By John Nunes, MSDT & TecRec Instructor
In July 2012, a few Directors from Shipwreck Exploration and Conservation Society (SECS) joined divers from The Edge Diving Centre, on an epic adventure to dive one of British Columbia’s most interesting shipwrecks, the Transpac.
In terms of dive equipment, we were a diversely mixed team. I was one of three PADI Tec Sidemount Divers. Two other divers were completing their Tec Trimix course on this trip, and last but not least, we had one closed circuit rebreather diver in all his bubble-less glory. The deep nature of these dives necessitated the use of trimix gas blends and an assortment of decompression gases.
First, some Transpac history. Originally named Moose, she was built as a 155 foot offshore supply vessel for use in the oil fields in the Gulf of Texas. She was delivered to her owners, Petrol Marine Corp. in 1968, from Burton Shipyard in Port Arthur, Texas. Moose had numerous “Gulf” supply sister ships, all with big game names: Caribou, Waterbuck, Impala, Elk, Buffalo, Gemsbok and Eland. In her later years, Trans-Pacific Seafoods from Seattle acquired Moose and renamed her Trans Pac, for operation as a fishing trawler in Alaska.
On the night of November 22, 1986, while heading northbound for the pollack fishery in the Bering Sea, Transpac was struck in the side by the 200 foot freighter, Sunmar Sea. The collision punched a hole in her starboard side near the engine room. The captain attempted to beach the sinking vessel to no avail; the steep shoreline of Princess Royal Island did not offer salvation. Without warning, Transpac capsized, and her bow remained up and out of the water before sliding below the surface along the wall face. Tragically, one of the crew members pitched into the sea on that fateful night was never seen again. Three survivors swam to shore, a fourth was picked up by a nearby vessel.
It now rests on a ledge at an 80 degree angle vertically on the wall.
Yes, this wreck is a wall dive!
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