Florida dive enthusiasts, are you ready for the opportunity to observe a wide variety of wildlife while immersing yourself into a piece of history that happened to find itself on the Florida Panhandle? Military history buffs will love the chance to get up close to a piece of history connected to espionage and top secret missions. It’s time you experienced the Florida Panhandle’s very own shipwreck and dive: The San Pablo!
History of the San Pablo
The San Pablo was first launched from Belfast, Ireland in 1915. It began its journey as a fruit import vessel and was delivering bananas from Central America to the United States. Sometime in the early stages of WWII, the San Pablo was sunk by a U-boat (German submarine) off the coast of Costa Rica. Eventually the ship was refloated to the Gulf Coast which ignited rumors that San Pablo had ties to German spies. However, recently declassified government documents tell a different story. In 1944, the San Pablo exploded off the Pensacola coast during a top secret military mission, testing new forms of remote controlled explosive devices. The vessel was completely destroyed and found its final resting place in the waters off our very own Pensacola.
Diving the San Pablo
Fragments of the San Pablo are now scattered across the seafloor of the Panhandle. Saltwater divers have the unique opportunity to swim through history and see parts of the Florida shipwreck up close, such as boilers and huge pieces of metal debris. Not only can you explore parts of San Pablo itself, divers have the chance to witness the vast array of marine life that have made their home among the ruins. The San Pablo rests 80 ft. deep and spans approximately 315 feet of the floor of the Gulf of Mexico. Found just south of the Pensacola Pass, the shipwreck is accessible to scuba divers of all skill levels. The San Pablo is also a part of the Florida Panhandle Shipwreck Trail, which features all the shipwrecks in the Pensacola area as well as the Panhandle.
Popular Gulf Coast Dive Spot
It’s easy to see why the San Pablo shipwreck is one of the most popular dive spots off of the Gulf Coast! Divers are given the opportunity to come face to face with a piece of, once top secret, military history all while witnessing the beauty of the Gulf Coast waters and its marine life in their natural habitat. If the San Pablo Dive Trail wasn’t on your list of places to explore before, go ahead and add it!