Scuba Diving with Dodge Colts and Charlie’s Rock

Location: Austin Island, wreck of the Vanlene, Barkley Sound, west coast Vancouver Island, British Columbia

Comments: We had a super smooth downhill slide last night from Quatsino to Barkley Sound. The seas smoothed right out and it was flat as a pancake as we steamed past Tofino and Ucluelet. Scuba dive #1 was on a pinnacle that I call Charlie’s Rock – this is quite an emotional place for me as I had just put scuba divers in the water on an exploratory dive here when I got a call that my son, Charlie, had been born. It was tough to be away for something like that and the “name” of the site seemed obvious to me! It’s a very nice Barkley Sound dive with lots of plumose and strawberry anemones as well as good fish biodiversity.

Dive #2 was on the wreck of the freighter, Vanlene. This poor old ship was well off course when it crashed into Austin Island with a full load of Dodge Colts. A lot of the cars were salvaged by Okanagan Helicopters but you can still see lots of remains of the Colts that got left behind. Everything from tires and engine blocks lying in the sand to an intact red station wagon with a sticker on the windshield in the front of one of the holds (at least, it was intact last time I dove on the wreck). Question – why were Dodge Colts being shipped across from Japan? We wrapped the day with a delightful and interesting tour of the Bamfield Marine Biological Station, ex Bamfield Telegraph Station, which was the last link in the great red line that circled the British Empire and the world.

–Captain Mike


Weather: Sunny with cloudy periods, light winds, calm seas, temperatures in the 60’s.

Water: Water temperature 46°F.  Visibility not that great at 15 feet or so.

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