Wrecks intrigue me—I find them fascinating and just love seeing their ghostly shape appear as I descend into the deep upon them. I wonder about their history and how they got there. Were they shipwrecked or purposely sunk to create artificial reefs where corals can grow and sea life can find refuge?
Spotting camouflaged creatures living on the wreck is all part of the fun. Like seeing this crab that blended so well with the wreck that other divers missed it entirely as they eagerly followed the guide inside.
El Aguila Wreck
The El Aguila meaning ‘The Eagle’ in Spanish is one of the top dive sites in Roatan. The 230 ft freighter met its demise off the coast of Utila in 1989. In 1997 it was salvaged, cleaned and towed to the northwest side of Roatan. It was then repurposed and sunk to create an artificial reef. The wreck was resting upright until Hurricane Mitch came and broke it in three in 1998. The wreck sits in 110 feet of water and makes for an interesting dive. It is open for penetration for qualified divers.
A few years back I remember seeing the El Aguila while diving on the reef nearby. It was so tempting but forbidden to us. The divemaster had warned us that it was too deep for our dive plan and profile at the time. He said: “You’re going to see the wreck, and you’re going to be tempted and want to go, but don’t it’s too deep!”
Back then we were open water divers and this is an advanced open water dive site so we couldn’t go but now we have the proper certification and we got to see it up close in all it’s glory with it’s mast reaching toward the surface. If only we could have stayed longer…
After suffering fire damage beyond repair, the ship was donated by Hybur Limited, cleaned and prepped to be transformed into an artificial reef off the coast of Roatan with the help of local dive operators.
The Odyssey was sunk near the north coast of Roatan and rests upright in about 120 feet of water. The mast is at 40 feet below the surface, which makes this site ideal for a multi-level dive plan. The 300-foot freighter is impressive and one really needs multiple dives to see it all. Divers dubbed it as one of the largest wrecks in the Caribbean! The sheer size of it leaves one breathless!
While it’s open for penetration, to explore the inside, wreck dive certification is recommended. There was plenty to see on the exterior and as I was exploring the outside the multiple decks reminded me of a small cruise ship. Down at 100 feet your air is also compressed and goes much quicker! There was so much to see but so little time!
The Odyssey is covered with corals but oddly we didn’t see a lot of sea life, perhaps the fish were hiding inside? Or maybe the recent Tropical Storm Nate displaced them? Regardless, it was an amazing dive and I would love to dive this site again given the chance!
Fortunately for us these wrecks were located just a stone’s throw from our dive resort and both were fascinating and great dives. Roatan’s reefs are vibrant with colorful coral formations and full of sea creatures from the tiniest to the largest. Here are a few of them.
For more pictures of these fascinating creatures please have a look at our Life on the Reef Gallery