From Galeao to Buenos Aires

Foto: Clécio Mayrink

One of the trademarks of wreckdiving in the city of Rio de Janeiro is the shipwreck of the german packet Buenos Aires that sunk due to a collision to the Rasa Island in 1890.

The wreckage is already dismantled but is a great diving and the proof of this is the great amount of divers that visit this dive point every year. This shipwreck are in dephts from 12 to 40 meters e this profile make both recreational and technical divers very happy.

A few years ago, the existance of another shipwreck next to the Buenos Aires was comented and people start to call it “Galeão” (an armed nao).

The “Galeão” receive this name because in the spot, part of ships of diferent times, human bones, e ammo. The presence of itens of steamships and another utensils of the nineteen century tell us that maybe, this area is in part, parts of the Buenos Aires, that lies 400 meters from the “Galeão”. The sea conditions in the area and the demolition works realized on Buenos Aires in the 60´s can make this theory be true.

There are records of battles on the coast of Rio deJaneiro and some people say that the privateer Fournier lost one ship near to the Rasa island and there´s also a recordo of the shipwreck of the brazilian ship “Ferreira Primeiro” that sunk in the same area in 1869. Unfortunately ,it is not possible to confirm that this facts really are related with the “Galeão”. The “area called Galeão” is a mysterie to be solved.

In the beggining of 2001, I´ve heard an incredible invite for a dive: Make a connection underwater between the “Galeão” and the Buenos Aires. This incredible idea came from my friend and collaborator of the Brasil Mergulho, Paulo Tessarollo. Tessa – as he is known by his friends – together with ours friends Lelis and Clarice, was doing this dive for while and having sucess.

The depht of the dive was of 22 meters, the distance between the both areas was 450 meters andthe presence of currents and cold water means that an underwater navigation was very difficult. The solution was to follow a cable put before the dive using a 500 meters cable, fishing weights and GPS marks. Very anxious to see and participate of this dive that we named “The Crossing”, I , Sergio Amorim and Clécio Mayrink join Tessa, Lelis and Clarice in January 2002 to make this operation.

Arriving at the Rasa island on board of the Trawler “É Verdade” , we set to the GPS mark of the Buenos Aires, where we drop the first buoy with weight and we start to release the cable in the direction of the GPS mark of the “Galeão”. To avoid the flotation of the cable, we fix fishing weights to it. When we finally reach the “Galeão” mark we drop the last buoy and the preparations for the dive starts.

We decide to make the dive from “Galeão” to the Buenos Aires. The Buenos Aires is a better option to finish the dive because of the slowly decrease of depht in the spot. During the “Crossing” is possible to see the many itens, some of them buried that named the place. After 40 minutes of diving and a lot of expectation, we reached the Buenos Aires and the final fase of the operation taking advantage of the slowly decrease of depht and the beauty that only a wreckage like the Buenos Aires can have.

Due to the profile of this dive such as: bottom Time, depht, presence of currents and cold water, the “The Crossing from Galeão to Buenos Aires” must be realized by technical divers with minimum certification of Advanced Nitrox. The use of gas mixtures is recommended and the probability of decompression using the lift bag is huge.Include this aspects on your dive plan and good dive !

Congratulations to the people that create this dive:Paulo Tessarolo, Lelis J, Clarice e Eduardo Davidovich for the kindness, simpathy and fellowship.

Rodrigo Coluccini
Criador e proprietário da Revista Deco Stop, foi um dos responsáveis pela divulgação em larga escala das informações sobre naufrágios no litoral brasileiro, fato antes restrito a poucos. É co-autor do manual de naufrágios da certificadora PDIC. Seu trabalho é citado em vários livros atuais sobre história maritima brasileira confirmando a importância de seu trabalho.