I'd heard on the Internet about some wrecks in this area so I drove up (Oct. 12, 2007) to have a look. This one is a 100-foot or so steel barge off Union Bay (a bit South of Courtenay). The bay itself has a boat-launch ramp in the middle and on the right, there is a rubble breakwater with some picnic tables and a large propeller. At the tip of this breakwater there is a rope tied to a rock (unless it is low tide, this rock will be underwater) that leads out to the wreck. I parked by the ramp, swam out across the shallow bay (only a few feet deep) to the tip of the breakwater, found the rope and followed it out. The bottom was a flat plain of silty sand with some beds of eelgrass in the shallows. I swam and swam. I didn't see much except for some sunflower stars and giant nudibranchs (many of them were swimming in mid-water for no apparent reason). There were also swarms of moon and water jellies floating above me. Visibility was around 20 feet as long as I didn't stir up the bottom. Eventually the rope crossed a ridge about 10 feet high that went up to around 30 feet deep. I assume that this is the remains of the huge old dock that used to stick out from the left-hand point of the bay. There were some small scraps of metal laying around, but I didn't stick around and swam down the other side of the "hump" following the rope. The rope led to a few large rectangular blocks (concrete?) with short metal legs sticking up from the tops. There was a large school of perch, some copper rockfish and an octopus in it's den under a block. This obviously wasn't the barge so I continued to follow the rope out farther. Eventually, after about 500 PSI, I reached the barge at around 55 feet deep. The first thing I saw was the sloping bow covered with orange and white plumose anemones. There were several copper rockfish and a couple of brown rockfish under the overhang. The sides of the barge were mostly bare except for the occasional sunflower star. I swam around to the stern and it was covered with plumose anemones as well. There were even more copper rockfish here and there were the obvious signs of an octopus den (scattered crab shells everywhere). I swam around the port side and again, there wasn't much life here on the side. Someone with a sense of humour set up a ladder leading to the top of the deck so I followed it up. The flat top was covered with wood decking and silt. the decking had rotted away in places, exposing the steel deck underneath. There were no large holes rusted through yet, so there was no way to get inside the barge that I could see. There must be a huge open area inside that would make for an interesting swim when it becomes accessible. There were a few small lingcod and more giant nudibranchs on the deck. I was running out of time so I followed the rope back past the concrete blocks to the "ridge". Out of curiosity, I surfaced to see where I was and sure enough, I was just off the Northern point of the bay. I was pretty much out of air so I swam back on the surface (not that far) to the ramp. Overall, the life and topography reminded me of Porteau Cove, but with a bit more of a "historic" feel. I don't know if I'll be back for awhile (long drives drive me nuts), but If I lived closer I'd probably come here quite a bit. There's also the option of following the old dock site out underwater and looking for "treasures". This used to be one of the busiest ports in B.C. (loading coal). If you forgot your drysuit at home you can even buy a new one across the road at the dive shop (Union Bay Dive and Kayak). They run charters in this area (including Hornby Island) and are pretty knowledgeable about directions to local shore dives (I'm sure they're the ones that installed the rope).