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Florida Keys - Bibb and Duane

The Duane Wreck

Intentionally sunk for use as an artificial reef in 1987 (alongside her sister ship Bibb), the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Duane lies upright on a sandy bottom in 125 feet of water off Molasses Reef in the Upper Florida Keys.

The following is quoted straight from the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary webpage http://www.fknms.nos.noaa.gov/sanctuary_resources/shipwreck_trail/duane.html

“The Duane was built in 1936 at the U.S. Naval Yard in Philadelphia. She was a 327-foot long Treasury Class Cutter, one of seven such vessels, and was named for William J. Duane, Secretary of the Treasury under Andrew Jackson. She had various assignments before being sent to the Atlantic in 1941, where she eventually served with the U.S. Atlantic Fleet. Her service included an impressive wartime and peacetime record. On April 17, 1943, she and her sister ship, the Spencer, sank the German U-Boat U-77. She participated in four rescues at sea, picking up a total of 346 survivors. In 1980 she was an escort vessel for thousands of Cuban refugees coming to the United States. Her last assignments included Search and Rescue work and Drug Enforcement.”

She has been underwater for close to 20 years and it is beginning to show with some interesting sponge growth on her mast and railings as well as the amount of life it attracts. We encountered a little stingray off the wreck and close to the bottom as well as very diver friendly turtle. He was so friendly; I had to scramble out of his way after taking couple of shots.

Both Duane and Bibb are reportedly in the area that is known for its swift and unpredictable currents. We must have lucked out as we experienced zero to barely noticeable current on both of these wrecks.

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The Bibb

Sister ship of the Duane, Bibb was also sunk in 1987 as part of artificial reef program. Unlike Duane, which is upright, Bibb landed on its starboard side, which in my opinion, makes it a more interesting dive. Lots of growth and marine life on the Bibb as well.


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