The mesmerizing area of La Paz and Espiritu Santo is famous among divers and nature lovers for its remarkable wildlife in and out of water. Besides amazing diving in La Paz, you can swim with whale sharks and California sea lions, magnificent creatures sure to make a memorable experience to every diver, but you can also enjoy some world-class wreck diving!
As a PADI Wreck Specialty Instructor, and with several years of experience diving the best wrecks all over the world, I feel like those we have here in La Paz are some of my absolute favorites ! From the C59/USS Diploma wreck, to the Salvatierra sunken ferry, and of course the stunning Fang Ming ship wreck.
This is why I prepared a special La Paz wreck tour, just for you.
What’s the story behind the Fang Ming wreck?
The Fang Ming was a Chinese fishing vessel later transformed into a cargo ship which got caught in the month of April of 1995 by the Mexican Navy, while on an illegal mission to smuggle immigrant Chinese workers to the US. 88 men and 7 women were found on the Fang Ming, kept in horrible unsanitary conditions in an extremely confined space. Needless to say, the immigrants never made it to their intended destination, Puerto San Carlos in Baja California Sur, but were eventually deported back to their homeland.
Following this incident, the Fang Ming remained confiscated but some people had bigger plans for it. A few visionary and far-sighted Seawatch members thought it could be a perfect artificial reef and started gathering funds and obtaining the necessary permits, while cleaning up the vessel, removing potential hazards to divers and widening the openings for better penetration and light access. On November 1999, the Fang Ming was deliberately sunk on the bottom of the chosen area, outside of the navigation paths, at a maximum depth of 72 feet or 22 meters, on the West side of the island, protected from winds and swells and close enough to a magnificent coral reef. SOURCE : Seawatch
It was the first vessel ever to intentionally become a shipwreck in Latin America, sunk as an artificial reef in the Sea of Cortez, and is today one of the greatest dive attractions in the Espiritu Santu National Park.
Photo © Underwater Paparazzi, Nick Polanszky, Seawatch
The Fang Ming a unique dive site !
The dive is exciting and simply full of life. Thanks to the Seawatch’s forward-thinking reclamation process, it is today, after over 20 years underwater, very well preserved and intact. The dive develops between 48 and 72 feet (14 to 22 meters), which makes it perfect ground for beginners as well as advanced divers.
Fang Ming dive site
- Location : La Paz
- Dive site type : Shipwreck
- Wreck Length : 180 Feet (55 meters)
- Deepth : 72 Feets (22 meters)
- Level : Open Water
- Marine life : Green turtles, Angelfish, Parrotfish, Groupers, Snappers …
Since it was sunk intentionally, preparations have been made beforehand and therefore passages were opened and wide cuts were made in the hull to facilitate divers’ penetration, which reduces potential dangers and hazards. This makes this 55 meters long ship wreck a wonderful playground, where divers can safely explore the inside of the ship without great concerns. Photographers and videographers will also appreciate the openings, which let so much light penetrate into the wreck, allowing them to take beautiful, jaw-dropping, almost mystic shots.
As to marine encounters, brace yourselves! Being declared a no-fishing zone and protected by the Marine Park status, the Fang Ming wreck, locally known also as the “Chinese Wreck” is thriving with sea life. Divers can easily see green turtles, angelfish, parrotfish, groupers, snappers and even lazy sea lions resting on the deck! This proves how artificial reefs can boost marine life and create a very healthy underwater environment.
Experience Wreck Diving with us in La Paz!
For an unforgettable day of wreck diving, we leave at 6 AM from Cabo San Lucas and arrive after 2 hours in La Paz Mexico; from there, it takes about 40 minutes by boat to reach the dive site. Here at Cabo Private Guide we like to enjoy a two-tank dive at the shipwrecks of this area, to maximize the fun and the enjoyment of this full day trip. After the first dive on the Fang Ming wreck, we move to a second wreck, the 65 feet long US military boat named C59/USS Diploma wreck or even the Salvatierra shipwreck.
Photo © Filip Staes , Underwater Paparazzi
While the full day 2-tank dive tour comes with all comforts, including shaded boats, emergency O2 and first aid kit, and even a delicious seafood beach picnic after the dives, I recommend this trip in the summer season, when the weather is at its best in the channel: you’ll be up for a truly incredible adventure!