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Belzona Barge, Miami-Dade

a trumpet fish camouflage itself next to a railing on the Belzona Barge
a trumpet fish camouflage itself next to a railing on the Belzona Barge
© 2010 Robin V. Burr

Chances are if you received your certification in Miami, you dived The Belzona Barge on your third dive. This 115 foot steel barge was originally sunk in 72FT of water, just north of the South Seas, in August of 1991. However, in August of 1992, Hurricane Andrew moved her to only about 40 feet of water.

Like most of the barges, it inverted when it was blown up by the Miami Bomb Squad, and rests upside down on the bottom. The wreck is extremely dark inside and it is not a good idea to try to penetrate it, but there is a great deal of surface area to explore. The top of the wreck, which is really the bottom of the hull, is fully covered with soft corals and the flowing gorgonians constantly waving in the current, make the wreck look more like a coral reef than a rusty old vessel.

Located within fairly easy swimming distance of the Belzona Barge (80 feet to the south) is the Belzona Two, a 90 foot steel tug boat sunk in February of 1991 which sits in about 60 feet of water. Both these wrecks are surrounded by sand and a set of rebar leads you from one to the next.

In the winter, you will frequently see a school of tarpon swimming around these wrecks. They are large, shiny and quite curious, often just noticable on the verge of your visibility.

Robin V. Burr, Scuba Examiner
Personal Scuba Instruction
Miami, Florida USA

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