THE GUARDIAN of the RMS Rhone



Excited estimates of his size and weight varied with a visiting diver’s ability to calmly assess the Guardian. The Guardian, as shown in the above image was a Goliath (Giant) Grouper that usually resided in the shaft tunnel of the shipwreck RMS Rhone. The general consensus was that he was in the range of between 600 to 800 pounds.

Not all divers referred to him as the Guardian. That was the name that a group of divers that I usually toured with had given him. To them and for me, it was a fitting name. Although he was never hostile, his girth was imposing and explorers of the shaft tunnel would quickly back away when they came upon him. Yes, he moved around, but the tunnel was his regular hang-out and that is where we would take SCUBA guests on our visit to RMS Rhone. Take a look at the image above and consider a face to face meetup with this fellow; all of which would occur in the restricted area of the shaft tunnel.  It would not be unusual to suck up at least half of your air supply during that encounter.

The dramatic and sad true story of the demise of RMS Rhone was, of course, the main attraction.  Guardian was a perfect special effect to go along with the entire history-based dive. You are urged to click here to learn more about RMS Rhone and its unfortunate end. For me RMS Rhone became the motivation for my short blog  and true adventure story, “Where Do Ships Go When They Die.”

None of our group ever made a dive tour to RMS Rhone without at least a quick hello to the Guardian. Sometimes we would not find him in the tunnel, but would find him lounging nearby in another area of the scattered wreck. The image on the left gives you some idea of the shaft tunnel area.  To enjoy more images of RMS Rhone you may go here.

One day, we arrived with a group of SCUBA visitors and regardless where we searched we could not find Guardian. This was quite unusual and we became concerned about what may have happened. Since we were conducting a tour we could not spend our entire air/dive time searching for Guardian so we worriedly continued the tour and left still not finding any sign of Guardian.

Two days later, we learned from a fellow diver that a fisherman had taken Guardian and actually had pictures taken of him and ‘his catch” at the waterfront on Tortola of the British Virgin Islands. The Guardian was gone! RMS Rhone had lost a vital part of its glorious mystery and we had lost a very much-loved friend. It has been 31 years since that happened and I still feel the sorrow and sense of loss.

Life in our watery universe is always endearing and makes an indelible impression that is rarely ever forgotten. Creatures such as Guardian and historic shipwrecks such as RMS Rhone are locked forever in our hearts.

Guardian, you are loved and missed to this very day.

IMAGE CREDITS:

Goliath Grouper: courtesy of Hooked In http://tinyurl.com/3ok9rlz

RMS Rhone: courtesy of Steve Simonsen Photography http://tinyurl.com/3reph3y

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2 Comments on “THE GUARDIAN of the RMS Rhone”

  1. rw Says:

    Goliath grouper – one of my favorite fish species. Enormous fish, reaching hundreds of pounds. It must have been an intimidating experience. Very nice article my friend.

    • XiNeutrino Says:

      Thank you for your kind words. First time we met it was awesome, and yes I sucked up most of my air 😉 We made many trips to RMS Rhone so we became friends. A very large, but very gentle creature. When he yawned, so-to-speak, his mouth was cavernous and he inhaled his daily meals with gusto.


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