U.S.S. SPIEGEL GROVE, Florida Keys

Maximum Depth: 130 feet
  Minimum Depth: ~ 45 feet  

The USS Spiegel Grove (LSD-32), known locally simply as The Spiegel, was a Thomaston-class dock landing ship of the United States Navy constructed in September 1954. At the time of its sinking as an artificial reef in May of 2002, the 510-foot-long and 85-foot-wide Spiegel Grove, was the largest deliberately placed artificial reef in the world.

Her top deck is about 60 feet below the water’s surface. The vessel’s hull, which is a labyrinth inside, is as much as 135 feet under water. It is considered an advanced wreck diving site, with all of its primary structure at 60 feet or deeper and frequent strong currents across the site.

Unlike her younger cousin, the USNS Vandenberg, the Spiegel Grove is a fully developed reef ecosystem. Thick coral covers the huge cranes and gun mounts and carpets the decks, and numerous reef creatures, from queen angelfish to barracuda, inhabit the nooks and crannies of the vessel.

As the pioneer of Florida shipwrecks, and artificial reef ecosystems of its kind throughout the world, the USS Spiegel Grove continues to draw the attention and fascination of both local and visiting divers. Some would say that because of the sheer size of the structure, even 100 dives would not be enough to completely explore it. Strong currents also run across her decks, presenting a challenge even to considerably experienced divers. All these factors, coupled with the beauty that its ecosystem holds, make exploring the Spiegel Grove a thrilling and truly memorable experience.

To find out which dive charter boats are going to visit this site, and others like it, visit Scuba Schedules and navigate to either the Upper Keys scuba diving region, or the Lower Keys scuba diving region.

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