HMCS Cape Breton

• Depth: approx 130 ft depending on the tide

The Cape Breton went down in a blaze of glory on October 20, 2001.

Okay so it was carefully planned pyrotechnic display. Whatever! The entertaining event was a sight enjoyed by many. Spectators from all around the island and mainland attended the sinking by way of private boats or aboard a BC Ferry provided for the much publicized occasion. The event even included a re-enactment of bomber aircraft swooping across the sky and firing upon the Cape. In turn, the Cape ‘exploded’ huge fire balls of bright orange and yellow flames, black smoke billowed from its decks and she began her decent to the ocean floor while the watching public cheered and blared their boat horns in final farewell.

The actual sinking took only 3 minutes and 37 seconds. The evidence of her plummet to the bottom is plain to see by the gaping crack that runs from port to starboard across her main deck just behind the stack.

The Cape now sits in about 130 ft of water.  The top of the radar tower is (depending on the tide) approx 60 ft down. The main deck varies in depth between 85 – 100 ft (again depending on the tide).

The large hulking mass sits silent and inviting or eerie, depending on your personal view of wrecks.

Life is teeming along its decks. We’ve seen seals, octopus, grunt sculpins, and of course massive ling cod. The anemones are growing plentiful and thick as is the other life settling on it. It seems that life has sprung up much faster on the Cape, the general consensus being life on the Saskatchewan has helped to start and feed the Cape.

If you like to penetrate wrecks, the Cape is fairly diver friendly that way.

Large holes have been cut into the sides of the ship to invite wreck divers with easy access into its dark depths. There is much to explore on the Cape, it takes much more than a two tank dive to see just the main deck, bridge and radar tower.
On a really good vis day (that would be sometime in the winter months), float off the side of the deck and look down to where the bottom of the ship sank deep into sand when it hit bottom, you’ll get a good feel of the immense size of the wreck. And, check out the life growing on the anchor lines, these clumps of life make a good photo op. Find an upside down fish (yes, we’ve seen them and we weren’t marked). They’re usually inside the bridge, floating upside down near its ceiling. The Cape is an excellent dive and one you’ll want to return to again and again.

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