Nuevo Mortera wreck - Santa Lucia

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Nuevo Mortera wreck - Santa Lucia

With her bows at 5 metres, and her stern section resting at 26 metres, the Nuevo Mortera is a wooden cargo ship lying in the estuary to the inland saltwater port, Nuevitas, on the Atlantic coast of Cuba.

Sunk in 1905, following what we are led to believe to be an accident with a British cargo ship (the Mortera is also alleged to have been in another accident several weeks before her sinking date with another British ship in Havana), this could perhaps be an early ‘revenge' sinking!

Whatever the reason she lies on the sea bed, she is an excellent wreck to dive, and we have two different dives to offer here – the wreck dive, and the shark dive.

A 10 minute coach trip from the dive centre will take you to the hard on the edge of the estuary, where you will kit up, listen to the briefing, and then jump on in!

Timber frames are highly evident, but her hull and several areas of deck are still intact enough to identify her as a vessel of some size.

Totally encrusted with soft corals, sponges and colourful marine life, she is a great back drop for some colourful photography, even if it is only with the divers ‘minds eye'.

Just before her stern, at the deepest part of the dive (some 26 metres), she has become separated, and this provides an excellent swim-through, giving the wreck novice a great opportunity for some minor penetration. Diving up through the carcass, keep an eye out for lobsters, nudibranchs and other small critters – sea fans, pens and squirts, together with tunicates are easy to spot.

What lies just beyond her stern is something not to be missed though – a group of bull sharks that frequent this area, using the estuary as a home and a place to nurture their young. In situ from August until February, it is expected that these magnificent animals, of which the predominance is female, will be there on pretty much every dive below the wreck.

For 15+ years the staff at Sharks Friends have got to know these animals and their behaviours, feeding them small scraps of fish carcass, and sharing their presence with the visiting diver. The sharks, which at peak times have numbered up to 15, stay below the wreck, and in front of it, and you can watch the Instructors feeding them from a sandy ledge 3-4 metres above their feeding ground, keeping well out of the way, but close enough for a very memorable experience.

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