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The wreck of  l’Arroyo


France, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, La Seyne-sur-Mer, Var
The Arroyo site is located in the Natura 2000 area Embiez-Cap Sicié (fully marine area)
No restrictive regulatory protections
Arroyo wreck (and Arroyo gardens nearby)

Reference system

WGS 84

Maximum depth

20m / 36m
Medium (
levels 2/3)

The wreck of the Arroyo is a renowned dive site, due to its heritage interest and its relatively easy accessibility, which attracts many divers. However, there is no precise estimation of the frequency of dives on site.




and natural


Description of the site of natural interest

The underwater landscapes around the islets of Les Deux Frères present a remarkable architectural diversity: to the southeast, a wide rocky plateau, colonized by erect species of coralligen (large sponges, forest of orange gorgonians and white gorgonians) ends with a sub-vertical drop- This site has a great diversity of habitats (herbarium with Posidonia oceanica, rocky drop-offs, semi-obscure caves, coralligenous habitats) sheltering determinant and remarkable species (Pinna nobilis, Corallium rubrum, Scyllarides latus, large gorgonaires) as well as a rich ichthyofauna. The local conditions, strong offshore swell, constantly renewed water, allow a good quality of the seabed and a good biodiversity of the fixed fauna and the fish stands.
The ecological interest of the wreck mainly lies in the relatively well-developed stands of Red Gorgons. They are particularly present on the stern, the dunette, the capstan and the mooring bits. The hole in the chimney hides congres. The wreck is also a landmark for capons and octopus.  Sars and castagnoles gather in vast banks around the wreck.
A number of remarkable species can be seen in the site and its rich surroundings, such as brown grouper, corbs … dolphins regularly cross in the area as well (bottlenose dolphins, blue and white dolphins).

Description of the site of cultural interest

The Arroyo was launched in 1921. Equipped with tankers, its mission was to distribute drinking water to other boats and troops of the French army. It was 55 meters long and weighed 682 tons. Its engine had a power of 875 hp. The Arroyo was used in Indochina until 1953, then repatriated to Toulon. The French Navy then decided to sink it for the G.E.R.S (Underwater Study and Research Group), in order to serve as a training site for combat divers. On August 18, 1953, she was towed near the islet of Les Deux Frères. It is Commander Philippe Taillez, at the origin of the creation of the G.E.R.S and pioneer of scuba diving in autonomous scuba suits (with his comrades Frédéric Dumas and Jacques-Yves Cousteau) who directed the operation.
Sixty kilos of dynamite were placed in two spots: 20 kg for the tanks and 40 kg in the engine room. The deflagration destroyed a part of the hull. The ship did not sink to the intended point. A slight current deported it, and the bow smashed on a rocky pit.
This wreck lies 36 meters deep. It broke into two parts on a rock. You can go from one side to the other under the break. The wreck rises to a depth of about twenty meters.