Lat 26 09.520 Lon 80 04.760
In the years right after the
Mercedes I was sank, the prices of those rusting old hulks on the
Miami river started to get pretty dear.
Buying, cleaning and sinking a coastal freighter went from just over 10 thousand to just over a hundred thousand faster than you could say "Holy Shipwreck!". And then the prices REALLY took off. The 97 tug "Airkok" was found and hauled up to Fort Lauderdale from Aruba where she was renamed "Jay Scutti" in honor of a distinguished member of the local maritime community, and sank in 1986 in 70 of water with her top rising to about 56. She sits proudly upright, somehow escaping the wrath of Hurricane Andrew, facing north and south.
The tug provided excellent experience for novice wreck divers during her first half dozen years on the bottom. A local instructor even went so far as to run a 'cave line' from the large entrance way at the stern to the forward hatch, passing by the engine room and hold along the way. He put it there as a convenient place to train divers for going into the caves and caverns in northern Florida, the fact it was a handy aid to first-time wreck explorers was simply a bonus. The bountiful currents have blessed the Jay Scutti in ways greater than many of her sister artificial reefs. Phenomenal growth of soft corals and invertebrates have all but closed off the passageway through the tug. Her giant propeller now only allows reef fish to swim between her blades where once divers, the size of football players, once swam with ease. It is not uncommon to find a good sized Atlantic Stingray or two lounging , half buried, in the sand by her stern, and occasionally, a giant Horse Conch will be seen trying and take a short cut across the sand on the landward side of the wreck.