Cuba

S.S. San Pasqual Shipwreck

Former WWI oil tanker played a variety of roles in history, its tantalizing rum-flavored scent being the only constant

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In 1920, The S.S. San Pasqual was launched by the Pacific Marine Construction Company in San Diego as one of the oil tanker ships of the World War I Emergency Fleet.

In 1921, she was damaged by a storm and docked until 1924, when she was purchased by Old Times Molasses Company of La Havana and used to store molasses in Santiago, Cuba. In 1933, she sank off the coast of Cayo Las Brujas, where she remains to this day.

Legend has it that due to rumors of the boat being haunted, no one ever recovered the stored sugarcane after she went down. Now, 80 years later, the sugarcane has fermented, producing a ship full of rum. “And it is true that when we toured the ship, over dozens of yards around, a delicious smell of rum just tickled our nostrils,” says an explorer who recently visited the now abandoned ship.

The same year it sank, the SS San Pasqual was hauled up and purposely run aground. It was then equipped with machine guns and cannons, and used during the World War II as a lookout for German submarines. At that time a bridge connected the ship to the shore, but it was eventually destroyed by weather. The Pasqual is also unusual in that it is a large concrete ship, which are no longer built and of which only a few dozen examples still remain.

During the Cuban revolution, she served as a prison for Che Guevara’s army. Since then, the ship has hosted fishing clubs competitions as well served as a base for divers. Eventually, the ship was converted to a 10-bedroom hotel, now closed. The ship is still accessible by boat from the mainland.

Adapted with permission from Exploguide.com dedicated to travelers looking for alternative and off the beaten track travel.

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Scent surrounding the S.S. San Pasqual shipwreck
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Only by boat from the Marina Gaviota (Tel : 35-00-13).
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