Bell Island Wrecks
When I first heard about a dive trip to Newfoundland to dive Bell Island Wrecks, I was intrigued. The trip leader was talking about intact wrecks with rich history, very good visibility and abundant marine life. In addition, icebergs and whales were supposed to be plentiful in July, at the time of the trip. Having always wanted to visit Newfoundland, I figured that even if the wrecks would disappoint, then at least I would get to see my first ever iceberg and/or whale.
Well, apparently, Mother Nature had other plans that year and did not bother making enough ice up North, so there were no icebergs near Bell Island. And after a number of exiting hours riding the zodiac and hallutinating about the whales whilst staring into the fog and empty ocean, I came to realize that I was not going to see the whales either. And the wrecks? The wrecks exceeded my wildest expectations. So much that I kept coming back again and adain.
Other than a few extra exits and entrances made by torpedoes in the hulls of the ships, they were in amazingly intact shape in earlly 2000's with superstructures, cargo holds, engine rooms, anchors, rudders and other features still present on most of them. With the passage of time, the two of the shallower ones, PLM and Saganaga since deteriorated but the two deeper ones are still in very good shape. Props have been salvaged in earlier decades from all but PLM, but that prop was stunning. The marine growth on the deeper two, Rose and L. Strathcona, was unbelievable and reminded me of Truk Lagoon - Rose Castle even has some soft corals.
The company organizing diving in Newfoundland is called Ocean Quest and the people that run it are simply amazing. It is a family business and they make you feel like part of the family. In 2013, they made the new addition to their fleet that was very much apprectiated by the divers - the new dive boat with the diver lift at the back.
Updated July 2013 - Added pictures of the interior of Rose and L. Strathcona and updated some outside shots that are showing the deterioration. Also got to dive the site near old whaling plant in Dildo, NL to hunt for scallops and see the whale bones and marine life. (see Whale Bones page). Also created a separate page for Jellyfish.
Non-diving activities - In 2013, I spent a week exploring the Gros Morne park. Those pictures will be uploaded shortly.