The Black Bart
Panama City, Florida
June 1-2, 1996
Dive - Site..................Depth - Time
On the first of June I found myself in Panama City, Florida. I had gone down for just a few days in the sun but I was able to connect up with a few other divers from Atlanta.
Meeting at the Panama City Dive Center, we headed out to our site for the day; a sunken freighter named the Black Bart. It turned out that most of the people on the boat were from Atlanta; most of whom were students making their first open water dives.
The Black Bart sits in about 90 feet of water; the top of the wheelhouse is at 50 feet. Visibility was not great; around 20-30 feet. The divemaster told us that the viz had not completely recovered since hurricane Opal had come through several months before. The boat tied off to the railing and the students went through their routines on the wheelhouse while the rest of us swam around.
Most of the windows and doors have been removed, along with the deck hatches and most fittings. Some of the ladders and the like are still in place. Otherwise, the wreck is upright and in very good shape with some growth and numerous urchins covering the deck. The pilot house is filled with fish and fish swarm all around the site. I swam down into one of the open deck hatches but declined to enter the wreck.
I had taken my Aquashot along with me and attempted to take some pictures of the wreck. Unfortunately, I had no flash and so only a few shots were able to be developed and none of them were very impressive.
During our surface interval another boat tied up and another group of divers entered the water. After they left, we made our second dive. It was about the same as the first except this time I swam around the front of the wreck as opposed to hanging around the wheelhouse. Then, it was back to shore and an afternoon of sun on the beach. All in all, it was a good (but not great) dive.
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