Barkley Sound

On the May 4-5 weekend seven intrepid members; Alistair, Bronwen, Eric, Holger, Jacques, Jiri, and Paul; braved the balmy, mediterranean clime of Vancouver Island west coast.  Truly, the sun was blazing away over a basically flat sea for seventy-two hours.  There wasn't even fog to put a blemish on the expedition.

These incredible conditions allowed us to access the wreck of the Valencia.  Ah, there had to be a hitch!  Yes, the upper 7-10 meters of the water column was already full of plant and animal life.  Yes, the viz was less than two meters.  Once you and your partner got below it together,  you could actually see pretty well.  The team located the two main anchors and two others that had been in the hold.  All the main parts; ballast, engine, shaft, bow, etc.; of the wreck are aging normally.

We then searched for the remains of a mystery wreck just inside Cape Beal.  There was a report of coal and brass pieces on an un-charted pinnacle next to Execution Rock.  It was a fantastic critter dive (very reminiscent of Renate's Reef) but we could not find any remains.  (What else is new?)

On Sunday the flat sea seemed to render the surface life even thicker.  We tried to dive as a group, but couldn't even make it through the first five meters together.  Not to worry, with good lights the wreck of the Vanlene opened up in front of us with incredible clarity the deeper we went.  This wreck, too is changing with time.  All the shipwise bits are there, but they are slowly altering in orientation.  The cars are disintegrating; we could not even locate the three that were last seen in hold #6.

We finished off with the Orpheus.  Clearing through the bloom brought one to incredible viz which allowed a view of almost the entire remains.  It is rare that one can hover so high above a wreck and see all the bits and pieces in perfect position.  Everything must have settled right down once the wooden structure was eaten away.  It is so easy to imagine the ship as she once was.

There was room for one more diver on the Michelle Diana (run excellently by Brian Gisborne).  How could it be that someone didn't jump in?  No matter, get yourself on the next expedition.  (Jacques only provides high quality!)  Eric