Thermocline Exploration: September 1-12, 2023

Ready for some real exploration?

Thermocline has an ambitious schedule for September of 2023! This will be our first summer of a yearly exploration program and we are going to make the most of it! We have two fully equipped dive vessels and a RHIB to work as a combined chase boat and taxi, and a dedicated team of support personnel so it should be an adventure! We will be able to support 12 divers a day on the various sites and locations. The dive sites range from previously explored and documented wrecks where we wish to update their status, to unknown targets that have been on the Underwater Archaeology Society of British Columbia's (UASBC) Wishlist for sometime. We want to provide opportunities for technical divers and recreational divers alike who all share the common goal of exploration and who wish to connect their passion with a purpose. 

Divers will be able to join us for part or all of our scheduled program. The exact details of how these dates are going to be broken up will follow later this spring.  The important thing is for you to get on the distribution list to be included in updates as we juggle dive sites and dive times that are affected by currents and weather.  

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How to join us:

While it would be great if you had the full two weeks to join us on this adventure, we understand that most people don't have that much time. So we have arranged to break this trip into four sections so that divers can choose what adventures they would like to be part of. All costs are based on a $200 a day, per person charge. Because the logistics are fairly complex, it is not possible to pick and chose one day here, and one day there. We are trying to accomplish some goals in these dives and they are different for each section of the larger trip. All charter fees are non refundable. If you can't make it for some reason after you have signed up, its likely we will have a waiting list so if we have someone else to take your space, then we can refund your fees. There are a maximum of 12 spots available for each of the four sections. Once those spaces are filled, we will put names on a waiting list. Once you are signed up, you will start receiving emails with details about the dives. At this point we are only taking 50% deposits to join the trip and you will receive emails in the beginning of July to submit the balance. Fees will include a hot lunch between dives. Once we have all the spaces filled, there will be a trip manager for each section that will start working with the divers to develop the diving schedule and what is to be accomplished on each dive. This is true exploration and we will be doing some pretty awesome stuff!

Join Admiral Knight Dives September 2-3
Join Henry Foss, Black Dragon, George McGregor Sept 5-6
Join Royal Bay dives Sept 8-9
Join Royal Bay dives Sept 10-11

Sign up here to express your interest in participating in our Fall, 2023 exploration program. 

We will use this list to keep you up to date with news and developments and to provide early bird sign up links to the exploration dives as they become available. 

We plan to begin our program with two days of survey and exploration on the SS Admiral Knight. At the same time, our other primary diving platform will be re-visting the Del Norte and looking for the wreck of the Mary Hare.


SS Admiral Knight

It was big news when UASBC and GUE divers first found this wreck in the early fall of 2022. One of the first divers on the wreck, Ewan Anderson, wrote a terrific article about the wreck and that article may be found here:

Our first trip to the Admiral Knight left us with more questions than answers and we have a lot of work to do on this wreck. Because it is a deeper wreck, our limited time at depth means we need to allow more time overall to generate a good wreck survey. There are parts of this wreck that lend themselves well to photogrammetry and we still don't know what many of the cargo items are on the wreck site. It's an exciting wreck to dive and home to terrific examples of PNW marine life. Because it is all alone on a relatively flat sea floor, it has become an artificial reef of sorts for some truly huge fish! We plan to conduct two days of diving on this wreck. 

The Admiral Knight sits in about 190' (57 m) of water so this is a GUE Tech 2 dive or equivalent. 

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Mary Hare

The Mary Hare was launched in September of 1893. She was a steam driven, single screw vessel, approximately 73' long and nearly 14' wide. The vessel was named after the daughter of the purchaser, Michael Hare. The Mary Hare was a busy ship and plied the waters of the PNW. The UASBC has been searching for the wreckage of the Mary Hare since 1982 and made several dives along Reid Island. There are records about what happened but the location itself is a bit vague. The plan this time is to use DPV's and a methodical search process to see if we can finally find the wreckage of the Mary Hare. This dive will be in the recreational range and likely less than 70' (21m).

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 Henry Foss 

The Henry Foss is a 100' tugboat originally launched in 1900. She worked in Puget Sound until her loss on February 13, 1959. She sank quickly and with the loss of six crew members. We have the exact location for this wreck and it has been dived by UASBC members several times but the visibility and current can make the dive challenging. It is not considered "deep" by technical diving standards, laying in about 115' of water, but the fact the poor visibility can make it seem deeper. This poor visibility makes this wreck a perfect subject for photogrammetry where we can assemble a collection of images to build a model of the wreck that we would otherwise not be able to see.  

The Henry Foss sit in 115' (35m) of water and this places it in the GUE Tech 1 range or equivalent. 

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 Black Dragon

The Black Dragon is one of a series of four migrant ships that travelled from Asia to Vancouver Island, carrying several hundred illegal Chinese migrants. All four ships were apprehended off the BC Coast in 1999. The Black Dragon sits in about 48 meters of water in an area with quite a bit of current and must be dived on the slack. The vessel was under tow when she began to take up water and because it is the only feature in the area, it has become an artificial reef to some of the biggest ling cod around! Some Thermocline members have dived the Black Dragon before and report that it is an excellent dive with a wreck sitting upright and covered with life. It makes for a very cool dive and we don't have very many photos or video of it. We hope to change that!

Because the Black dragon sits in 165' (48 m) of water, this is a solid GUE Tech 1 dive or equivalent. 

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George McGregor

On November 26th, 1949, The tug George McGregor sunk just off Trial Island with the loss of six of her seven crew members. The 74' tug was originally built in Olympia in 1943 and even worked in Alaska with the United States Maritime Commission. The only survivor was found straddling an overturned life boat near ten mile point. There were originally six sailors on the lifeboat but five of them perished as the life boat was adrift. This was one of the most significant maritime tragedies in the area during that time period and the George McGregor still has not been found and identified for sure. This is high on the UASBC Wishlist and we are going to try really hard to confirm this target is in fact the George McGregor. The currents can be strong in this area and it will required a lot of flexibility with our dive times. This is a Tech 1 dive but the expected conditions will mean the team should be experienced and we will have at least two chase boats to track teams drifting on deco. Adventure! 

This is a 155' (47 m) dive which means it is a solid GUE Tech 1 dive or equivalent.

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Royal Bay mystery wrecks 1-5

These five wrecks are a significant goal for our September trip. We honestly know very little about them other than that we have targets, sonar images and GPS coordinates. We have one meagre report of one of the wrecks which is intriguing but incomplete. Some more experienced archaeology divers have suggested that some of the wrecks look military by their shape but we won't know until we get there! The sonar images clearly show hull shapes so we could find some of the wrecks in relatively good condition. These wrecks are all deeper and suitable only for experienced Tech 2 and equivalent divers. Our exact planning and schedule for diving these wrecks will be fine tuned later in the summer when we have a better look at the GPS coordinates being supplied by the Canadian Hydrographic Service. We can't think of any other place in the world where you could find five unidentified wrecks that are all accessible from the same jump off point. We should expect current and depth and...ADVENTURE!

All the Royal Bay wrecks are between 180'-250' (53 m - 75 m) which means they are all GUE Tech 2 dives or equivalent.  There may be an opportunity for T1 divers to act as support divers on this part of the project so if you are interested, please contact me directly at [email protected]

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Sign up here to express your interest in participating in our Fall 2023 exploration program. 

We will use this list to keep you up to date with news and developments and to provide early bird sign up links to the exploration dives as they become available.