As reported earlier here and here, the retired 523-foot military vessel “Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg” was scheduled to be sunk this month to become an artificial reef off the Floridian coast, and we can now happily report that everything has gone according to plan.

After being slightly delayed last minute by a sea turtle venturing into the sinking zone, Vandenberg was successfully put to rest roughly 7 miles south-southeast of Key West at 10:24 a.m., May 27.

Vandenberg reef Vandenberg sunk in 1 minute and 54 seconds

Once 44 carefully positioned explosive charges had been detonated, Vandenberg gracefully slipped below the water’s surface in no more than 1 minute and 54 seconds. It is now resting rightside-up on the sea bottom at a depth of roughly 140 feet (43 metres) in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

Divers and other underwater specialists are currently surveying the ship to make sure it is safe for the public to explore. Hopefully, Vandenberg will open up for public diving by Friday morning.

Over 20 cameras were mounted on the vessel to capture images of it descending into the blue, cameras that are now being retrieved by an underwater team.

Vandenberg is the second largest vessel ever intentionally sunk to become an artificial reef. In 2006, the 888-foot long USS Oriskany, also known as CV-34, was sunk in the Gulf of Mexico, south of Pensacola, Florida.