Category: Kingston

Wolfe Islander II

So not the first artificial reef in Ontario, but joining the likes of the Neilson and Papa’s Paycheque the Wolfe was certainly the largest project taken on by the now-defunct Comet Foundation.

KEY STATS:
Ship Type: Converted Car Ferry
Lifespan: Built 1947, Scuttled 1985
Length: 200ft
Depths: 80ft
Location: Wolfe Island, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
GPS N44.13.5580 W76.24.9860


Originally the Ottawa Maybrook, built in 1946 as a gift for China, but due to changing political views, she was converted into a 16-car ferry and renamed the Wolfe Islander II. She was sunk intentionally on September 21, 1985, as an artificial reef in 80 ft (24.6m) of water

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.

Some Videos

Slideshow of the sinking

A Fall Dive to the Wolfe Islander II

SIMLA

Located in the Wolfe Island graveyard along with several others, it’s not known exactly which of the wrecks is the Simla but locals think she is located at N44 06 976 W76 33 606.

The last wooden steam barge built by the Calvins at Garden Island was the SIMLA (Can. 112144) of 1903. She was 225.6 feet long, 34.8 feet in the beam and 15.0 feet in depth, her tonnage being 1197 Gross and 731 Net. When the hull was completed, it was towed to the yard of Polson Iron Works Ltd., Toronto, for the installation of engines. Like INDIA, the SIMLA went to the Montreal Transportation Company Ltd, in 1914 and later joined the C.S.L. fleet. She was retired from service in the early 1920's and was laid up at Portsmouth, Ontario. The hull being no longer fit for service, her power plant was removed and in 1929 was installed in the steel canaller MAPLEHEATH where the engines continued to see service until this ship was withdrawn from service as a bulk carrier in 1959. The hull of SIMLA burned at Portsmouth about 1926 and the hulk settled on the bottom. It was finally raised by Sin Mac Lines Ltd. on September 6th, 1937, and was scuttled in deep water in Lake Ontario off Kingston.

 

STEAMER SIMLA SINKS.
The Canadian steamer SIMLA is sunk two miles west of Brockville, Lake Ontario, and is reported to be in bad condition. The steamer, which is owned by the Montreal Transportation Company is insured for $20,000.
Buffalo Daily Courier
October 5, 1916

EXPECTED TO FLOAT SIMLA FROM SHOAL IN ONE WEEK.
Ogdensburg, Oct. 15. – Another week will possibly elapse before the steam barge SIMLA is floated from the shoal west of Coronation Isle. About forty men under Capt. John Donnelly of Kingston, including Murphy and Rowley, are working ten hours a day on the contract.
The forward hatches of the foundered steamer have been released of the cargo of coal and a cement bulkhead has been constructed to be placed aft of the holes in the bow. The bulkhead has not yet been lowered in the water, but will be in position in a day or two. The sides of the SIMLA have been boarded and over these planks canvas has yet to be placed. When this is finished the work of pumping will be started and it is not expected any further trouble will be encountered. Six large steam pumps are being installed on the decks of the SIMLA for this work.
Apart from the hole torn in the bow, through coming in contact with the shoal, it is thought the SIMLA has sustained any other damage, although her stern rests in about thirty feet of water. She is an exceptionally strong and well constructed craft and is good for many years of active use.
Buffalo Daily Courier
October 16, 1916

STEAMER SIMLA WILL BE DRYDOCKED AT KINGSTON.
According to a dispatch received here yesterday, the steamer SIMLA, which was recently sunk in the Narrows near Brockville in the St. Lawrence River, is being pumped out, and is expected to be taken to Kingston in a day or so.
The SIMLA’s bow went high on the rocks when she sank, and it was necessary to build a cofferdam around the after-end before the pumps were put at work. On being taken to Kingston she will have her cargo removed and will be placed in drydock.
The Donnelly Wrecking & Salvage Co., of Kingston is doing the work of wrecking the SIMLA

