Scuba Diving in South Padre Island
7 1/2 Fathom Reef
Seven and One-Half Fathom Reef is the best reef dive of South Padre Island. The reef contains quite a variety of marine life. But due to the converging currents, however, visibility can decrease dramatically at times. At less than 13 meters (45 feet) deep, this spot is open to divers of all levels.
This former WWII troopship was sunk as an artificial reef and now lies on its side. The ship is 144-meter-/473-foot-long and its upper parts are located at a depth of about 18 meters (60 feet). However, the bottom sits in water 41 meters/135 feet deep, which is why the wreck is usually dived by advanced divers.
Espíritu Santo (“Holy Ghost”) is a wooden vessel wrecked in 1554 and discovered in 1966. The remains of this very old ship are found near Port Mansfield. The artifacts have long been lifted from the wreck, and they include one gold bar, a small solid-gold crucifix, several silver discs, crossbows, cannons, and three astrolabes. Today, there’s not much to see at this site but it remains a popular dive due to the age of the vessel.
This is a decommissioned oil rig that rises from a depth of about 73 meters (240 feet) and peaks at about 27 meters (90 feet). The area sees quite a few pelagic species such as hammerheads, silky sharks, and amberjacks. Technical divers only.
The Iron Reefs
As the name suggests, this is another artificial reef. These remnants of old oil rigs are located within recreational limits, but both oil rigs are found at depths of more than 30 meters (100 feet), so you will still need to be an advanced diver to explore this site. The site is teeming with small and medium-sized fish.
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