Diving on a wreck is a once-in-a-lifetime vacation experience for some people. Travelers fascinated by underwater worlds are often seduced by what they can find there, including sunken treasures or historic shipwrecks. One of the latter is easily accessible off the west coast of Florida – and it has quite an interesting history, to boot.
the S.S. Reginaalso known as the “Molasses Barge” or “Sugar Wreck”, sank in 1940. The barge now sits at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico and has become a popular tourist spot for those taking a diving excursion or going alone. excursions.
Fortunately, those wishing to see the wreck also have the option of booking an excellent resort nearby – and tours of the wreck are located just across the street.
What happened to S.S. Reginaaka the Bradenton Beach “Sugar Wreck” shipwreck?
the S.S. Regina was built in 1904 in Ireland was built to carry molasses. This was commonly used by distilleries and the ship’s route took it to Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. These American ports also included the main port of New Orleans, to which the ship was heading on her last voyage.
As with many shipwrecks, the weather was a determining factor in the ship’s fate. After nearly 40 years of trouble-free routes, the ship left Havana, Cuba, on March 5, 1940. On board were 350,000 gallons of molasses destined for New Orleans, pulled with the help of a tug , Minimal, forward of the ship. Unfortunately, the S.S. Regina wasn’t the only thing following the tug – a nasty cold front was also crossing the gulf.
Two days into the voyage, both ships encountered waves reaching heights of eight to ten feet and high winds. This was enough to rip the line from the tug and the S.S. Regina began to drift towards the shore, before finally being wrecked on a sandbar 200 meters from Bradenton Beach. The vessel also sank in just 20ft of water but luckily a yacht was able to reach most of the crew before it did. Tragically, a man and his dog, who attempted to swim to shore in the stormy waters, failed.
Where to Stay in Bradenton Beach and Take Wreck Diving Tours
the Anna Maria Beach Resort is the closest seaside resort to S.S. Regina Shipwreck. Plus, it’s also directly across from a dive shop – more on that later. The resort itself boasts incredible views of the gulf and offers luxury accommodations that will make any guest feel right at home on the west coast of Florida.
The 4-star resort offers 31 rooms in total, all of which offer views of the resort’s private beach or resort grounds. Each of the rooms has been renovated and has and amenities include modern appliances, an oversized swimming pool, poolside cabanas, complimentary beach facilities, and private patios and balconies.
The room options at Anna Maria Beach Resort are as follows:
- Queen Island Rooms: Sleeps 4, has two queen beds, kitchenette
- King Island Rooms: Sleeps 4, has a king bed and two convertible ottomans, has a kitchenette.
- Oceanfront King and Queen Suites: Sleeps 4, has a king bed and a queen sleeper sofa, has a full kitchen
- Anna Maria Deluxe Suite: The first suite in the resort is set up like a one bedroom condo with two full bathrooms, an open living room, a king bed with a queen sleeper sofa, an oversized balcony, and a full kitchen
*Room prices vary from ~$345/night weekdays (Queen or King Island room) to ~$1,785 weekends for Deluxe Suites.
Sea Kat Dive Shop
Opposite the resort is the Sea Kat Dive Shop, which offers tours of the S.S. Regina. This local licensed dive shop offers brochures and other information for visitors who wish to dive on their own at the site. For anyone not into scuba diving this is the best and easiest option and will still give visitors a decent view of the wreck from snorkel depth. Included is a map of the wreckage, which is quite easy to follow!
For all those who wish to have a really close and personal view of the S.S. Regina, Sea Kat Dive Shop organizes two-tank scuba diving trips around the gulf that include the wreck itself. During one of these charter excursions, visitors have the chance to observe other dive sites in addition to the famous “Sugar Wreck” of Florida.
- Cost: Call for exact costs, as each trip is customized and there are only two daily trips.
- Travel time : About 4 hours
blue water explorers
This is another option for those who want to book a simple tour at an all-inclusive price. They also charter two-tank dive charters to reefs and wrecks in the area, and visitors can call for details on visiting the S.S. Regina.
- Cost: $95, includes cost of charter, scuba tanks and weights
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