Dive Nanaimo, Vancouver Island, BC
Scuba Diving in Canada
Scuba Diving in British Columba
Your Hosts ... Dave, Marlene & Christopher
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Gabriola & Flat
Porlier Pass
Hornby Island
Campbell River
HMCS Saskatchewan
Watch the
  Saskatchewan Sink
HMCS Cape Breton
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A Fantastic Pyrotechnic Display Put On By Alpha Blasting Of Victoria! On October 20, 2001 at 12:40 pm, The Honorable Judith Reid, MLA, The Honorable Mike Hunter, MLA, His Worship Mayor Gary Korpan and John Ruttan, Chairman of the Nanaimo Port Authority, simultaneously pushed the two detonation buttons and the Cape Breton cutting charges were exploded. Moments later a fantastic pyrotechnics show was enjoyed by several thousand boaters and ferry patrons. It was a sad, but beautiful sight, to see this mammoth World War ll Naval Vessel sink in 3 minutes and 37 seconds.The Cape Breton is the world's second largest artificial reef after the Speigel Grove in Florida!

The Cape Breton sank perfectly upright, albeit it with a very slight list to starboard, in 140 feet of water just a few hundred feet A Slight List Before Settling Perfectly Next To The Saskatchewanaway from The Saskatchewan. The Crow's Nest is at approximately 40 feet and is accessible to all divers. The bottom of the engine room is at 138 feet and is an advanced dive. The engine room will become British Columbia's signature dive as the engine was removed leaving a beautiful cavern with cool pipes and catwalks twisting about. The engine room was my favourite spot to climb into and think about all the people who had worked on the Cape Breton and all the miles the ship had traveled around the world.

For you history buffs, here is a short history of the HMCS Cape Breton.

HMCS Cape Breton was launched in 1944 at the Burrard Drydock facility in North Vancouver, British Columbia as the HMS Flamborough Head. Flamborough Head was one of a series of ships intended to operate with the British Pacific Fleet in the war against Japan and for the recolonization of Asian territories. While they were under construction, the Royal Navy was experiencing a severe manpower shortage. To this endHMCS Cape Breton: The World's Largest Artificial Reef!, Sir Winston Churchill attempted to get Canadian Prime Minister Mackenzie King to provide Canadian crews. This offer was refused by the wartime Canadian leader for political reasons. Ultimately the war ended before the whole class was completed and several completed as merchant ships. HMS Flamborough Head commissioned into service of the Royal Navy in North Vancouver in 1945. It sailed from Vancouver and remained in active service with that service until 1952 when purchased by the Royal Canadian Navy. The ship commissioned as HMCS Cape Breton at Halifax on January 31, 1953.

Ships of Canada's Naval Forces 1910-1981 by Macpherson and Burgess states, "She served at Halifax until August 25, 1958 as a repair ship and training establishment for technical apprentices. Converted to escort maintenance ship at Esquimalt, she was commissioned there on November 16, 1959 for service on the West Coast. On February 10, 1964, Cape Breton was paid off into reserve, but since 1972 she has functioned as a towed mobile support facility and accommodation vessel at Esquimalt, designated Join Us In Nanaimo For The 250 for $500! Fleet Maintenance Group (Pacific)." This was undertaken from a semi permanent position at the old "C" Jetty at the Esquimalt dockyard; being known unofficially as "Building 100." When this old dock area was demolished as part of the base redevelopment of the late 1980's, Cape Breton was berthed across the harbour adjacent to the Public Works Graving Dock, sometimes referred to as "D" Jetty. With the completion of the dockyard redevelopment and the advent of superior shore based facilities, Cape Breton was declared surplus and assigned to the reserve fleet in Colwood. Various attempts at returning the ship to peaceable service or preservation after have not led to fruition. 


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The Buccaneer Inn
1577 Stewart Avenue
Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada V9S 4E3
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