Sunday, September 21, 2008

Wreck of the Bahia Paraiso

During the summer, a whole myriad of ships will often stop by our little area. Not only just the cruise ships and private sailboats, but the Argentinian and Chilean Navies will often poke around in the area, if not just to maintain a political presence.

Back in 1989, the the Argentine naval ship Bahia Paraiso was in the area doing something, and tried to head out between Janus and Litchfield island, dispite warnings from the station personel that the waters there were not very deep. The captain, going off outdated charts, insisted that it would be fine.

He was wrong.

For the full story of exactly what happened, you can read about it here. The wreck has been slowly rotating over the years and slipping a little deeper under, and now only part of the bottom of the hull is visible at low tide.



The divers often like to go out here, as the unique shapes and overhangs created by the ship house corals and underwater flora that are normally found at much deeper depths. The ship is almost completely upside down now, on calm days when the seas are flat, you can see the propellers ~40 feet under the surface.

One of the long-time scientists at the time was watching the ship leave when the whole thing happened. He was standing in the galley windows, watching the ship pull out, when he saw it stop suddenly and take on a very serious list. He immediately turned around and hollered to the cooks "Three hundred for lunch!"



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