Grand Cayman Island: Diving on the wreck of the Oro Verde July 18, 2022

On Monday, July 18th I was on the wreck of the Oro Verde (which means green gold in English). During the dive a Porcupinefish swam over to check me out. I always enjoy watching these fish. The Florida Museum website tells us, “The spines all over its body are modified scales, and when it’s threatened, it intakes water, puffing up and making the spikes stand out.” The site also mentions, “They secrete a toxic skin substance so are usually considered poisonous, although they have been known to be eaten in Hawaii and Tahiti.”

The wreck has an interesting story behind it. Back in 1976 the Oro Verde was shipping bananas (a type of green gold). Local lore says the captain wanted to make one last trip to retire so he also had a large shipment of weed (the other type of green gold) on board. Well, the crew confronted the captain to get a share of the profits, took over the ship then accidentally got it stuck on the reef. The cops seized the ship then burned the weed to destroy it. The story says the wind changed direction and blew the smoke into Georgetown and everyone was stoned for a few days.

The Scuba Diver Life website explains

The ship sat on the reef until 1980, when the local dive community adopted the wreck. It was moved into shallower water and purpose-sunk, now functioning as an artificial reef in 60 feet (18 m) off Seven Mile Beach. Divers can reach the wreck via a long swim from shore, but it’s more relaxing as a shallow second boat dive. It’s also a good spot for a night dive, with the scattered wreckage providing shelter for octopus, lobster and eels.

The site goes on to explain, “Various hurricanes and storms have dispersed the wreckage over the years, so there are two moorings and a wide area to explore. Engines, pistons and other ship parts lay about.”

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