UNDERWATER ARCHAEOLOGICAL PARKS

Description

Around the Azores Archipelago the government created five protected Archaeological Underwater Parks. These Archaeological Parks reflect the history of the Azores as an important location during the 15-17th century discoveries and as a centre of sailing and shipping traffic. All sites protect shipwrecks from different eras and show the importance that the Azores had for ships crossing the Atlantic.

Baía de Angra do Heroísmo

The Archaeological Underwater Park of Baía de Angra do Heroísmo is located very close to shore in Terceira Island in the bay of Angra do Heroísmo. Compared to the other archaeological parks in the Azores, this park does not protect one ship in particular, but a number of archaeological sites in the bay. The underwater park can be considered a true underwater museum, as it shows how important the city of Angra do Heroísmo was for trans-Atlantic maritime traffic. Based on historical reports, there should be over 90 shipwrecks located in the bay and most of them have not yet been discovered. The most accessible dive site is the Brazilian wreck Lidador that sunk in the bay in 1878. It lies just two minutes from the harbor at a maximum depth of only 11m and thus can be accessed by snorkel. Also, in the same bay, one can find the Anchor field, a popular dive site at 15-30 meters depth. As the name already reveals, it’s a field of anchors that were lost on the rocky shores.

Slavonia

The Archaeological Underwater Park Slavonia is another shipwreck in shallow waters, off the southwest coast of Lajedo at Flores Island. The park protects the area around the Royal Mail Ship (RMS) Slavonia. It lays at a depth of 5-15 meters and can be easily accessed by snorkel or SCUBA diving.

Dori

In Ponta Delgada, on São Miguel Island, at a depth of 15-20 meters rests the tramp steamer ship Dori. The Archaeological Underwater Park Dori protects the site where the ship sunk in 1961 on its way from Germany to the United States of America. It is the one of the most popular dive sites of São Miguel and loved by wreck divers due to the great condition of the wreck.

Canarias

The Archaeological Underwater Park Canarias is located in the shallow waters close to Praia Formosa on Santa Maria Island. The Spanish ship Canarias sunk in 1871 and transported troops during the Ten Years War between Spain and Cuba that lead to Cuba’s independence. Today the wreck harbours an excellent artificial reef with a thriving marine life.

Caroline

Off the coast of Areia Larga on Pico Island, at 8-10 meters depth, lays the French sailing vessel Caroline, sunk in 1901. The Archaeological Underwater Park Caroline protects the impressive 98 meters long and over 3000 tons heavy wreck.

Why are they important?

Overall, the Archaeological Underwater Parks aim to protect and promote investigation, monitoring and valorisation of the maritime heritage of the Azores.

Discover it!

All sites can be visited either by SCUBA diving or snorkelling.

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