July 21-22, 2017: The British Merchant Navy was vital to Britain’s war effort and was referred to as the forgotten Fourth Force. Their ships carried all sorts of cargo from food, fuel and raw materials to troops and equipment. Hitler knew his best chance to win WWII was to starve Britain and cause her war machine to grind to a halt. During the course of the war, 4786 British merchant ships were lost and over 30,000 merchant marine sailors were killed.
The Empire Mica was just such a ship. A 463-foot-long British Liberty Ship, the Mica was filled petroleum distillate and headed home from Baymont, Texas. German U-Boat sightings were reported along the Gulf coast but, due to her load, the Mica was restricted in her ability to maneuver in shallower water. In essence, she was a sitting duck. On June 29, 1942, she was torpedoed and sunk in 108 feet of water.
Since its sinking, the US Navy has used the Mica for torpedo practice, reducing it to a pile of rubble. Since 1942, the Empire Mica has been dived by thousands. The enormous propeller in front of Capt Anderson’s Restaurant is from the Mica.
At 4:00 on Friday afternoon, July 22, we will be headed out for the Mica aboard the Island Diver, a 65-foot crew boat. This overnight trip will include the opportunity to make as many as four dives, including a dusk dive on the evening of the 21st. We will return to Panama City on Saturday afternoon, July 22. We also have a Gulf Shores trip scheduled for Sunday, July 23, so you can make a weekend of it.
Be aware that depths on the Empire Mica can exceed 100 feet. Sufficient prior training/experience is essential.
The Island Diver is a 65-foot converted crew boat that sleeps up to 24. A light dinner on Friday evening, followed by breakfast and lunch on Saturday, will be provided. There is a community ice chest in which you can store drinks and other items. You will need to bring a sleeping bag and towel.
Who is This Trip Ideal For?
This may be the perfect trip if you:
- Think that diving is the best way to spend a weekend.
- Are looking for an long weekend dive trip within easy driving distance (five hours) of New Orleans.
- Think that wreck dives are what make life worth living.
When/Where Does It Take Place?
You will need to be at Panama City Dive Center and ready to board the boat no later than 4:00 pm Friday afternoon, July 21.
The boat will return at around 6:00 pm on Saturday, July 22.
How Much Does it Cost?
Trip Pricing: Pricing for this trip is as follows:
- Base price, per diver: $399
Deposit and Balance Due: Requirements are as follows:
- $200 due at signup.
- Balance due July 8.
- You must cancel at least two weeks in advance to be eligible for a refund
What’s Included: The basic trip price includes the following (if applicable):
- Overnight accommodations on board
- Dinner, breakfast and lunch on board
- The opportunity to make up to five dives, conditions permitting
Not Included: Travelers are responsible for the following (if applicable):
- Transportation to, from and around Panama City
- All personal dive gear, including tanks for four dives
- Crew gratuity
- Saturday night hotel in Panama City, if desired
Additional Requirements: Travelers must supply:
- Diver and/or Nitrox certification cards
- Dive insurance
- Signed waiver and Statement of Understanding
- Personal dive gear
- Audible and visual surface signals, reel or spool
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