Annapolis Sinking - Soon To Be Vancouver's First Artificial Reef

The former HMCS Annapolis being readied for sinking near Vancouver, British Columbia

Breaking news: As of January 19, 2013, we are still waiting for an update from the ARSBC. We know they are very close!

In the meantime, check out this beautiful series of paintings that is being created, based on colors and textures as seen through the trained artistic eyes of artist (and Annapolis clean up volunteer) Nancy Anna Brown.

The tentative October 6th sink date was postponed in order to ensure this will be the best and safest artificial reef possible.

More details about the pending sink date to be posted as soon as they become available.

The March 2011 Annapolis Sinking announcement has Vancouver divers (and divers from all over the world) excited about the Vancouver area's soon to be first and only articicial reef - the former HMCS Annapolis!

I have talked with Howie Robins, President of the ARSBC in the past about the Annapolis Sinking Project, and have wanted to volunteer my time but never seemed to have the chance.

But on March 26, just days after hearing the Province of British Columbia had officially accepted the former HMCS Annapolis as a gift to be sunk as an artificial reef and marine enhancement program in Halkett Bay, I jumped at the opportunity to help and to be a small part of Vancouver diving history.

It was still dark when I got up and readied myself for a day of hard, dirty work, but I was excited about helping out, grabbed my toolbox and headed to Sewell's Marina in Horseshoe Bay where we were to board the 'Topline', Vancouver's best dive charter boat for the ride over.

The Topline, the newest addition to Vancouver's dive charter boatsI had met the owners, Jan and Kevin Breckman before, but I hadn't seen there new dive boat, the Topline.

It was older, but very spacious inside, with a covered deck and lots of amenities and plenty of room to suit up.

Great for all-weather, year-round diving in Vancouver, British Columbia.

As we left Horseshoe Bay with our group of divers and other Annapolis volunteers (divers and non-divers all coming to help), we saw a pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins, which although was considered unusual a year ago when they first arrived in Howe Sound, it is now a fairly common occurrence and is considered a sign that the waters of Howe Sound are once again becoming healthy after years of abuse by local mining and forestry companies.

The Annapolis

The stacks of the Annapolis, the newest addition to Vancouver's best dive sitesAfter about 20 minutes, the Annapolis came into view at a location near Halkett Bay where she is temporarily moored while being painstakingly cleaned and readied for sinking by the ARSBC and their many amazing volunteers.

The idea of the Annapolis sinking sounds great and fun - but until you go and see the size of the ship and the magnitude of the project, the work that has gone into it, and the work that has yet to happen, you don't realize what a huge undertaking this project really is.

Our hat goes off to those who have worked so hard to get to this point, and we congratulate you for getting the letter from the government for the sinking, and I appeal to any divers (and there buddies) to get out there and help these guys!

Be a part of BC dive history.

Our group of around 8 volunteers, some divers and some not, some local and some not, males, females, young, or slightly older ; ) along with Howie Robins and Doug Pemberton from the ARSBC, all busted our butts from the moment we got there.

Previous Annapolis Sinking volunteer groups had prepared rooms, hauled cabinets, ducting, pipes, wires, motors, gears, and anything else that was metal or that needed to be removed into the hallway, and it was our job to haul it out of the ship and onto the deck where Wes and his boys were sorting and preparing to trade the scrap metal for some much needed funds to help cover part of the costs of the project.

Remember the ARSBC is a non-profit organization and is completely operated by volunteers so any help or donations that you can offer is very much appreciated!

You can tell the passion and dedication of the ARSBC group is top notch.

With no reward for them other than the satisfaction of being the leaders in safely cleaning, prepping and sinking wrecks to become underwater dive attractions and to provide marine life habitat where there was previously barely any life, these guys give up an amazing amount of time,energy and their own resources to complete these projects.

First diver holes cut in the hull of the former HMCS AnnapolisSo much work has been done already, and the ship looks like she will be an amazing artificial wreck once she goes down.

In the picture here you can see where diver access holes have been cut already, and this is going to be one of the first artificial wrecks where every single room will be accessible to properly trained divers.

Combine that with the helicopter hangar on the top deck and this will be a great dive for many levels of divers.

There is still the Annapolis sinking environmental review and permit/approval process to go through, and as yet no date for the sinking is known.

To be kept up-to-date, fill in the form on the bottom of this page and we'll send you updates.

And if you want to be on one of the first charter trips once it is open to the public, we'll send you those details as well.

To volunteer or to donate to the ARSBC, go to the ARSBC website.

Howie Robins of the ARSBC cooks the volunteers burgers on the helicopter deck of the AnnapolisAfter around 3 hours of some pretty heavy-duty work by the amazing volunteers, Howie called us up to the helicopter hangar for some famous ARSBC cheese burgers.

The break was nice, food was great, and chocolate drops supplied by one of the volunteers were fantastic.

But after a quick tour of the ship by Doug, it was back to work.

We could go on about the work we did on the Annapolis today, but instead I feel humbled how little my one day of volunteering for the Annapolis sinking is compared to the amazing passion, dedication, and effort put in by the ARSBC team, the many other volunteers, Wes and his crew, and Kevin and Jan from Sea Dragon who volunteer their time and boat to get everybody out there.

Once she goes down, we are confident that everything possible will have been done to ensure there is no negative impact to the area, and that this is going to be a safe and wonderful dive site for locals and other experienced divers from around the world.

After the Annapolis sinking and once she is open for diving, please, please be courteous and considerate to all who live or boat in the area, and to the environment. Be respectful.

Dive safe and have an amazing scuba diving vacation in British Columbia.

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