The Naranjito (Isla Gomera) is one of our favorite dives in the Murcia area, It’s also one of the most famous. Its is no surprise that it is one of the top dive destinations in the whole if Spain!
The 51 metre long cargo ship came to rest on the bottom of the Mediterranean sea on 14th April 1946, after a storm caused her cargo of Oranges to shift dramatically and for her to take on water and sink quickly. Unfortunately, not everyone on board was rescued by the local life boats and a few were lost due to the quick sinking and the rough conditions that night. The Oranges were washed ashore for weeks after the sinking, giving the wreck its more popular name of “El Naranjito”, Little Orange.
At only 1 mile from the coast, the wreck is easily accessible by boat, and makes a superb wreck dive. Sitting upright with the shallowest part at only 28 metres, the wreck is suitable for Advanced Open Water divers and above, perfect for nitrox to maximise your NDL and a great site for technical divers too. The deepest part of the wreck is the stern with a fully in tact rudder and propeller at 42 metres.
The dive starts by descending down the permanent mooring line, tied onto the Bow winch gear (1). This enables you to easily swim out in front and look back at the impressive sharp bow dropping to the sandy sea bed below. Then you can make your dive over the front hold towards the bridge which is still in tact and the shallowest part of the dive (2). The bridge structure offers a haven for schooling Bream, large Dentex, Damsel fish and even Barracuda. Then make your way over hold 2, keeping a look out for the free swimming Morays and large Grouper below (3). Here you can make the decision to either enter the engine room via the back of the hold or continue over the top to the stern. Entering the engine room at the back of the hold you can easily swim over the triple expansion boilers, still in perfect condition and out of the access door on the starboard side (4). If you choose not to enter the wreck you can see the boilers through the ventilation hatch on the Deck roof (5).
From the stern you can drop down to the seabed at 42 metres and swim around the large 4 blade prop and the rudder resting in the bed of clam shells that litter the bottom (6). Dive time will be ticking away quickly at this point, ascend slightly to the deck and then you can make your way back to the bow. As you swim along the rail you will naturally shallow up as the wreck lies at a slight incline towards the bow, remember to keep your eye out in the blue, and even above you for a glimpse of the Mola Mola (Giant Sun Fish) that frequently visit the wreck for cleaning, It has been known for these to appear in groups of 6 or more! Just before returning to the line its always worth a quick look into the foredeck head, often there are Banded shrimps hiding out in the bowl(7)!
As you ascend up the mooring line, keep a watch for the bigger fish in the blue and enjoy the safety stop in warm clear water. The currents can sometimes be strong here so make sure you hold on to the line!
If you want to dive the Naranjito you must be at least an Advanced open Water Diver. Nitrox and Deep diver qualifications are also a beneficial as you will have more opportunities to explore the whole wreck,
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