Hundreds of boats gathered at the edge of Halkett Bay, British Columbia last weekend for the sinking of British Columbia’s latest dive attraction, the former HMCS Annapolis artificial reef.
The 366 foot long destroyer class vessel sank 105 feet to the bottom of the bay in 2 minutes 1 second. A perfect sinking saw her rest level, and in the exact spot she was destined for. So begins her new life as a marine habitat and dive mecca.
The Annapolis project has seen many ups and downs throughout it’s 7 year span, but one thing that never faltered was the hope and enthusiasm of the volunteers that put in over 17,000 hours of work. Saturday April 4th saw the pay off for all the hours spent on board, mopping up oil, carry huge amounts of scrap metal off the boat, and cleaning from top to bottom – making the Annapolis the cleanest reef ever to be sunk.
The uniqueness of the Annapolis’ final resting place put her just 20 minutes from Horseshoe Bay – a stones throw away from downtown Vancouver, making her the first major artificial reef in the area, and the 8th in BC.
The sinking finalizes an ambitious Wreck Trek supported by the DIABC. Divers can get a free Wreck Trek passport from a dive store or charter, then have each wreck site “stamped” after a dive. The aim being to fill the passport, a feat no one has yet achieved.
The artificial reef is expected to give a boost to the local mainland dive industry, with shops, charters and instructors all expected to promote wreck, deep and nitrox courses, as well as increased gear sales and a rise in non-divers taking up the sport. It’s also hoped the artificial reef will give a boost to the local tourism trade as the Annapolis, and Wreck Trek will bring in divers from out of province and the US.
For now, local charters are already making trips to the wreck, with the first photo, video and even wreck specialty class having taken place.
The BC dive industry is definitely a-buzz with all things Annapolis – diving is very much alive and well in this part of the world!
The Dive Industry of British Columbia would also like to personally thank all the volunteers that made the project possible, the Artificial Reef Society of BC who endured throughout the 7 year saga, the former crew of the HMCS Annapolis that gave the project their blessing, all the local businesses that offered support and services to make the sinking possible, and to all the non divers that expressed support through the tough times.
So what you waiting for? Get your Wreck Trek Passport and go dive the Annapolis!