SS Sapona Shipwreck

An Inviting Encounter with Sapona

Your amazing adventure starts at Bimini Undersea Office located at Fisherman Village. After a forty-minute journey through crystal clear waters, observing a beautiful landscape, you reach the Sapona. The first impression its visitors get from the sunken concrete structure is that of a “ghost ship” that lives in the middle of the paradisaical waters of the Caribbean.

Intended for War but Discarded in Peace

Intended for War but Discarded in Peace

In 1920 it was one of 17 concrete-hulled ships built in Wilmington, North Carolina, during World War I. Since they were inexpensive and would last indefinitely, according to the builders, they were commissioned by President Woodrow Wilson to serve as a troop transport, but they proved to be impractical since it was too heavy for its relatively small cargo capacity. 

Quenching thirsts during the Prohibition Era

During the Prohibition Era Carl Fisher, a Miami Beach millionaire developer, paid $5.000 for Sapona and had it towed to Miami where he intended to use it as a private club house off one of Florida´s upper cays. His plan proved unworkable due to government restrictions. Bruce Bethell, a merchant from Nassau who had moved to Bimini in order to make it an island warehouse for liquor, bought the Sapona, which met his prosperous business needs of larger and more private space for storing and selling his liquors.

Sapona’s unexpected fate in Bimini

While being towed from Miami to Bimini in 1924, it hit a submerged wreck of a Spanish Galleon and ran aground in its present resting place. Its owner Bethell decided to let it stay there. On September 17, 1926, a terrible hurricane with incredibly powerful winds, tore the stern off the grounded Sapona, and also devastated other properties of its owner leaving him penniless, thus ruining his plan of turning it into a night club. 

Target Practice during World War II

Incredibly, and despite everything it had to go through, Sapona remained active and became part of the military history of the United States, serving as a site for target practice for American training planes during the onset of World War II. If you look closely at his remains with a good snorkeling mask, you could entertain yourself trying to find some of the ammunition used, that remains in and around them, as special memorabilia from that part of his life. 

A remarkable part of the past that delights its visitors in the present

So, as you can see, Sapona has really never died and is presently more alive than ever. When you start diving or snorkeling around it your creativity flows trying to imagine the atmosphere that would have existed on the ship in the past.

References: Ashley B. Saunders, 2000. History of Bimini


It is located off the southern coast of South Bimini at just 3 miles from the shore. If you want to feel and live his entire past and present, book this four-hour excursion on board FRS Caribbean, an attraction impossible to miss that you can enjoy during your Day trip or stay over getaway.

References: Ashley B. Saunders, 2000. History of Bimini

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