The wreckage loomed out of the murky, green waters of the most southerly of the Windward Islands, Grenada---the spice island. My depth gauge showed eighty feet. Descending further, steel beams and massive sheets of metal appeared laying twisted and torn apart as if struck by some massive primeval force. Abundant varieties of sponges and corals were growing rooted everywhere along the sides, tops and bottoms of the massive wreckage.

My descent line was tied at one hundred twenty feet near the torn stern section of the 600-foot passenger liner Bianca C that sunk in the Saint George Harbour in 1961. Weakened by fire and explosion, one hundred fifty feet of the stern lay twisted on its starboard side. This stern section was separated from the bow and remained connected by pieces of torn metal and the ships propeller shafts. The forward section of the wreck stood perfectly upright on its keel at a depth of one hundred sixty feet.

Before I could penetrate and explore the interior of Bianca C, I first needed to continue my survey of the exterior of the wreck. The water was full of microscopic sea life. Visibility was clouded and extended to about forty feet. Everything was shrouded in a greenish cast. Ascending to the main deck area and looking forward, the outline of the funnel appeared surrounded with schooling jacks. Black coral was in abundance. 


The superstructure of the ship was collapsed to the main deck. Only the funnel, a small deckhouse and mast remained standing on the forward part of the main deck. At the mast, the bow of the ship became visible and I finned forward and dropped below the bow to the sand at one hundred fifty seven feet. A section of anchor chain dangled out the hawse pipe. Below on the sand rests the ships anchor. Looking up, the bow appears proud and majestic silhouetted in the ambient light sixty feet above. A solitary snapper swam by to check me out.

My bottom timer indicated that it was time to proceed with the survey. Gas was not a problem because of my rebreather but I wanted to avoid excessively long deco times. The port side of the bow section offered the possibility of several entry points for exploration. Hatches stood wide open. The outline of one of the ship's two swimming pools could barely be seen as it was collapsed inward and downward in a jumble of steal, possibly twenty feet below the main deck. I glanced up. A lone eagle ray cruised close above me.

About four hundred fifty feet aft, the twisted stern section appeared. Dropping to the sand, I hoped to see the ships three massive propellers. Approaching the stern I followed the exposed propeller shaft along the sand until it disappeared within the hull of the wrecked stern section. Continuing on to the stern, the propellers were gone. The shafts had been cut. It was explained later that a Trinidadian firm had salvaged the props in the 70's. 


As I returned to the ascent line to begin my deco fresh images of the incredible wreck flashed through my mind. The ship is massive. Although the promenade and upper decks were collapsed inward, most of the bow section appeared intact. There were several visible points of entry. These thoughts brought a smile. There were eleven more scheduled dives on the Bianca C.

A black, jagged shard of the ship's metal plating hung fanglike before me guarding the entrance to the ship's shaft alley. The entryway was discovered and shown to me by expedition leader, Andrew Driver. The white sand shimmered below me as I carefully made my way past the sharp sheet of hanging metal. I noticed the old style rivets used to hold the plates together. The opening was just large enough for me to swim carefully through without becoming entangled. I looked up and into the interior. It was pitch black inside. My ten-watt hid light illuminated the passageway. One of the ships twelve-inch shafts lay to my right, stretching forward into the space toward the ship's engines. I located the line that Andrew and I had laid on my previous dive. It would be my lifeline in the event of silt out. 


The deck, bulkheads, and machinery were covered with a layer of fine silt. On the deck in places it appeared to be as much as six inches thick. Much like a fine powder, if disturbed by the slightest misguided movement, the silt would cloud the water instantaneously making zero visibility. The overhead was low and ahead was a ladder. Stalactites of rust grew from the iron interior hanging from the handrails and machinery.

I swam past the ladder and turned left into a passageway. It was not far and to my left was the ship's machine shop. A grinder appeared illuminated in my light. To the right, was a lathe waiting to be turned. Next to it was a drill press. As I reversed to exit the compartment, I noticed a workbench with vise waiting to be used. Visibility was diminishing. The water was filling with sediment. It was time for me to continue. 


Large propeller shafts had to connect to the ship's engines. I returned to the shaft alley passageway and turned inward following the twelve-inch diameter shaft. Around the ladder and further down the passageway was an engine-order telegraph. I was close. One of the ship's mammoth main engines loomed ahead. There were three in the Bianca C's engine room. It is believed that the fire or explosion occurred in one of the ship's main engines as it prepared to get underway on that October day in 1961.

My roll of film shot, it was time to exit. There would be more tomorrow as I thought of the ship's safe lying hidden at least six decks above me. That would be another dive. 


If you want to go.

Andrew Driver and Christine Dennison, owners of Mad Dog Expeditions International, organize and lead two expeditions a year to dive the Bianca C. The expeditions are one week in duration with twelve dives on the Bianca C. Two dives are conducted daily, the first at 0830 and the second at 1600. Run times are in the eighty to ninety-minute ranges.

Depths range from the sand at one hundred sixty feet to the bow at one hundred feet.

Accommodations were arranged at the Hotel Flamboyant which featured air conditioning with king size beds. The hotel is a two-minute walk to the Dive Grenada Scuba Center on Grand Anse beach.

Water temperatures are 78 to 82 degrees and the visibility is 40 to 100 feet.

Grenada has no Technical diving center so Mad Dog brings or arranges for the appropriate gear. Doubles, manifolds, stages, rigging, and sofnolime are made available Oxygen and Helium are ordered and supplied; although, on this trip, the helium did not arrive.

The wreck is no greater than a ten-minute boat ride from beautiful Grand Anse beach in a well-equipped twenty-five foot dive boat. Mad Dog has teamed with Dive Grenada Scuba for their able assistance. The crew helps load the gear and performs in a very professional manner with good cheer.


I managed to slip away to check out some of the other local dive sites. The Shakem is a wreck in one hundred feet of water near the Bianca C. She sits upright and offers a very pleasant and interesting dive. The reefs are beautiful with great amounts of fabulous living coral with little or no observable damage. Depths range from fifty to one hundred fifty feet.

Air transportation is relatively easy. Air Jamaica has daily flights to Grenada. Connections are generally made in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

Grenada is a beautiful, volcanic island with central mountains between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. It is North of Trinidad with a population of approximately 90,000, is twice the geographic size of Washington D.C., and has a constitutional monarchy with Westminster style parliament.

On October 19, 1983, a Marxist military council seized Grenada. The prime minister was executed and six days later US forces invaded the island. The Cuban advisors and ringleaders were quickly captured and free elections were reinstituted in 1984.

The food and restaurants in Saint George are excellent. Island specialties are prepared with a delicious Caribbean, spice influence. My favorites were Brown Sugar Restaurant and La Luna.

And most importantly...the Grenadians! They could not have been better. What great smiles and pleasant dispositions. I'll always remember their warmth and kindness.