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Old 04-14-2019, 10:45 PM
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RickI RickI is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Florida
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I have been back to the Sapona a few times since this account was first written. I even took my young family out there with Bimini Undersea in 2018. Some photos follow:

Going over what the divers can expect to find on the SS Sapona.

My daughter BG swims over the debris field of the stern of the vessel.

The stern has fallen apart at a vastly faster rate than the balance of the ship. That is the aft engine room bulkhead in the distance beyond the debris field.

We were short on time so I did a swan dive off the deck level in 2018. I was 16 the first time I dove of the wreck, tradition!

That is all that remains of the formerly massive stern section.

The single propellor of the vessel lay just underwater in the above photo.

Approaching the engines

Swimming between the boilers

Moving forward towards the hold.

The whole family in the main cargo hold

There are large openings between the frames midships on the port or western side of the Sapona.

Swimming aft from the main hold into the engine room

Moving a bit further west to checkout a similar ferrocement vessel ...

I was able to kite another ferrocement vessel in 2017. This time it was the YO-42, a WWII fuel barge intentionally grounded off Shipwreck Beach, Lanai, HI in the Kalohi Channel. This barge wasn't self-propelled but required a tug. It saw action in the Pacific when a Japanese sub sunk its tug boat about 150 miles from Espiritu Santo on 12 September 1943. It was grounded off Lanai in 1949 to 1950. This barge is sometimes confused with Liberty ships and even the Sapona which isn't the case.

A side view of the barge.

Heading way back east for a look at another Bahamian wreck, with a difference.

The Gallant Lady was a freighter out of Belize City when it blew on to the rocks of North Bimini during Hurricane Mitch in 1997. Compare this to the Sapona which blew on to the flats east of Turtle Rocks in 1925 or 72 years earlier. The above photo was taken in 2004, not 2006 as labeled. The stern of the Sapona sheered off during that hurricane and I have no clue how many have hammered the wreck since that time to the present day. There have been many. Then add in aerial bombing and staffing by the Army Air Corp out of Ft. Lauderdale during WWII. Despite all that, the Sapona has hung on quite well and vastly better than the all steel Gallant Lady as you can see in the following photos.

Shot in 2010, just six years later but more steel plates are missing.

The astonishing deterioration as of a couple of months ago. I have other intervening years which I could dig out from 2010 to slow a slower progression. In short, if you want a ship to last, it is best to make it like a reinforced concrete building!

The Sapona will continue to fall apart and it may go faster as the structure spalls and falls away. Still, in the 45 years I enjoyed visiting the wreck, it has held together astonishingly well.

FKA, Inc.

transcribed by:
Rick Iossi

Last edited by RickI; 04-15-2019 at 09:52 PM.
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