Last updated on November 29th, 2022 at 04:36 am
SCUBA diving magazine was treated with a trip to Belize by government authorities and wrote an interesting article on the Belize Barrier Reef “birthday” including a tour of The Wit, a new dive site featuring the Wit Concrete Ship that was sunk off the coast of Belize. Linda Wigel recounts her visit to Belize, interacting with entities like Mar Alliance, Oceana, TASA, and the Placencia Village Council about the reef’s survival:
“The following day I fly back to the city where I then transfer to Turneffe Atoll, Belize’s largest marine reserve at 30 miles long, 10 miles wide and spanning 200,000 acres of reef. Here I meet the Turneffe Atoll Sustainability Association (TASA), headed by Valdemar Andade.
“This time I am not alone and representatives from other nonprofit organizations join us for a tour of the various ranger stations where vessels are kept, and where scientists conduct research on coral health, restoration and monitoring of mangrove forests.
“Some of these ranger stations are also open to the public and have facilities to encourage picnics, overnight stays and more. I find myself thinking how clever it is to give anyone interested an opportunity to either work alongside the scientists conserving the reef or just to see what they get up to.
“In an effort to further expand the reef, in 2021, TASA collaborated with Blackbird Caye Resort and purposely sank a ship known as the Witconcrete just a splash away from Calabash Caye. The 375-foot retired molasses container shipwreck landed on its side and is shallow enough for snorkelers and up to 95 feet deep for divers.
“Luckily, I get to dive the wreck and it’s a dive to remember with mesmerizing light pouring through the portholes as though I’m in a cenote. Not only does it have a resident school of parrotfish, it is crawling with arrow crabs and I see my first mid-dive manatee! Both my guide and I are stunned when we see it, squealing and high-fiving in the water. Later my guide tells me that although he has done over 200 dives on this wreck, this is also the first time he has seen a manatee on it.” Article
Built after World War II for sugar transportation and molasses storage throughout Central America, the weathered, rust-streaked concrete ship was sunk off the coast to take on another life as Belize’s newest dive site. Drawing the attention of international divers and snorkelers, as well as creating a natural, protected haven for our vibrant wildlife, The Wit wreck is now cemented in Belize’s underwater landscape. Joining the same destiny as its sister ship, Wit Concrete II, which was sunk in the US Virgin Islands in 1995, this newest treasure is sure to have tales of its own soon enough.