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Diving the Oriskany June 23, 2007

Posted by Joe in Family.

In May of 2006, the U.S.S. Oriskany, a World War II era air craft carrier, was intentionally sunk 22 miles off the coast of Pensacola. At 911 feet in length, it is now the world’s largest artificial reef.

Divers come from all over for the chance to dive such a site. Fortunately for us, our vacation spot was a mere 20 minutes drive from Pensacola and the prospect of diving the wreck was too good to pass by. So Sheryl, Chris, and I, arranged to take a diving expedition to the famed vessel.

We boarded the 35 foot custom dive boat near Pensacola on Tuesday morning and made our way, along with 6 other divers, out of the bay and into the Gulf of Mexico. Seventy-five minutes and twenty-two miles later we arrived at our dive site.

The ocean’s bottom was 212 feet beneath us. The Oriskany’s flight deck was 135 below the surface. Even the very tip top of the tower was 70 feet below us.

With great anticipation, we gathered our gear and donned our wet suits, preparing to make our way down through the occasional barracuda and schools of Amber Jack, to the object of our adventure. And then it was time. Divers Down!

The current was unbelievably strong at 110 feet below and we had a difficult time staying on the wreck. The first dive went far too quickly as we rapidly consumed much of our air while struggling against the current.

During the second dive of the day, we were able to find some shelter from the current so we had a bit more bottom time. Chris and I even managed to get inside the navigation bridge. One of the dive masters snapped this photo of us.

The Oriskany is a great dive, one you could dive a couple of dozen times without coming close to seeing it all. I’d love to do it again.



1. Uncle Chris - June 23, 2007

Great story and great pix. I can’t wait to do it again!

2. trent - July 11, 2007

I was on the O-Boat’s last cruise (WestPac 75-76). I won’t forget that cruise. It was also the last time an entire airwing’s fixed-wing aircraft came from one manufacturer, too. LTV produced all of the F-8’s, E-1’s, and A-7’s in CAG19.

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