In the last three weeks we’ve had a number of dive teams on the YMS doing initial exploration. The wreck has now been penetrated in a number of areas, but so far no designation numbers or other identifying marks have been found.
The primary points of entry have been in two areas: the pilot house and the main cabin below the pilot house – with both areas offering further pentration opportunity once inside.
In the case of the pilot house, there is a small room aft that appears to have been used as sleeping quarters. The space is very tight, with various debris making exploration difficult.
In the case of the main cabin, there is an additional door forward which has not yet been breached, and a small opening with ladder that leads staight down into the belly of the ship. This lower deck beneath the main cabin has now been explored, both forward and aft. We had hoped that there would be a path that lead from these rooms below the main cabin back to the engine room, with an exit opportunity through the hole in the stern deck where the engines were removed. Unfortunatley this is not the case. The path forward leads to a deadend as would be expected this close to the bow, and the path backward appears to lead to a solid wall – possibly a firewall separating the engine room from lower sleeping quarters.
The lake visibility has been particularly bad the last three weeks, but the interior visibility of this wreck has been completely horrible. We have divers talking of not being able to see their own 18W HID lights, rust and other particle matter continously falling from the ceiling, errant wires hanging about, it is just generally a nightmare in there. 100% of those that have entered the room below the main cabin have exited via touch contact with the cave line they established on the way in. Very dangerous.
JaWS Diver Scott Boyd (www.boydski.com), who is known for taking some of the best underwater wreck photos ever captured in Lake Washington, was on the wreck this past Sunday as my dive partner, but we’re all going to have to wait until the visibility clears up before we get to see any of his photos.
I include a photo below to show established & expected penetration paths. ‘X’ marks a known deadend and ‘?’ marks paths yet to be explorted.