safe, and they were able to remove much of her cargo before losing the ship. Two other ships from the Flota grounded nearby in the shallow water, they were the Chaves and the Tres Puentes.

Today, the remains of the Figurine Wreck can be found lying in turtle grass and sand northeast of her ballast pile. At 18 feet depth, this is a good Florida Keys snorkeling or novice diver site that also supplies the great possibility of discovering a piece of antiquity.

This is good news, as over the years, the discoveries at the Herrera Wreck site have been interesting, and unusual. Cannon balls, pieces of pottery and bowls, animal hides as well as the animal figurines she's famous for have made this a particularly interesting scuba diving Florida Keys site.

If you're planning a dive trip to the Herrera, there are no markers or buoys at the site. However, she's relatively easy to find since she's situated about 2.5 miles offshore of what is now Whale Harbor, Islamorada, south of Snake Creek Bridge.

Whale Harbor Channel Off Islamorada FL

Whale Harbor Channel


So if you're planning on Islamorada snorkeling or diving this wreck, and you're specifically interested in searching for "Spanish treasure", you'll need to be aware of certain things.

First, the Herrera Wreck site is in Hawk Channel. Depending on the tidal currents, this can have a dramatic affect on visibility, where it can range from clear to cloudy.

Not only do the currents impact visibility, a second issue affecting your Islamorada diving site is anchoring. If the current is strong you'll have to ensure your anchor is well set.




At-A-Glance Wreck Diving Description
And GPS Coordinates

Wreck Name
Herrera Wreck aka Figurine Wreck
Location
2.5 miles south of Snake Creek Bridge off Whale Harbor at Islamorada
GPS Coordinates
24 54.330N 80 35.530W
Level
Novice
Depth
18'
Visibility
Good
Dive Site Description
The Herrera Wreck is the Sanctuary Preservation area.
If you're scuba diving Florida Keys, plan to include a dive trip to the Herrera Wreck because you may find figurines. Be careful though, as they will be very fragile. A ballast pile is all that visibly remains of the Herrera
Marine Life
Butterflyfish, parrotfish, blue tang, angelfish, yellowtail, some coral, turtle grass and sand





Diving the Herrera Wreck is one of the Florida Keys diving sites that will give you the greatest chance of finding an interesting piece of history






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