Have this narrowed down now to the Triton or the Aquilo. Both were Lake Washington steamers of the early 1900’s. There is a team of JaWS divers planning to make a dive on the wreck here in the next couple weeks. Their objective will be to measure length, beam and draw so we can try and finalize which wreck we’re diving.
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.
A few months ago when I was out conducting side scan sonar work with Innerspace Exploration, we hit an area North of 520 that had a number of wrecks within close range of one another.
This area is generally known to the small group of local exploration divers, with the main wreck of the bunch being the YMS-359 – a US Navy Minesweeper that sits in 200ft of water and is about 135ft long. So I didn’t think too much of the information until last week when I sat down with the data and tried to match wreck names to target locations. As I matched coordinates to wrecks like Elfin, Urania, the previously mentioned YMS-359, Falcon, and Scout – I came up with one more set of coordinates than I had wreck names to match.
I bounced the general coordinates of this wreck off my friend Walter, who also has an extensive list of targets in the lake, and he couldn’t find a name to match either. So once again, I think we have a new target to explore…
The week of August 15th we’re going to make an exploration dive on the Coal Cars. I have wanted to hit these submerged targets for awhile, so we’re going to make a dive on them first. They are right up next to the 520 bridge, which can be really rough water depending on the wind conditions.
Post dive we’ll head to the new coordinates to confirm them one more time; and see if we can locate the wreck with a basic fish finder. If we confirm the position of the wreck, we’ll make a dive on it a short time later.