There are several world class ship wrecks in this area of Spain dating from WW1 and 2 which are heavily encrusted in marine corals and large red and black gorgonians on the deeper wrecks. Because of the size of some of the wrecks they offer excellent penetration dives which are extremely interesting to navigate through cargo holds, walkways and different levels and quarters. You can find some big conger eels and lots of marine life living in and around these areas.
The area of la Manga and cartagena date back over 3000 years and may artifacts have been found in the area from ancient ship wrecks. we have one dive from shore where you can see ancient anchors and cannons which is yet to be discovered more and detailed.
This article also tells how a Phoenician wreck was discovered a few years back just off the coast of la Manga dated approximately 2500 years ago as well as other roman wrecks in the area.
ship wrecks : The Isla Gomera/ El Naranjito.
More commonly known as El Naranjito due to its final, fatal cargo- thousands of oranges. These violently shifted in a storm causing the boat to list & take on water whilst the majority of the crew swam to the shore the Isla Gomera slowly slipped under the sea, even losing its cargo, which littered local shores for weeks to come. A very nice wreck dive and some good penetration areas around the engine room which is home to some big conger eels.
Depth 28- 45m.
see video of el naranjito here…
ship wrecks : Lilla/ Carbonero.
The Italian Steamship Lilla was torpedoed & sank by a German submarine approximately 10 kilometers east of Thomas Mastre Port along La Manga Strip on the 13th of October 1917. The first name of this ship was the Thordisa & later changed its name to Lilla. The wreck lies upright on a sand bottom with a maximum depth of 45 metres & the deck lies at approximately 35 meters so makes a great Nitrox Dive.
The wreck is split in two near to the engine room which you can swim through & has lots of growth & life on due to the amount of time it has been sank. You can find some big conger eels living in the engine room, lots of jacks & comon dentex feeding off smaller shoals & sometimes sun fish on the ascent line! We named this wreck due to the cargo it was carrying of coal which in Spanish is Carbonero .Due to its 10 km distance from shore the visibility is usually 25 meters or more…
Depth range: 35-45 meters
Level: Advanced with Deep diver specialty or tec diver
Ship Wrecks : The CBA Tug and Harrier Jet. (cartagena)
This Tug boat was sank in the 1950’s by the navy for training of their divers. It is 20m in long and 4m wide and has some areas for light penetration into the wreck. Swim along the port side to the bow of the ship and swim 20m off to the left you will come to the harrier jet fuselage also sank by the navy approximately 15 years ago on a sandy seabed. This is the deepest point of the dive and is very interesting to look in the jets engine and large intakes that confirm the harrier jet characteristics. At the cockpit you can sit inside which makes a great photo from in front of the jet.
Swim back along the jet to the tail and usually you can see the bow of the wreck, continue along the starboard side of the wreck where you can penetrate the holds and also the bridge. And finish the dive by swimming on top of the bridge and up the mooring to make a safety stop before surfacing.
Common marine life: Large scorpion fish, moray eels, nudibranch and sea bream.
Visibility: 8- 20m
Min depth: 15m
Max depth: 22m
Experience level: Open water
Conditions: Mainly calm with small waves.
ship wrecks : The Turia and Ulla.
On Wednesday 28thJ uly 1999 2 new wrecks appeared at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea between Cabo de Palos & Isla Grosa. These new wrecks were first used as minesweepers for the US Navy in the 1950 s & was decommissioned, stripped & cleaned ready for their final role as a home for both divers and fish.
The wrecks lie 300 metres apart on the sloping seabed, with their bow at around 35m and stern at some 31m. The top of the bridge of the Turia was damaged during the sinking and now lies on the bed off the ships port side. This leaves the highest point at a depth of around 21/22m. The Ulla is relatively in tact.
Already the shelter provided by the wrecks has attracted lots of small schooling fish (Anchovies, Sardines etc.), which have in turn attracted larger predatory fish such as Mackerel and larger Bream. And as time goes on a wider range of fish have been attracted to the site, including visits by a solitary 2m long Sunfish.
Situated in a relatively sheltered position, with good visibility (12m-30m)
Depth range: 28-35 meters
ship wrecks : SS Stanfield
Buit in the year 1899 by Thompson, J.L, former owners:
Co Ltd (J.Brown), Liverpool; 1899 under the name “Stanfield” ;
After the report in the New York Times it was torpedoed by a German submarine on 26th june 1916 and sank just outside of the Islas Hormigas Marine reserve in a depth of 62 metres. The 120 meter long wreck lies upright and must have sunk and impacted the sandy bottom bow first as there is lots of damage to the bow as it is split open and can be penetrated into 3 different level decks which continue into hold 1 of the ship. It is a heavily encrusted wreck and has the torpedo blast area on the port side just behind hold 1 which has split the wreck in two, in this area you can find some fantastic red and black gorgonians. As you continue along the top deck at 45 meters you pass another hold and then reach the captains deck which is a very interesting area to penetrate. Swimming toward the stern there is another 2 cargo holds and a chimney where there is a spare propeller lying on deck. As you swim to the very stern swim down to the huge propeller which is a fantastic sight to see.Because of its depth this wreck is only recommended to dive as a technical dive only and is hard to cover in one dive.
Depth: 45-62 meters
Level: Technical dive with decompression
Bajo de Fuera or Piedra de Vapor
Due to its distance from shore but shallow depth, has been a fatal trap for shipping throughout the centuries. The slopes of the pinnacle are littered with debris from at least 4 large ships. The Nord America sank in 1883, was an Italian freighter carrying iron ingots. The Minerva was pushed onto the rocks in a huge storm around 1899. The most famous wreck is the Sirio, an overloaded Italian liner taking around 1000 immigrants to the U.S.A, which sank with the loss of nearly 500 on the 4th of August 1906. Local fishermen rescued the rest. This site is highly protected & only a handful of divers are lucky to dive here each year.
(This dive site needs prior approval from authorities to dive)
Depth: 3-70 meters
Level: advanced to 30 meters or Technical dive with decompression
ship wrecks : El Vapor or El Sama
This old wreck was discovered in Summer 2008. by Volker Borchert & the Deep Impact Explorers.It is a very old steam ship lying upright on the sea bed at a max depth of 49m. We are still exploring this wreck & trying to get more information on it, like the name or what the cargo was! This wreck is a good training site for Decompression or any kind of Technical dive courses.