The Adolphus Busch – A Great Wreck Dive
- The Sinking of the Adolphus Busch Dec. 1998
In the past few months I’ve talked about some of the hot spots down here in the Lower Keys like our new and enormous wreck dive the Vandenberg and Looe Key National Marine Sanctuary. We certainly can’t miss out on our other wreck dive in the Lower Keys, the Adolphus Busch. Sunk in Dec. of 1998, it’s another great wreck dive and one you’ll want to add to your list when you’re doing your “wreck week” of diving. It’s located about 3 miles west of Looe Key.
This ship is a 210' freighter that’s well thought out for advanced divers and a real safe wreck dive. If you haven’t dove a wreck before this is a great spot to get your wreck diving specialty certification. Many instructors use it for that very purpose. The ship sits in about 110’ of depth just off the reef and the top is right around 60’ and the smoke stack is just a bit shallower. It’s a cargo ship and yes, it’s from the family that owns the Busch Brewing Co. but all of the product is gone. The ship has been down for so long there is just a ton of growth on the ship. There is a wide variety of fish life that call this ship home, like large Goliath Groupers which are usually on or around the ship. Many times we’ve actually seen a 400 pounder in the wheel house.
Except for going down to the engine room where you’ll see on old fashioned tub, the rest of the wreck is mainly set up so you can see through to the exit. Make sure first to look for the exits before going in. You’ll need to go into the engine room with somebody that has done it before and make sure you’re trained to do so. The bow usually holds a large green moray eel and of course large amounts of fish as well. Going down into the cargo holds it is very open, very wide and of course they go deep. The bow and the wheel house are the two best spots on the ship to spend most of your dive. To get more credit on your dive computers ascend right next to the wheel house where you’ll be in about 65’ of water where you can just watch the show. The fish will be all around you and you'll have a great view of the entire ship. There are four mooring balls on the Busch. Two for diving and two for fishing. Make sure you pick the right one since the diving moorings are actually attached to the ship. Again, keep an eye out for currents but on clear days the fish will still be hanging out with you even on your safety stop.
Many dive shops have trips running out to this wreck. If you want to see the sinking of the ship you can go to http://www.n-the-florida-keys.com/Adolphus-Busch.html
. This is a wreck I dive often and if you’ve dived this wreck before you’ll always have a different type of dive no matter how many times you go see her.
The conditions in the Lower Keys are still pretty warm even though the rest of the country is seeing a season change we haven’t. Water temps have dropped just a few degrees and conditions are just great. This is such a great time of year to dive and of course it’s always a good time to dive the Adolphus Busch.
Remember slow ascents and safety stops on each and every dive. See you on the bottom.
Shawn Hull is a PADI Dive Instructor who lives and dives (as often as possible) in the Lower Keys.
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