Snorkling Over A Drug Shipwreck.

Trip Start Feb 01, 2005
Trip End Dec 31, 2020

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MS Noordam

Flag of Virgin Islands US  , St. Thomas,
Tuesday, December 4, 2012

When we saw a tour that included a snorkel over a shipwreck in the St. Thomas part of the U.S. Virgin Islands, we were quick to sign up. It turns out this shipwreck, the "Cartanza Senora" has a story that includes illicit cargo and powerful hurricanes.

The Cartanza was a 190 foot freighter that was originally used to transport goods during World War II. After the war, she served as an agricultural freighter transporting products from South America up the Caribbean island chain. Sometime in the 1970s, however, it seems that she added some products to her cargo that weren't completely legal (?!). During one trip to St. Thomas in the late 1970s, the Cartanza was abandoned by her captain and crew for reasons that aren’t altogether clear. Legend has it that the crew was warned that they were about to be boarded by the Coast Guard, so they took their illicit cargo and themselves off by tenders and scuttled the ship

It became a dive wreck, then, in the 80's Hurricane Hugo rolled this massive 190 ft ship up out of 85 feet of water, broke it into three pieces, and left it in Shipwreck Cove where it is today. The two piece's we snorkelled over now sit in about 45 feet of water, and are home to a wide variety of fish and marine life.

It was a great afternoon sailing on the Castaway Girl and it felt good to be snorkelling again. The rum punches hit the spot on the way home and boosted the camaraderie amongst the crew and passengers.

We also had an option for St. Thomas of a day trip to the British Virgin Islands to see a dolphin interaction. The the shipwreck snorkel won out however when we learned they still allow touching of the dolphins and also quite a bit of our tour time would have involved passport control in and out of the British Virgin Islands. Next we have a full day at sea as we steam towards the Bahamas.

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