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Lars Hemel
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The USS Alligator is one of the navy warships that helped in future legislation preventing the slave trade.

Name Dive Site:USS Alligator
Depth: 0-9ft (0-3m)
Inserted/Added by: lars, © Author: Lars Hemel

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The USS Alligator was one of five 12-gun schooners originally built to prevent slave ships for transporting new slaves from the coast of West Africa. This 86 foot long war ship was originally built in 1820 in the Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston, Massachusetts. She is one of the copper and bronze-fitted gunship that helped American President James Monroe in his political actions to forbid illegal slave trading. Some other duties were to track down pirates providing safe passage for merchant ships in the Caribbean. She finally struck the reef in November 1822 when she was guarding merchant ships from piracy, not paying attention enough for the reef's depth. A refloat rescue mission failed after which she was set to fire to prevent pirates from salvaging anything of value.

Located at only one hundred feet southwest of its lighthouse near Upper Matecumbe Key, the U.S.S. Alligator is one of the most popular dive sites for Islamorada dive boats. Historic value is enormous as she is the only known wreck that tells us about the construction that was used in the peaceful time that arose after the American War in 1812. Nowadays, not much is left of the wreck except some ballast stones and its lower hull full of fish. Another pile of rubble reminds us of the attempt to refloat the ship right after its sinking. Everything is covered in coral nowadays with many moray eels and stone fish as common residents so be cautious when exploring the area.

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