4 Famous Historical Shipwrecks in The Bahamas
Posted by: Nassau Paradise Island on March 13, 2014
The Bahamas’ has an interesting and expansive history with famous shipwrecks, explorers and James Bond movies. Believe it or not, underneath our crystal-clear blue waters lay many abandoned ships, now covered by beautiful coral reefs, and home to many lively tropical fish—a scuba diver’s paradise!
Let’s take a look at four shipwrecks, play a little game of True or False, and see if you can guess the ships’ history or famous connection.
1. The LCT Barge
True or False: The famous James Bond movie, Thunderball, was filmed at the LCT Barge wreck site, and the site retained the nickname “Thunderball” after the filming.
Located between New Providence and Exuma, only a short boat ride from Nassau Paradise Island, lays Hollywood’s favorite shipwreck: the LCT Barge. Before becoming famous, the LCT Barge was used during World War II as a landing craft, and helped carry freight to and from Exuma. One day while sailing back to Nassau Harbour, the ship began to take in water. In an attempt to save the cargo, the crew tried to run the LCT Barge aground on the north side of Paradise Island but had no such luck. Today, the LCT Barge wreck site, named Thunderball, rests in peace under the warm, turquoise waters and is covered in stunning fire coral, sponges and sea fans—waiting for its next visit from movie makers, divers and underwater photographers.
This would be a great day adventure for James Bond movie lovers! Whether you love to dive or simply love James Bond movies, exploring the Thunderball wreck site would be a great adventure for you! The site is easily accessible via boat and we have a number of excellent dive operators offering packages and daily trips.
2. Tears of Allah
True or False: The Tears of Allah shipwreck was sold to movie producers as a prop for movies.
Here’s another famous James Bond shipwreck! The Tears of Allah (also known as the Bond Wreck) was a 90-foot freighter ship that was used for drug smuggling in the Caribbean. After being confiscated by authorities, the ship was sailed to sea and properly sunk for future diving expeditions with the help of Stuart Cove, owner of Stuart Cove’s Aqua Adventures.
The government has since sold the wreck to movie producers and it has appeared in many TV commercials, shows and movies. Have you ever seen the 1984 TV movie Wet Gold starring Brooke Shields? Well, Tears of Allah made an appearance in that movie. The most well known role was the ship’s big debut in the James Bond movie Never Say Never Again, where the ship was used as a prop and sunk.
Today, Tears of Allah stands 45 feet underwater, upright and intact, with a slight tilt to the port side, and lies just off the coast of Nassau. This is a great shipwreck to explore, especially for underwater photographers and adventure seekers!
3. The Wreck On The Wall
True or False: The Wreck On The Wall ship got its name after colliding with a huge coral reef wall and sinking to the ocean floor.
False! The name of the ship comes from its resting location on a coral wall.
Originally the ship was named Spiyva, but is now commonly referred to as Wreck On The Wall because the ship actually lies with her bow hanging over the edge of a coral wall. During the ship’s sailing days, it was used as a drug runner but was later confiscated and purchased by The Bahamian government.
After Wreck On The Wall was purchased, the government sailed the ship south of Tears of Allah and sunk it! Now the ship sits 40 feet underwater and plunges down to over 1,000 feet. Wreck On The Wall is said to be ‘very unusual and interesting’ because of all the marvelous coral walls and crustaceans that formed on the shipwreck over the years.
Wreck On The Wall can be easily accessed by boat from Nassau Paradise Island through one of our local, experienced dive operators.
4. The Mahoney
True or False: The Mahoney was renamed four times during her sailing days.
Right off the coast of Atlantis, Paradise Island sits The Mahoney. Built in the 1800’s, The Mahoney was a 212-foot steel freighter that sank in The Bahamas in 1929. The Mahoney lived a very fascinating life including being renamed four times and being sailed and used four different ways.
The Mahoney’s first name was Candace and it was sailed as a private yacht. Then it was sold to the British Military and renamed Firequeen and used as a flagship for the British admiralty. Firebird was the third name, and the ship was sailed as a lighthouse tender. Finally, the last name was Bahomian, and the ship was used as a freighter.
Today the shipwreck is known as The Mahoney Wreck (no one knows why!), and is it scattered on the sandy bottom ocean floor under 25 to 45 feet of water. The ship actually broke in two while sinking, so the bow and stern are separated by 100 yards. A couple years after it sunk, The Mahoney was blown up under water because it was considered to be a possible hazard and interference for ship navigation systems, but there are still lots of pieces to see. If you’re interested in diving around this ship, make sure to wear protective clothing because The Mahoney is covered in fire coral!
You can easily book a dive trip to this site from Blue Adventures at Atlantis, Paradise Island. Blue Adventures operates daily trips to and from the wreck site.
These are just four of the fantastic and interesting shipwrecks you can explore on your vacation to Nassau Paradise Island! But, there’s always more to discover, see and do. From The Bahamas’ rich cultural history to fascinating shipwrecks and fabulous scuba diving, it truly is more exciting (and better!) in The Bahamas.
In the meantime, check out this cool video from Stuart Cove’s on James Bond shipwrecks:
James Bond Shipwrecks HD
image sources (top to bottom): bookyourdive.com; shipwreckexpo.com; meridiandivers.blogspot.com; shipwreckexpo.com; youtube.com.