El Condesito

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History
Fate: Sank 1 January 1972
Status: Wreck
General characteristics
Length: ~30m

El Condesito is a cargo ship that sank on 1 January 1972 near Las Galletas on the south coast of Tenerife in the Canary Islands and is now a well known recreational dive site. The ship was transporting cement for the construction of Los Cristianos.[1]

Last voyage[edit]

The ship ran aground about 50 meters (55 yards; 165 feet) from where the Punta Rasca Lighthouse later was constructed. No lives were lost.[2] The incident prompted the construction of the Punta Rasca Lighthouse three years later.[3][4]

There are conflicting accounts of the last voyage. Some sources state that the vessel sank on 25 December 1971,[2] while others claim it was on 1 January 1972.[3] Some sources suggest that the sinking was caused by the captain being drunk[2] or that the crew went below deck to drink beer to celebrate either Christmas or the New Year, leaving the vessel on autopilot[citation needed]. Other sources suggest El Condesito suffered engine trouble during a storm.[3]

Recreational dive site[edit]

The ship now lies in around 18 m (59 ft) of water, with the deepest point at 21 m (69 ft) and its highest point at 6 m (20 ft). Visibility can be in excess of 35 m (115 ft).

Until recently the hull, engine room and cabin were intact with only the bow having been torn away. However, the wreck is increasingly unstable but can still be penetrated from many entry points. Access is easy from the forward hold swimming through the remains of the cargo. The bags of cement she was carrying have now solidified into blocks, and all around the site are white solid "stones" that are actually the now-solidified bags of cement. The dive is suitable for all levels of divers.

The wreck is home to a family of trumpetfish and octopus, with the top of the wreck surrounded by sardines. Trumpetfish well over a metre (3.28 feet) in length are frequently found around the propeller. It is not uncommon to spot barracuda, red sea stars, rays, and eels within the wreck.

There is a 36 m (118 ft) drop-off nearby which is often dived by more experienced divers to see the famous black coral before ascending to El Condesito to "off-gas".

References[edit]

  1. ^ "El Condesito:12-20 meters" at Diving Tenerife Archived May 9, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ a b c Michael Hopkins, "El Condesito - Tenerife Dive Wreck " Tenerife Times 1 December 2006
  3. ^ a b c "Condesito" at dive-international.net
  4. ^ Scuba Diving in Tenerife at divesitedirectory.co.uk

External links[edit]