Photos from a dive to the wreck of the Don Pedro, Ibiza

April 2nd, 2008 - 5:48 pm Posted in don pedro ibiza | Comments (0)

don pedro, ibizaThere’s a meeting today to discuss what will happen with the wreck of the Don Pedro that lies just outside the port of Ibiza. This months Ibiza NOW magazine has a full pictoral story of a dive that was undertaken to the Don Pedro.

Some extracts and pictures. You can see the full article if you buy the magazine or you can also see the article on the main Ibiza NOW magazine website.

Professional diver Rex Hallam and his wife Marta discovered a legal loophole that allowed them to dive down to the shipwreck, which is officially off-limits to the public.

The photographs here are a small-scale sensation in their own right – because by all rights, they shouldn’t even exist.

They depict the wreck of the “Don Pedro”, the cargo ship that sank in the summer of 2007, nestling in the bright blue waters in front of Eivissa’s harbour.

Legally speaking, the sea around the wreck is a restricted area. Anyone diving down to explore the wreck is taking their lives in their hands, and the warning written in big white letters on the hull, still visible under the seaweed, is no empty threat – the professional divers who removed the dangerous materials on board the ship have written: “Entras pero no sales” – You may get in – but you won’t get out…

The moment that you spot that hulking shadow down below and realise what those first dark shapes are, it really takes your breath away…”

don pedro, ibizaThe two people sitting opposite us look very much like your average couple. Rex Hallam is British and has been living on Ibiza for three years. His wife, Marta Cortes, is Spanish. In the water they are in their element and the “Don Pedro” has been their Holy Grail from the moment she disappeared beneath the waves last July.

“We just had to go down there to see it, explore it,” Rex says, explaining the urge to visit the wreck. Marta adds: “The same day that the salvage vessels finished their task of getting rid of the poisonous materials on board, I called up the port authorities. I wanted to know whether we were allowed to dive down to see the Don Pedro.”

The response was short, sharp and discouraging: “The area around the wreck is off-limits. You are not permitted to travel there by boat.” Marta persisted: “What if we swam there…?” “No, under no circumstances may the area be accessed from above the water.” … “What if we were under water?” “Whatever you do underwater is nobody’s business but your own.”

It turned out that the regulations really did only apply to whatever happened out of the water. A legal loophole meant that it was possible to reach the wreck by swimming there underwater. So they moored outside the restricted area and dived down a couple of metres before following their compasses to reach the place where the ship sank.

“It was like magic,” Rex continues. “All you can see below you is the deep blue sea. You don’t even know exactly whether you’ve found the wreck or swum past the site. If you don’t pick the right moment to dive down, you’ll miss her altogether. Then, when you think the time is right, you let yourself sink slowly down into the depths, equalising the pressure increase as you descend.

don pedro, ibizaYou find yourself staring down to try to make out a silhouette. Something seems to emerge from the blue background. Too vague to be the wreck. Have we reached the seabed already? Did we pick the wrong spot? But that’s not possible; we haven’t gone deep enough yet… or is the water so clear that we can see all the way down to the bottom?

Then the silhouette starts moving, and as we get closer, we realise that it’s a gigantic shoal of small fish that opens up like a curtain to let us through as we approach. The fish shine like silver in the rays of sunlight that have managed to pierce the waves above. And then I see something. It’s dark and straight and solid. It’s the funnel of the Don Pedro.

She lies on her on the port side, looks peaceful and unreal, and the first strands of seaweed and coral have already started to leave their mark. Plus, there are fish – fish everywhere. They’ve adopted the wreck and made her their new home. It’s full of artificial caves, offering them hiding places galore and good protection. Even though the Don Pedro itself is no more, she is helping new life to flourish here.”

The rest of the article is on the Ibiza NOW magazine website in “The Magazine” section and also in the “Activities” & “Scuba Diving” section

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