Diving the Ken Vitale Memorial (Tracy Wreck)

This was our first time out after Hurricane Irma, and you never know what can happen when such a massive force of nature comes barreling through the neighborhood. Nothing is safe, not on land or underwater. We’d heard stories of wrecks split in half, overturned, or moved a fair bit after the effects of prior hurricanes. Even with a miss from subsequent hurricanes Lee and Maria there have been reports of all kinds of rip currents and strong weather around our local dive sites.

There was one report of an ancient anchor being uncovered after being buried in the sand for decades, so you never know what you might find. Read the story here

Our outing was to the Tracy Wreck just off the coast of Fort Lauderdale. This 132 ft oil rig supply boat sunk in 1999 after being caught drug smuggling has been made into a tribute to a well known dive instructor (Ken Vitale) who died here. At 70 ft max this wreck is a great dive for open water divers, and the wreck has many wide openings, which can easily be penetrated for those certified to do so. The wreck is upright, and there is a lot of growth. The colors are stunning when hit with your dive light or a camera strobe.

Goliath Grouper  inside the Tracy Wreck
Colorful Corals on Tracy Wreck

We happened to see a Goliath grouper making this into a home and he didn’t seem to mind the divers delighted to meet him and taking his picture during the dive. Our crew from the American Dream II told us that the hurricane had knocked the back wall off the stern of the boat and that parts of it were down in the sand and others carried off.  Amazing to think of those kinds of forces 70 ft under the sea during the hurricane.

Friendly Goliath Grouper

Our second dive was to a shallow reef close by where we saw some nice rockfish, hogfish, cowfish, and a variety of other creatures. It was great to be back in the water and it was a sign that things were finally getting back to normal after the storms. We were impressed with the visibility after the weather and currents we’d been having and while there were lots of bits floating by making it hard to get good pictures, it was a great wreck to visit and a great crew.  We will definitely come back when seas have calmed down a little.

Cute little porcupinefish emerging from his hideout

Prior to the storm we had also gone to see the McAllister wreck which is also close by to Ft Lauderdale,  with the storm preparations and clean-up we did not write up a full post but you can see more information on the wreck in our growing catalog of dive sites.

Also be sure to see our photo gallery Life on the Reef

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