URCA DE LIMA
Average Depth: 10 ft.
Max Depth: 15 ft.
The Urca De Lima / Santísima Trinidad is a wooden-hulled sailing ship that was part of a Spanish plate flota (fleet) sunk by a hurricane off the east coast of Florida in 1715. A flat-bottomed and round-bellied ship, the vessel was ideal for transporting goods across the Atlantic because of its large cargo capacity.
The 11 vessels of the merchant convoy were traveling from Havana, Cuba, to Spain loaded with products from Mexico and Manila, including vanilla, chocolate and incense. While there was no royal treasure on the boat, the Urca De Lima did contain private chests of silver. After it was grounded by the storm, the Urca De Lima was one of the first vessels to be salvaged by the Spanish, who subsequently burned the hull down to the waterline to hide its location from English freebooters. The Urca De Lima was rediscovered in 1928. For the next half century the wreck was heavily salvaged. In the 1980s, the state of Florida stopped issuing salvage permits on the Urca De Lima and opened the wreck to the public as the state’s first Underwater Archaeological Preserve.
Today, the wreck is marked by an anchor bouy about 1400 feet off the beach at a 45 deg NE angle from the end of the path to the ocean at Bauman. It’s in 10 to 15 feet of water. A plaque commemorating the disaster is found on the mooring anchor. Ballast stones are scattered all around and many tropicals make their home here. If you look closely, you can make out the grain of the wood timbers and planks in the bottom.
Five replica cannons have been placed near the wreck to enhance the area. The best time to visit is during summer months when seas are calm and visibility peaks at 50 feet. Typically, there is no current and waters generally average in the 80Fs.
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