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Wreck Dives   by Laura Radford

Roatan’s reef has been the demise of many ships over the years. In fact, I surfaced from a night to find strangers on my dive boat. The wet and disheveled group included a parrot in a woman’s purse, the captain’s drenched and exhausted Irish wolfhound that was sleeping on my dive bag, and several American tourists from the Midwest. They had spent the day fishing on a chartered boat out of West End. On the way home they lost their bearings and turned into, subsequently crashing onto, the reef off Sandy Bay. Fortunately no one was hurt.

That boat was pulled from the reef, but thereRoatan Honduras - Anthony's Key Resort are two excellent wrecks that are regular dive sites, El Aguila and The Odyssey.

El Aguila

El Aguila (the Eagle) is a 230-foot cargo ship intentionally sunk of Anthony’s Key Resort (AKR) in 1997. It originally sank off Utila, then AKR bought it to use as an artificial reef. It is widely accepted as the best wreck dive on the island (I have my own ideas- see The Odyssey). It lies in 100+ feet of water right off the reef. While it is very deep and you will need to carefully watch your bottom time and air, the end of the dive can be made by gradually climbing up the reef offering a very relaxing and leisurely ascent.

Penetrating the Wreck

Thanks to hurricane Mitch, the ship is broken into three main pieces. It is hard to imagine a better layout. Penetrating the wreck can be done easily in many locations and a reel is not needed. Ambient light is strong enough to navigate by but to really enjoy the wreck, you should bring your own light.

Marine Life

The words “giant green moray eel” usually strike fear, or at least trepidation, in hearts of most divers. However, El Aguila is home to a very friendly giant green moray. I am sure that he (or she- who can tell?) is fed by some divemasters, but ours merely banged his tank announcing our arrival. The eel left his coral head home off the bow of the wreck and came swimming right at us. He looked at us for a moment, swam right through the group, then disappeared only to reappear periodically throughout the dive. He even paused briefly for photographs. I really am not kidding.

Eagle Wreck, as it is sometimes called, is also home to nudibranchs, scallops, encrusting sponges, and anemones. Large grouper are almost guaranteed and a colony of garden eels live in the sand just off the reef.


Laura Radford is a writer and a PADI certified SCUBA Instructor.  In 1995 after completing an MFA in Creative Writing she moved from Alaska to Costa Rica where she taught diving and lead SCUBA tours.   She later returned to her home state of California where she worked as a high school English teacher. 

Currently Laura is working as a freelance writer and is traveling and diving in her free time, which is most of time.  She was drawn to Honduras by the extraordinary diving off the Bay Islands but was lured to mainland by Honduras’s natural beauty and fascinating history.

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Many thanks to Laura Radford for her articles and photos on Roatan diving and Honduras.

Laura would be glad to answer any of your Roatan diving and Honduras diving questions.  She may be reached


Health of the Reef
Fish Den
Mary's Place
Bear's Den
Wreck Diving
The Odyssey
Roatan Overview