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Gibraltar Shipwrecks – Exploring The SS Excellent


Gibraltar Shipwrecks – Exploring The SS ExcellentGibraltar shipwrkecks – Gibraltar has a fair number of shipwrecks, being positioned as it is at the “gateway to the Mediterranean”.  The SS Excellent is one such famous shipwreck, which lies upside down about 50 metres off the detached mole, just outside the harbour walls, in 28 metres of water. (The detached mole was not built at the time, only about 20 years later)

Constructed by the Short Brothers of Sunderland in 1880, The SS Excellent was a 1082 ton screw steamer.  At the time of the incident, around 2am on 29th Feb 1888, the vessel was en route from Palermo to Philadelphia, USA, carrying a cargo of fruit. She drifted off anchor during strong currents and collided with 2 other vessels, the Saint Asaph and the Memling which were both seriously damaged. Unfortunately,  despite best efforts the SS Excellent could not be saved. Her fruits became “fruits of the sea” but fortunately no lives were lost.

Gibraltar Shipwrecks – Exploring The SS Excellent

The SS Excellent is 80 meters long and 11 meters wide. / She was 260 feet long with a 36-foot beam

The wreck makes for a great dive site, for advanced certified divers (due to depth) according to Dive Gibraltar website, where fortunate divers can find a variety of fish species, octopus, cuttlefish, eels, nudibranchs, spider crabs, and common lobsters.
For serious divers, the Ministry for Heritage website provides a great detailed description of the layout of the site, providing good insight into what could be an excellent educational and recreational dive.

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