The Diamond Knot Wreck

Diamond Knot wreck - photo courtesy Scott Stevenson

The Diamond Knot wreck is another very popular Pacific Northwest wreck dive site for advanced, tec, and experienced/trained wreck divers, and comes with an interesting history.

Although it is located in the American waters of Washington State, the Diamond Knot wreck site is close enough to Victoria on lower Vancouver Island that Pinnacle Scuba Adventures, one of our preferred British Columbia dive charter operators, makes several trips there each year (usually combined with a fabulous dive at Race Rocks as well.)

In the early hours of the morning on August 13, 1947, after safely making it through many dangerous voyages during WWII, this 326 foot (100 meter) 5,525 ton freighter was being used to transport 7 million cans of fresh Alaska salmon to Seattle when disaster struck.

Diamond Knot wreck - courtesy Scott Stevenson

Steaming north through the dense west coast fog, the 10,000+ ton freighter Fenn Victory suddenly appeared and within seconds her bow struck the starboard side of the Diamond Knot, slicing a large gash into her as well as entangling the two damaged freighters.

Distress calls went out immediately and tugs from Victoria and from Washington quickly came to try and save the ships. But while the Fenn Victory only incurred minor damage, the Diamond Knot was critically damaged and filling fast with water.

Efforts were made to tow her to safety, but the weight of the rushing water and the currents in Crescent Bay, Washington were too much and she sank to the bottom in 40 meters (135 feet) of water and now lies on her starboard side.

Given the value and importance of her cargo, innovative salvage techniques were used to cut open the sides of her holds and vacuum up the cans of salmon.

Of the 7 million cans on board, over 5.7 million were recovered (which means you may still find a can of Alaska salmon if you look close enough?)

Why Dive the Diamond Knot?

Tons of marine life on the Diamond Knot - photo courtesy Scott Stevenson

The Diamond Knot is a very popular dive for many reasons, including the size and shape of the remnants of the ship, and the variety and quantity of life that covers her as a result of the nutrient rich waters of the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

While portions of the structure have collapsed as a result of natural salt water decomposition and the large holes that were cut into her, it is completely covered with anemones, hydroids and sponges of all shapes, colors and sizes, barnacles and mussels, scallops, various types of crabs, and numerous other interesting invertebrates.

Also within all the encrusting life, you may see numerous sculpins, gunnels, warbonnets, red irish lords, and loads of other little critters that are great for macro photography, and lazing, floating or swimming around the Diamond Knot wreck, you may see giant ling cod, black, blue, yellowtail, canary, china and quillback rockfish, wolfeels, greenlings, cabezon and more.

War bonnet on the Diamond Knot wreck - courtesy of Scott Stevenson

The Diamond Knot lies on her starboard side in around 135 feet (40 meters) at the bow, with the port side at around 70 feet (20 meters). The mid-section has collapsed as mentioned above, but the stern and superstructure are still intact and trained wreck divers can penetrate the cargo holds which are open thanks to the giant holes cut to access the tins of salmon.

Due to the depth, deteriorating conditions, changing currents and visibility, we recommend the Diamond Knot wreck for Advanced divers and beyond, and suggest you go as part of a group with an experienced charter operator such as Pinnacle Scuba Adventures.

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