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The WILD WEST COAST of Florida
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Click on the graphic below to link to the full size "Suncoast Wreck Tour"  - Sheridan Tug to USCGC Blackthorn - St. Petersburg Times  article May 7, 2010
(Which includes exact GPS coordinates, ranges & bearings)





Wreck Trek - Sheridan Tug to USCGC Blackthorn & Seafood Barge

   I first crossed underwater from the Sheridan Tug to the USCGC Blackthorn in the late 80's after observing a boat on the cutter and siting the bearing. The Seafood Barge to the Blackthorn crossing occurred on my first dive to the sites in 1981, due to heavy boat traffic on the cutter.
   The illustration below is the most accurate depiction of these wrecks. When the St Pete Times artist created the beautiful graphic above he mistakenly drew the superstructure still attached to the hull, and also 150' to the SSW of the bow. There were a few typos on the GPS coordinates as well, so I have corrected them.
     Contrary to many inaccurate statements, the Blackthorn Wreck is not upside-down or silty. The entire Pinellas II site is very hard bottom. If the visibility is good on one wreck, it will be the same on all of them. If it's poor vis..., well it's just not a good day in the Gulf of Mexico. Obviously there are many writers who have never or rarely visited the wrecks.


(Click F11 for full screen, or back to tool bars.  Click Ctrl and + to enlarge the page, or Ctrl and - to reduce it.)  
 


Illustration by Chad Carney

Click here for more information, photos & GPS coordinates of the Blackthorn & Sheridan 

The site is approximately 21 nautical miles northwest of John's Pass, Madeira Beach, FL.
The wrecks are close enough to swim from one to another, if you are experienced in U/W navigation, and can stretch a tank sufficiently in 80 feet of water. Navigating from the Sheridan to the Blackthorn is easiest because of it's south to north alignment. The west to east alignment of the Sheridan & Seafood Barge make navigating more difficult. The swim is 3 to 5 minutes from the Sheridan bow to the Blackthorn. You will see large sections of the Blackthorn in the eastern debris field before the hull. From the Cutter Blackthorn's rudder swim 1.5 to 2 minutes to the Seafood Barge. The superstructure of the Blackthorn is just under a 1 minute swim away from it's own bow.


Warnings: The Pinellas 2 Wreck Trek is a very advanced dive!
Separately the wrecks are intermediate dives, if you do not penetrate them.
The wrecks are old, rusting & collapsing, with fishing lines & tackle. Boat traffic can be dangerous while diving the wreck trek. Stay as shallow as visibility allows while crossing. Know your breathing rate and use the appropriate capacity of gas. Visibility and current may add much difficulty to the dive. Drift dive technique works well, and it is recommended to carry a deployable signal marker buoy (SMB) and reel. Captains should be experienced. Observe all dive flag laws and respect other boaters and divers.
 
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FLORIDA SKIN DIVER
Captain & Instructor Chad Carney   Over 35 Years Teaching Diving & Spearfishing
Pompano Beach, FL Text or Call 727-423-7775

e-mail: chad.carney@yahoo.com