FINDING THE M.V. AMBAR
I have dived a few shipwrecks in my life but never in Puerto Rico where I live. This is because all the wrecks that we can dive are 1 small barges, 1 tug, 1 planes and a few small recreational boats. My buddies and I would say to our selves what we need here is a good shipwreck.
Then in april 11, 1991 things changed when the M.V. Ambar sunk of the coast of Aguadilla for unknown reasons. The Ambar a British 165 foot motor vessel of 271 grts. definitely fit the bill.
You would think that would have solved our problem but it didn’t because the Ambar could not be found at the reported coordinates. It wasn’t until 2011 that I heard that some commercial fishermen had found the wreck and that a dive boat operator had gotten the coordinates from them. It took me about a year to find out that the Captain of “Deep Adventure” from Aguadilla had found the Ambar and as quickly as my hopes were raised they came crashing down when I was told that he wasn’t able to find the wreck the second time that they attempted diving it!
I blocked the Ambar from my mind and went on with my life until I opened one of a never ending barrage of Facebook messages that one receives these days and saw a happy group of divers swimming down to the upper deck of the Ambar, Captain Michael had found the Ambar again!
I quickly called all my dive buddies with wreck diving experience and decompression procedure training and got a team together. The team was comprised of Carlos Felix, Joseph Bouza, Saul Soto and myself. The first two in open circuit and the other two in close circuit.
Two weeks before our dive Captain Michael, Saul Soto and several divers from Aguadilla tied a mooring line to the wreck and we hit the jackpot no drift deco! And this is no exaggeration, the current can be extremely strong there.
The day of the dive came and it was perfect, sunny, warm and not to choppy. We got off to an early start and tied off to the mooring and dropped down into the clear Caribbean water. As we saw the approaching hull getting closer we felt the tug of the current we pulled ourselves, on the mooring line, the rest of the way until we put the hull between us and the current.
As I swam along the deck, at 136’, I was surrounded by schools snappers, jacks, blue tangs and 2 to 3 foot barracudas. Then out from the side of the pilot house swims out a 9’ nurse shark that swims by me and then Saul as I take a sequence of photos with my GoPro.
As we enter through the ships hatch a large sea turtle swims out the hatch escaping our approaching LED lights. Although this wreck sits perfectly upright it is a jungle of hanging wires and cables, not an easy penetration. Well we decided that caution is the better part of valor and circled the wreck along the outside at 150’ hoping to find an opening to the interior with no luck.
Before we knew it our 45 minute were over and we proceeded to do our 40 minutes of deco while happily attached to the mooring line. Yes it was a very successful day of shipwreck diving in P.R.