The Yukon was a Canadian destroyer escort, 366-feet long, 40-feet wide, with six decks and over 100 compartments. Now it is the one of the newest underwater playhouses. It sank on July 14, 2000 in San Diego’s “Wreck Alley” only 2 miles west of the Mission Beach roller coaster. Overnight, Wreck Alley became a dive destination.
Once a self-propelled barge equipped for kelp harvesting, the 100-foot long El Rey was cleaned and donated to the artificial reef program in 1987. It sits upright in about 80 feet of water. Much of its superstructure has collapsed. Its original appearance is difficult to imagine. Like the Ruby E, it is thick with invertebrate life.
The Ruby E began life as a Coast Guard cutter. Then named the Cayne; she was 156-feet long and 40-feet wide. It was later converted to a fishing vessel, then a salvage vessel, when it acquired its present name. In the late 1980’s it was donated to the artificial reef program, cleaned, salvaged, and sunk. It lies upright in 85 feet of water about one mile off of Mission Beach.
The Ruby E was opened up for diver safety. Though there are many access holes. All compartments receive some outside light. Highlights include the engine room with its pair of big diesels, and the props.
After 13 years on the bottom, the Ruby E is covered with life, including many big white anemones, rose anemones, and purple gorgonians.
The NOSC Tower was a research station built by the Naval Ocean Systems Center until it collapsed in a storm in 1988. It is a tangle of girders and beams from 30 to 60 feet, more open than a ship’s hull. It’s like a pile of giant tidily winks. Because the tower is a “Natural” wreck, it has more entanglement hazards in the form of dangling cables and tight corners. Broken beams jut out; a collision hazard especially when surge is high.
After thirteen years on the bottom, the tower is thickly covered with filter feeders like strawberry and yellow anemones, purple and brown gorgonians, hydrocorals, mussels, sponges, and urchins. Since there are many schooling fish like jacks and anchovies, fishing the tangle of beams is almost impossible, large rested schools of fish have developed.