Over the weekend I went out with 3 of my tech diving friends to search for the wreck mentioned below and we reprioritized the coal car exploration to another weekend. We met early in the morning and loaded our friend’s small boat with four sets of doubles, 8 deco bottles and 4 sets of the ancillary gear that divers normally bring along.
It was a short 1 mile trip from the dock, but when we got the boat on the coordinates for the expected target nothing was popping up like a wreck on the fish finder. That is a predictable experience when your coordinates are converted from Loran C. So we dropped a buoy in that location and began running circles around the buoy in an ever increasing radius type fashion. The hope being that the coordinates are going to be within a few hundred feet of the actual target. We spent a good twenty minutes running this search pattern and just about the time we were mentally thinking of other known targets we could dive (since we didn’t appear to be finding this wreck) a telling spike came up on the fish finder. After running over that spot a few times to make sure we really had a wreck underneath we mutually agreed that it looked like a target in the range of 60-80 feet long with a 5-10 foot relief off the bottom. So we repositioned our drop line on the wreck and prepared to make the dive.
Once we were all suited up and in the water we gear checked each other and then began the descent. Almost immediately I had some ear issues; having a hard time relieving pressure in my right ear. I fought this for awhile and almost gave up; but just as I was getting ready to let the other three go on without me, my ear cleared and enabled my decent to the wreck some 165 feet below the surface. The visibility was great all the way down and stayed good on the bottom. The four of us had the wreck illuminated really well with our HID lights and you could see the wreck out to distances of 20-25ft.
The wreck was a burned out steamer, about 80 feet in length, with a narrow 9 foot beam. Her charred hull was all that remained; with little clues as to her name. You could tell she was painted white at one time, and that she had a big cabin deck very similar to passenger ferries like the Acme or LT Hass. There is a strake all the way around her deck and some very basic framework still remaining.
We spent 20 minutes on the wreck and about 25 minutes in a slow decompression ascent back to the surface using 50% oxygen from 70ft up. With the viz being so good, we got some really good video of this one. It’s going to be tough to identify this wreck with the limited clues; I’ll post an update here later if anything comes up as a potential candidate.