On 5 December 1992, the former HMCS Chaudière became the first Destroyer Escort ship converted to a reef by the Artificial Reef Society of British Columbia to be sunk in BC waters. Located off Kunichin Point in Porpoise Bay (Sechelt Inlet), this is still a popular destination for avid wreck divers.
We had the pleasure of attending a very fun 25th anniversary dive with members of the ARSBC and BC dive community. New lines were installed on the wreck, helping to make it a safer and easier site to dive for the future, photos aplenty were captured by underwater photographer Diane Reid, and we shot some very nice video which you'll see on this site in the next few days.
Howie Robins, President of the ARSBC supplied a birthday cake in celebration, whilst Kal Helyar of Porpoise Bay Charters supplied us with fanciful accommodations (amazing yurts!).
The Chaudière was the first Destroyer Escort ship converted to a reef by the ARSBC. She was purchased from the Department of National Defence for – wait for it – one dollar, plus seven cents for GST.
The ship is 366 feet long, weighing in at 2900 tons. When it sank it fell on its side, making for an unusual and unique wreck to explore. The wreck has a good amount of life on it, lots of plumose anemones, some ling cod, rockfish, and lots of tunicates, even a few deep glass sponges.
If you're looking to dive the Chaudiere we'd recommend contacting your local dive store and asking if/when they'll be visiting. Or you can contact Porpoise Bay Charters.
For more information on BC's artificial reefing program, visit the ARSBC website.