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Lars Hemel
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Certification Number:
PADI 471740
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Diving Dry Tortugas most famous windjammer named the Avanti just south of Loggerhead Key.

Name Dive Site:Windjammer Site or Avanti
Depth: 0-22ft (0-7m)
Accessibility: Boat, Live-aboard
Inserted/Added by: lars, © Author: Lars Hemel

Rated 4.0, 2 votes

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Diving the Avanti or shortly known as the Windjammer Site, is Dry Tortugas most famous dive site, located less than a mile southwest of Loggerhead Key, Dry Tortugas National Park. She is also known as the Dutch Wreck, Steel Wreck and French Wreck obviously meaning that there is some rivalry about the name of this area's most famous wreck.

She is an iron hulled sailing ship with the name Avanti, originally built in 1875 as the Killean in Glasgow, Scotland by a company named John Reid & Co. When it was sold in 1893 to Antoine-Dominique Bordes & Fils of Dunkirk, France, she was renamed to Antonin after the sun of its new owner. They most probably used it during the Chilean nitrate trade as that is where the company got rich with. They transported natural sodium, quickly known as white gold, from the desert of Atacama, Chile. They bought a new and better ship in 1901 and sold the Antonin to a Norwegian company named Acties Avanti. They renamed it to Avanti and used the vessel as a lumber transport ship in the Caribbean. The windjammers of the 18th and 19th century were large merchant sailing vessels competing with steam ships. Avanti sank on January 22, 1907 on Loggerhead Reef en route from Pensacola, Florida to Montevideo, Uruguay.

She is a large 261 feet long and 39 feet wide wreck that has been split amidships in two parts. Features of its bow laying east-west are its attached bowsprit and foremast. Many loose metal parts, steel plates and iron pins can be seen at the point where its inner structure broke in two. This is the place where boats anchor and where divers will go down first making up their minds which direction to go first. Its stern laying in a north to south direction still has mizzen and main-mast structures visible. The windjammer Avanti is in excellent condition which has resulted in a phenomenal diversity of marine live and an extremely healthy habitat for coral. Many researchers for marine, biology and archaeology have investigated its remains and underwater wildlife. Boaters, divers and snorkellers all have to be careful as parts of the wreck are exposed during low tide. Within the hull's open cargo holds are resident tiger groupers and jewfish. Schools of snappers, barracuda and goatfish swarm around the wreck, giving it an immense crowded feeling. With some brilliant coral, fantastic sights of aquatic life and quite an amazing history, the Avanti is definitely one of the best dive sites in Tortugas, Key West.

Visit the windjammers description by fort Jefferson's website for more information.

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