Some who follow the blog are familiar with the wreck of the Benwood as one of the artificial reefs in Key Largo. This is what is referred to as a “natural artificial” reef as opposed to a planned one. All shipwecks become artificial reefs since the coral polyps that move through the water don’t care what they affix to as long as the surface will support the beginning of the colony. The same is true for small fish seeking shelter – a shipwreck is no different to them than a series of rocks. The Benwood was a freighter during WW II and was running under blackout conditions as was required. Unfortunately when two vessels in close proximity are under blackout conditions, collisions can occur. They salvaged as much as possible, but couldn’t save the ship. As happens, with more than 70 years underwater, storms have also battered the wreckage and scattered it even more. However, there is a large section still together and lots of pieces, to include the anchor, spread around. It is a shallow wreck at only 30-42 feet deep. There is always plenty of marine life around, usually multiple schools of fish and you never know what else you’ll see.
In finally getting out to dive again, it didn’t disappoint the other day. Hubby didn’t want to jinx it, but apparently a few months ago a sea turtle took up residence. I haven’t seen a turtle in ages and sure enough he was on the wreck. He seems to be quite comfortable being around divers. He hung around for a while, surfaced for air, and then came back again. He passed right in front of us, not the least bit concerned. They are always fun to watch, especially when they linger. Another fish I hadn’t see in a long time was a puffer and they really do tend to dart off. This one though didn’t and I got a nice long look at it. A very pleasant dive on the Benwood.
This photo was taken some time ago, but they do rather all look alike.