Ship Type: Converted Car Ferry
Lifespan: Built 1947, Scuttled 1985
Location: Wolfe Island, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
GPS N44.13.5580 W76.24.9860
Everybody who dove the Wolfe loves it for various reasons, I used to dive the Wolfe every year on my BIrthday but never planned. The story of the Wolfe Islander 2 (redux) starts in the 1940’s when the Ferry was condemed and 2 WW2 Landing Barges were put into use as the Wolfe Islander 1 and Wolfe Islander 2. So at the same time the war in the Pacific ends and the plan for 35 transport ships was shelved. 3 Ships were built in Collingwood for the Allied effort and one in process. (hull 132, Ottawa Mayhill; hull 133, Ottawa Mayrock; hull 134, Ottawa Maytor, hull 135, Ottawa Maybrook). So through political wrangling the Wolfe Island Reeve, Kingston Mayor and an ex mayor worked thier magic and the Wolfe Islander was “born” Work started in modifing the former war asset coastal frieghter began.
In the fall of ’46 sea trails were completed and the name changed to Wolfe Islander and finally 6 November they headed to Kingston with crew of Wolfe Islanders? from the Ferry industry, The trip took 11 days and at one time a deck hand was left behind, grab a cab and met them at the next stop and some bad weather as well but they pulled up the the Clarance Street Dock and a Celebration followed with dignataries. The next day Capt Bates started the new ferry and went to Marysville and repeated the same. The Wife of the Reeve was choosen to christian her and the 6th time was the charm.
She contunied in this capacity for decades and was a common sight on the water through sun, sleet, rain and snow. Good days bad days and even a disappearing act due to weather. In the winter tugs helped tow and break ice and then it was time to retire. After some discussion she was donated to the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes for a B&B then the Canadian Government gifted the Alexander Henry as well,
So local divers took up the cause, cleaned stripped and prepared her for sinking but not without “concerns” One being an elderly lady on the Island whom did not want to see divers pee off boats. Finally she was sunk intentionally on September 21, 1985, as an artificial reef in 80 ft (24.6m) of water A Wolfe Islander-Diverguide- OD is also available.
Dropping down the line and reaching the bow davit, it is only another dozen feet to the open door of the wheelhouse. Just abaft the wheelhouse is a set of steel stairs that lead to benches lining the curved bulkhead and large square windows provide exit points with large doorways also convenient. The depth is 60 feet (18.5m) and the air pocket above divers’ heads is exhaust from previous diver visits and is not for breathing
Exiting the salon on the port side, divers follow the stairs to the main deck where vehicles were parked and recently a motorcycle was placed to demonstrate past cargo
A nearby doorway leads into the depths of the engine room and only the diver with experience, skills and training should proceed here. Through catwalks and piping, one may proceed to the engine mounts at 75 feet (23m) depth and you encounter the “elevator” shaft leading to the top deck. Near the port rail you will find the portholes (of which several were liberated by some divers that need them more than others) with logos and names of support organizations. Just around the corner is the ship’s name and registry port.
If you need help getting to see the MV Wolfe Islander let me know.