Spiegel Grove reaches its 10th year
May 18, 2012 by Mark
The 10th anniversary of Spiegel Grove; a retired ship from the Navy located at Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary in Largo, Florida, was celebrated by divers this week. The divers most likely used flyer printing and poster printing to make shipwreck enthusiasts and local businesses aware of the event so as to draw as many participants as possible.
A ceremonial dive took place, in which divers went from the former 510-foot Navy landing ship dock which has now been converted a large, artificial reef situated six miles off the coast of Key Largo. The divers also placed the ashes of Tom Maher on the ship. Maher, who was an ardent admirer of the Sanctuary and a researcher who compiled data on Spiegel Grove, suffered a fatal heart attack last year and had requested that his ashes be strewn on the wreck.
According to Lad Atkins of the Reef Environmental Foundation, before the Spiegel Grove sunk to the bottom, the area was sandy with a flat bottom. It had no structure and no complexity of coral on it. With this 500-foot-plus steel structure now on the body of the waters, there has been an opportunity for marine life and coral to grow.
With the conversion of the Spiegel Grove into an artificial reef, it has become a major tourist attraction in the area, bringing in more than $25 million over the past 10 years according to reports from officials of the Key Largo Chamber of Commerce. The Board Chair of the Chamber, Russ Yagal, revealed that Key Largo already has a reputation as the dive capital of the world and its name has been furthered in this area by the addition of the Spiegel Grove.