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The Eagle, then known as the Raila Dan, was launched at Werf-Gorinchem, Holland, in December 1962 as a conventional hull freighter. She had several owners and seven name changes after her launching. On October 6, 1985, she caught fire. Two U.S. Coast Guard cutters responded to her distress call, but the ship's superstructure was destroyed. After being declared a total loss, the Florida Keys Artificial Reef Association purchased her for $30,000 and Joe Teitelbaum, a private citizen, donated another $20,000 to help create an artificial reef. The ship was then named the Eagle Tire Company, and was cleaned, gutted of all wooden parts, and all oil and fuel was removed to protect the marine life in the area.
The Eagle has a number of interesting structural features that make it a notable dive attraction. A large anchor chain exits the hawse pipe on the port bow, and continues a considerable distance before disappearing in the sand. Two large mast assemblies rest on the bottom. One is set on the forecastle; the other, amidships between cargo bays. Each has its own ladder and observation platform in place. Toward the stern is a tandem set of cargo booms. Heat damage from the fire can be observed in the stern quarter. The deck railings at 70 feet, and her propeller and rudder at 100 feet, are still intact. In 1998, the Eagle was broken in two by Hurricane Georges.
Marine Life Commonly Observed on this Site:
Watch for these fish: grouper, snapper, cobia,amberjacks, silversides, and grunts.
Look for these plants and bottom dwelling organisms: green algae, sponges, sea rods, sea whips, black coral, branching fire coral, and starlet coral.Back to Diga's HomePage