The wreck of the Caribsea lies in a comfortable 85 feet of water about ten miles east of Cape Lookout Shoals. The visibility in summer is on average about 40 feet but can range into 80 or 100 feet. The proximity to shore makes this one of the more frequently visited wrecks during the summer months. It is scattered and broken up due to the Navy Salvage Service, which depth charged and wire dragged it as a hazard to navigation in the spring of 1944. The bow section of the wreck extends to about 60 feet from the surface and the rest of the wreck is scattered in a roughly continuous debris field. There is a windlass on top of the bow and the anchors are still attached. The wreck is a popular hangout for the Atlantic Sand Tiger Shark with large schools of the shark staying over the summer. This friendly shark will watch with curiosity as the diver swims around his home. There are many other fish living on the Caribsea including grouper, sea bass, and damselfish.
The freighter Caribsea, previously known as the Buenoventura and the Lake Flattery, is but one of many victims of the German war machine. A most careful man, Captain Nicholas Manolis, ran her. Captain Manolis, having been told of the dangerous U-Boats lurking in these waters, took many unusual precautions to save his crew. The radio operator was only on duty at night with instructions to transmit an SOS at the first sign of trouble without orders from the bridge. The engine room likewise was told to run aback full in case of an explosion without orders from command. The lifeboats were equipped with hatchets to cut them away instead of trying to lower them normally. In spite of all these precautions they were no to help his ship.
The weather on the evening of March 10, 1942 was clear with fair visibility, around 2 a.m. the lookouts reported to the captain a tanker was in sight and that another unidentified ship was off the bow. A few moments later two torpedoes fired by the U-158 detonated against the hull. In three minutes the ship was lost. Captain Manolis' preparations were to no use however, no SOS was ever sent. The lifeboats were not launched and of a crew of 28 only seven were rescued the next day.