1733 Spanish Galleon Trail: Explore the Spanish Plate Fleet disaster of 1733.

Tres Puentes

Situated under 15 feet of water in a vast sandy area dotted with streaks of sea grass, the wreck of Tres Puentes (three decks) is slowly sinking into the seabed. She is thought to have been one of two ships in the 1733 fleet: the foreign-built, 212 3/8-ton Nuestra Señora de Belem y San Juan Bautista, owned by Francisco Lebrum and captained by Diego de la Corte y Andrade, or the English-built, 296-ton nao Nuestra Señora de los Dolores Y Santa Isabel (also called El Nuevo Londres or the New London) owned by Nicolas de Castillo and captained by Antonio de Loaysa.

At Vera Cruz, registered silver, brazilwood, cochineal, indigo, sugar, tobacco, hides, and some citrus were loaded on Tres Puentes. Sailing from Havana in the main body of the fleet when the hurricane struck, the vessel was carried through the offshore reefs and struck bottom in 19 feet of water on the seaward edge of Hawk Channel with decks awash and hull flooding. Spanish documents relate that both Tres Puentes and Herrera were grounded close together at Matecumbe El Grande (Upper Matecumbe Key) and totally flooded. All of the people aboard were saved, and most of the valuable cargo was recovered.

Just inshore of a shallow rocky shoal where the ship struck bottom in 1733, one can see a small mound of fire coral-encrusted ballast stones that marks the top of Tres Puentes ' partially buried gravesite. Trending northwest and southeast, the ballast is the typical egg-shaped rock carried by most of the 1733 fleet ships. While not extensive, the wrecksite supports a habitat for blennies, puffers, tangs, skates, gobies, and conch.

Location: 24° 53.612'N 80° 35.012'W

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