The Barge, by its real name "Cantanhede", was part of a composition of three vessels, two barges, the "Cantanhede" and "Micaelense", and the tug "Marialva" in command.
The "Marialva" tug, built-in 1937, was registered in the name of SOFAMAR, Fainas de Mar e Rio Society and moved around 111 tons. Júlio Fernandes Parracho, a very experienced and knowledgeable man of the sea, had long been his Master and was on board that fateful night where, together with the other crew members of the three vessels, he found his final destination.
They set sail from Setúbal to Porto with a cement shipment. In the early evening, off Aveiro, the wind was blowing strong from the southwest and the tugboat sailed with nothing to predict the final outcome. According to the story, there was radio communication between the tugboat and the trawler Miragaia in which no setbacks were reported. Around midnight Mestre Parracho communicated via radio home, having contacted his wife and two children. By then the wind had turned strong to the northwest but not alarming because only poor shipping conditions and no problems aboard were mentioned. From this communication, all that has happened has remained with these men. When they arrived at their destination, they encountered a violent storm, which caused the wreckage and death of their 17 crew members. The "Marialva" crew consisted of 9 elements, the "Cantanhede" crew consisted of 4 elements and the "Micaelense" crew also consisted of 4 elements. It happened at dawn on December 7, 1959.
It is said that due to the storm, the barges began to sink in and sink. The men tried unsuccessfully to free themselves from the trailers, and when they sank, they turned and sank the tug.
It is also said that during this hustle and bustle, the Batelão collided with the "Marialva", a fact that deserves some credibility, as the bow on the port side of this wreck was dented as if it had hit something.
The second barge, the "Micaelense", built-in wood, eventually came to the beach of Madalena and the tug remains partly uncertain. On the beach came also the tugboat's wheelhouse, built of wood.
Since then, the "Cantanhede" Barge has been located approximately 3 miles from the coast, with its entanglement at the mouth of the Douro River, perched on a 27-meter-deep sandy bottom with a south-north orientation.
By the early 1990s the ship was still upright, with two perfectly divided holds, the wheelhouse aft, and a room below the aft deck where a wood stove was located. Currently, it is quite degraded, broken in half ship and with the stern and bow missing. Easily distinguishes the part of your load. The cement that petrified due to contact with water and which today forms a kind of rock inside the vessel.
Despite the poor state of conservation, it is an excellent dive where divers can watch a lot of life.
It is one of the best night dives you can do here.
Note that due to its location, it is a zone of strong currents and is often found near the wreck.
-- Spot description by Luis Mota
-- Photos by: Ana Ferreira, Miguel Miranda and Submania