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The Ivory Wreck, A Historical
Reminder Of Slavery Horrors

The Ivory Wreck is one of the more notorious Florida Keys shipwrecks. Filled with a tainted past she's also a reminder of days not yet forgotten.

Believed to be a slave ship, the identity of this schooner which sank in 1853 is still unknown.

A marked cannon bearing the engraving JN 170 1/11 24 was found at the Florida shipwreck site, but this has not yet helped determine the ship's name.

When the Ivory Wreck was discovered, divers also found 12 elephant tusks ranging in length from 4 to 6 feet.

Other shipwreck artifacts included silver bars, bars of iron, pewter spoons, coins, metal buttons, a heavy anchor, cannon balls and musket shot.

However, the unfortunate discovery which confirmed she was a slaver, were the leg irons and brass bowls, indicative of what was typical on a slave ship.

Located south of Vaca Key between Delta Shoal and Sombrero Reef and Light, this slave ship rests in about 15 feet of water.

Scuba Diving Florida Keys At ivory Wreck
Courtesy of YouTube and James Michon

Wreck Diving Conditions

The ledges and sandy channels around this sunken slave ship are filled with sea grasses, a variety of stony and gorgonian coral and plenty of fish.

The clear water makes this a great spot for anyone Florida Keys snorkeling and for novice divers exploring the few remains that are left of this ship.

There's also a 2 foot tall cement monument which was erected in honor of the slaves who died chained together. This monument, along with the numerous tropical fish and clear water, make this a popular underwater photography spot.

At-A-Glance Wreck Diving Description
and GPS Coordinates

Wreck Name
Also called Ivory Coast Wreck - actual name is unknown. Name derived from elephant tusks and leg irons found at site in the 1960's. Most likely a slave ship due to recovered artifacts
Just south of Vaca Key, 1.5 miles east-northeast of Sombrero Lighthouse and at west end of Delta Shoals, near Delta Shoal barge
GPS Coordinates
24 37.780N 81 05.490W (coordinates are for Delta Shoal Barge)
Dive Site Description
Ballast is mostly what remains. Scattered over the wreck area they're mostly buried under silt. Good dive and snorkel site
Marine Life
Bluehead, surgeonfish, angelfish, grunts, parrotfish, nurse shark, squirrelfish, blue tang, barracuda, spiny lobster, coral, yellowtail

The combination of this slave ship's history and abundant marine life make this a worthwhile destination for anyone scuba diving Florida Keys in the Marathon area.

The fact that she's within easy reach of Delta Shoal, Delta Shoal Barge, Sombrero Reef and Light, and close enough to the North America Shipwreck also makes for a full day of fun, Marathon diving.

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Local Weather Zip Codes

Key Largo - 33037
Marathon - 33050
Key West - 33040