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2011 - Bahamas
Paradise Next Door
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Blissful SCUBA Diving
Bonaire
2003
Stairwell Down Down Down
~ Stairwell Down Down Down ~
Hilma Hooker
Underwater Ruins
Goin' Down on the Hilma Hooker. It's just fun to say isn't it? We read that this wreck was located at around 100 feet, so we began finning our way to it, keeping an eye on our depth gauges. For no apparent reason, we imagined the Hilma Hooker had sunk upright and were searching the ocean floor for the 240' long deck. I happened to look forward, and noticed that we were just about ready to smack head first right into the keel. With its huge gray bottom lying toward shore, it blended right into the deep blue sea.

Her demise was tied to the Bahamian drug-running era of the 80s. Already under surveillance by drug enforcement agencies, she was towed to the Town Pier at Kralendijk due to engine problems. When the local authorities boarded the ship for an inspection, the captain couldn't produce any of the required document, so both ship and crew were detained. Eventually, a false bulkhead holding 25,000 lb. of marijuana was discovered.

Tarpon
~ Tarpon ~
No One Loved the Hooker Then …

Many months passed while the authorities searched for the ship's owners, and general neglect took its toll. Eventually, she began to take on water and there were concerns that she would sink at the dock, disrupting shipments of good to the island. So the old girl was towed to an anchorage, where her many leaks caused a noticeable list. On September 12, 1984, her lower portholes were at sea level, and at 9:08 AM she slipped down into the deep blue sea.

…But the Sea Life Loves Her Now

A school of very large Tarpon hovered around the site while we dove on her. Wrecks always give me the willies, so I'm sure the way they floated like motionless ghost, with eerie silver eyes was not really intended to be so ominous. I did envy their perfect buoyancy though.

Best of all, the reef had taken a strong hold and was growing profusely, filling in every nook and cranny. I think it's somewhat poignant that this vessel, so abused, unwanted, and abandoned has, in its final resting place been embraced within the beauty of the underwater world.