Boat Tours, Paddle-craft Rentals and Select Conveniences Temporarily Unavailable
Glass-bottom, snorkel, diving and island boat tours, and rentals for canoes and other paddle-craft, are temporarily unavailable. The park is working to resolve the issue as soon as possible and regrets the inconvenience. Limited snack items are available.
Elliott Key Harbor and Campground Closed Until Further Notice
Contractors began work to repair damaged boardwalks and marina at Elliott Key and the visitor center grounds. The marina and campground at Elliott Key are closed until the repairs are complete. University Dock on Elliott Key remains open for day use only. More »
Arratoon Apcar was built by James Henderson and Son of Renfrew, Scotland in 1861. This iron-hulled steamer measured 262 feet long, had a 35 foot beam, displaced 1480 tons, and was powered by a 250 horsepower engine.
The ship was named after the founder of her original owners (Apcar and Co.), an Armenian family who established a furniture business in Bombay, India. In 1872, the Apcar family acquired a much larger vessel, which they also christened "Arratoon Apcar", while the original ship was sold to H.F. Swan and registered in London.
The original Arratoon Apcar met its demise steaming to Havana on the evening of February 20, 1878 when Captain Pottinger miscalculated his position and ran aground at Fowey Rocks. Interestingly enough, lighthouse construction was well underway at that sight, and the steamship narrowly missed the platform where several workers were encamped. The crew attempted to de-water the ship for three days, after which point they manned their lifeboats and headed ashore. The nearby Tappahannock rescued the captain and all 24 of his crew. By March 12, foul winter weather had made the coal-laden ship a total loss.
Today, the wreck of Arratoon Apcar lies in ten to twenty feet of water near Fowey Rocks. The coral-encrusted lower hull and iron beams of the vessel can still be seen, along with some evidence of other structures, including remnants of the rudder and mast. The shallow depth of the wreck and the abundance of fish make it an attractive site for diving or snorkeling.
Did You Know?
In 2001, scientists taking a plant inventory in Biscayne National Park discovered a population of semaphore pricklypear cactus, one of the world's rarest plants. Previously known as only 9 plants in the lower Florida Keys, the new population numbered 570 plants...over 60 times the previous count.