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Lars Hemel
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Certification Number:
PADI 471740
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The Black Bart is a 185 foot long largely intact wreck formerly used for supplying oil fields.

Name Dive Site:Black Bart
Depth: 42-78ft (13-24m)
Accessibility: Boat
Inserted/Added by: lars, © Author: Lars Hemel

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The Black Bart got its name from Captain Charles Bartholomew who dedicated most of his live supervising the creation of artificial reefs around Panama City for the purpose of scuba divers. Besides working for the navy he had scuba diving as his other number one hobby. The wreck was originally named 'Volcano del Gulfo' but they decided to rename her in memory of Bartholomew who died in 1990 during one of his dive trainings. The naval ship Black Bart was scuttled in the early 1990s, at a bit less than ten miles from Panama City, and was one of the largest artificial reefs sunk at that time.

Nowadays this rusty wreck rests at the ocean floor at only seventy feet deep with her wheel house located at a depth of forty-five feet below the surface. It is a twenty feet profile wreck with many openings that make penetration easy and safe and provide for ample opportunities to explore. Care should be taken as there is over two feet of silt inside the wreck and many narrow passages. It is easy to completely destroy visibility and to hit your head somewhere on the metal wreck. The visibility at the wreck is often less than twenty feet so bring a light and good navigation stuff, especially when entering the wreck. Its cargo holds and galley are open and there even is a fully installed toilet available in the head.

Black Bart is still mostly intact and has many swim-throughs and loads of bait fish. It is very common to see spear fishers at this dive site and whether you like it or not; they are allowed to practise their hobby here and often come back on board with some of the best catches of sport fish. Besides several species of game fish you will also find angelfish, turtles, octopuses, catfish, flounder and eels. It is one of the top dive sites around Panama City, often used by trainee divers as well, so expect some crowds most of the time.

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