It was a bad day for current (April 18, 2010), but I was hoping that Pilot Bay would be sheltered enough for another try at finding the Barnard Castle wreck. I anchored near shore on the West side of the bay (but farther in this time), took a compass heading on the point across the bay and swam out. It was low tide and I swam out across a plain of eelgrass 15-20 feet deep. Even this far into the bay, the current was pretty strong, but I could swim against it so I kept going. Visibility was only about 10 feet. I didn't see any wreckage and I eventually surfaced to find myself almost on the other side of the bay. I swam out deeper 20-25 feet deep and started swimming back. Eventually I came across some chunks of iron scattered around and then there was a metal wall about 3 feet high sticking up from the sand. This is probably what's left of the side of the hull. There were also lots of large chunks of coal lying around. The current was even stronger out here, but I swam on. A dark shape loomed up in front of me and it was one of the huge boilers topped with stalked kelp. This one was off by itself on the sand about 10 feet away from the wreck. I swam back to the iron "wall" and there was another boiler in the middle of what was once the engine room. There was another short wall (the remains of a bulkhead) near the boiler and lots of iron plates with rivet holes lying around. The end of the boiler was full of holes from the boiler tubes. Each hole had a shrimp looking out of it. It was like an underwater highrise apartment building. The current here was too strong to swim against. I had to pull myself along the bottom to go anywhere, but I could duck behind the "current shadow" of the boilers and the larger pieces of the hull. There was an information plaque near one of the boilers, probably placed there by the Underwater Archaeological Society of B.C. (UASBC). It was covered in silt. I tried to clean it off, but underneath the silt, it was obscured by some kind of black algae. Just past the boiler, there was a length of the shaftline and the stern tube, plus more large sections of iron plating. There was another plaque nearby. This whole area is the middle of the wreck according to the UASBC site plan. My maximum depth here was 33 feet. Apparently, if you swim along the wreck (towards the stern) farther out of the bay, the hull is more intact, but I was already pushing it with the current so I clawed my way back along the wreckage past a Puget Sound king crab and made it back to the shallower, eelgrass-covered area. There was a pair of Puget Sound king crabs out here too. I also saw a buffalo sculpin sitting next to a dead kelp greenling. Back on the shore, I saw seals swimming around in the bay and a raccoon picking around in the intertidal zone. I'll have to come back to have a look at the stern portion of the wreck on a reasonable-current day and when the visibility is better.
looking across the bay
first view of the wreckage
begining of scattered wreckage
wall of hull remains
next to iron wall
iron wall
iron plates
iron wall with exposed rusty area
iron wall
black chunk of coal
orange tunicates and pink coraline algae on boiler
next to boiler
stalked kelp on top of boiler
iron sheets with rivet holes
iron sheets
looking past piece of metal leaning against boiler
wreckage, stalked kelp and boiler on left
boiler tubes
boiler tubes
UASBC plaque next to boiler
aftermath of trying to clear silt off plaque
side of hull?
jumbled wreckage near boiler
in front of boiler
next to boiler
black rockfish
large iron plates
overgrown UASBC plaque
black rockfish and coal
holes in iron plating
stern tube on left and kelp-covered wreckage on top
next to stern tube
looking under wreckage with stern tube on left
looking under wreckage with stern tube on left
looking at opening to stern tube
metal plates and boiler on left
iron plates with rivet holes
swimming back along wall of hull
Puget Sound king crab
overhanging part of wreckage
overhanging wreckage
pointing at coal
fish-eating anemone on iron wall
fish-eating anemone
fish-eating anemone
Puget Sound king crabs
Puget Sound king crabs
attempt at self portrait with Puget Sound king crabs
red rock crab
buffalo sculpin and dead kelp greenling
buffalo sculpin
anchored at low tide