Date(s) - 11/03/2017
10:30 am - 5:00 pm
Categories No Categories
The USS Spiegel Grove is the flag ship of all wreck dives in the Florida Keys. She is designated LSD-32 or Landing Ship Dock 32. She was named after the Ohio Home of President Rutherford B. Hayes.
The Spiegel Grove was launched in 1956. She is 510ft long with an 84ft beam, making her one of the largest artificial reefs in the world. Her main function was to carry a large contingent of US Marines and beach assault vehicles that could be launched in any war zone in the world. She also carried helicopters with a large helipad that covered the huge well deck. She carried four anti-aircraft batteries for protection.
The USS Spiegel Grove’s major claim to fame is that she carried and delivered many tons of food and medical supplies to several African countries on two separate Humanitarian missions in the 1960’s. This is when she earned the nickname “Top Dog”. The Spiegel Grove served in the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and the Mediterranean Sea.
The sinking of the Spiegel Grove in 2001 is a story unto its own. After completing the environmental cleaning she was towed to Key Largo for the final preparation. On the very day of her scheduled sinking she went down four to five hours prematurely and rolled upside down resting on the stern side of the heli-pad at 130ft and her bow sticking out of the water about 65ft. The Key Largo Community hired a salvage company to raise her stern back to the surface and rolled her onto her starboard side. She remained on her side for three years when Hurricane Dennis came by and stood her upright.
With all of the turning and rolling, the heli-pad broke off and is lying off to the side in the sand. Sometime in her career one of the anti-aircraft batteries wash removed but there are still three remaining. Most divers do not recognize the batteries because the barrels were removed during the cleaning process. When you approach the gun emplacement you will see two very large springs, these are the recoil springs of the gun. The Spiegel Grove’s deck is now at 100ft with the top of the superstructure at 65ft. The huge size of the Spiegel Grove will require divers to do approximately six dives to circumnavigate her one time. The divers will really enjoy the crane area. The top of each crane is at 65ft. with lots of places for marine life to hide out. The sinking committee saw fit to cut additional openings in the Spiegel Grove and added permanent lines inside providing divers easy access to some interior sections of the ship with multiple exists along the way. There really is so much to see on the exterior of the ship that there is no need to penetrate the interior. Penetration beyond these areas is dangerous and highly discouraged.
This dive is an advanced level dive. All dive operators require either and Advanced Dive Certification with recent diving experience or to be able to show two eighty foot or deeper dives in your log book within the last 12 months. You can also hire one of Key Largo’s experienced dive Instructors or Dive Masters to take you on a guided dive. You should arrange a minimum of one week in advance of your trip. The professional dive operators of Key Largo also require that divers own an Upper Keys Artificial Reef Medallion. This $10.00 medallion, good for each calendar year goes toward the debt that the community has on the wreck. Many Dive Operators require you to have this Medallion to dive on any of the Key Largo artificial reefs. The Artificial reef committee also offers a $250.00 life time medallion. The perks of this is that you do not have to purchase any of the annual medallions and your name gets molded onto a Bronze Plague that is or will be mounted permanently on the Spiegel Grove.
Bookings are closed for this event.