Steam screw SIMLA. Official Canada No. 112144. Of 1,197 tons gross; 731 tons Reg. Built Garden Island, Ont., 1903. Home port, Montreal, Que. 225.6 x 34.8 x 15.0 Of 731 horsepower. Owned by Montreal Transportation Co., of Montreal, Que.
List of Vessels on the Registry Books of the
Dominion of Canada on December 31, 1920

Vessel Name

SIMLA

Build Year

1903

Official Number

C112144

Subject

Ship Yards / Dry Docks

People

Construction

Construction

Build City

Garden Island

Build State

ONT

Vessel Type

Bulk Freighter

Hull Materials

Wood

Builder Name

Calvin Company

Dimensions

Length

225.6

Beam

34.8

Depth

15

Tonnage Gross

1490

Tonnage Net

973

Final Disposition

Final Location

Portsmouth, Ontario

Final Date Year

1926

Final How

Burned

Final Notes

1937, September 6 Raised by Sin Mac Lines, Limited, scuttled deep water off Kingston, Ontario, Lake Ontario

History and Notes

History

1903 Engines installed at Polson Iron Works, Limited, Toronto, Ontario

1911 Towed BURMA & CEYLON

1914 Owned Montreal Transportation Company

1920s Retired, laid up Portsmouth, Ontario; engines into steel

canaller MAPLEHEATH

1926 Burned, Portsmouth, Ontario

ARIZONA

The package freighter ARIZONA was launched on August 19, 1868, at Cleveland, Ohio by Quayle & Martin for E.T. & J.C. Evans of Buffalo, New York.

Located at N44 06 55 W76 24 40 Arizona is located southwest of the ferry landing on the south shore of Wolfe Island near the red buoy. Built in 1868 Arizona caught fire December 4, 1922 and without adequate water hose protection was towed 1.5 miles upstream where her sea cocks were opened and she sank into 25 ft. of water. She was a wooden propeller barge with a 765 ton displacement with a length of 186 ft. and a beam of 33 ft.

At Milwaukee the steamer ARIZONA and consort PLYMOUTH will both receive repairs about equal to a rebuild. The ARIZONA will be double decked. The steamer RUBE RICHARDS and consort MAY RICHARDS, also wintering on Lake Michigan will receive repairs costing about $6,000.

The Marine Review

December 24, 1891

Steam screw ARIZONA. U. S. No. 1768. Of 765 tons gross. Built 1868. On Dec. 1, 1922 with 12 people on board vessel burned at Cape Vincent, Lake Ontario and became a total loss. No lives were lost.

Loss of American Vessel Reported during 1923

Merchant Vessel List, U. S., 1923

Steam screw ARIZONA. U. S. No. 1768. Of 765 tons gross; 601 tons net. Built Cleveland, Ohio, 1868. Home port, Oswego, N.Y. Freight service. Crew of 12.

Merchant Vessel List, U. S., 1920

Detroit, May 8 – The propeller BLANCHARD from Buffalo for Chicago and the propeller ARAZONA from Sault Ste. Marie for Buffalo, collided today at noon at the head of the St. Clair Flats, the latter sinking in four fathoms, she was laden with flour and wheat.

The Toronto Mail

Friday, May 9, 1873

CORNWALL ex KINGSTON ex ALERGIAN ex BAVARIAN

Ship Type: Side Wheeler
Lifespan: Built 1854, Scuttled 1931
Length: 176 ft (54m)
Depths: 70 ft (21.5m)
Location: Amherst Island, Lake Ontario, Canada
GPS: W76.37.15 N44.08.18


Launched as the “Kingston” at Montreal in 1854, she was one of the finest Canadian steamboats of her day on the Upper St. Lawrence and Lake Ontario. Indeed, when the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) toured Canada in 1860, she was chosen to be his ‘floating palace’. In 1872, she was gutted by fire while off Grenadier Island in the St. Lawrence River. Rebuilt as the Bavarian, she again burned in the fall of 1873. The iron hull, rebuilt yet again, in Power’s shipyard at Kingston, was this time christened “Algerian.” In 1905, she was renamed “Cornwall”. Near the end of 1911, she was purchased by the Calvin Company of Garden Island, opposite Kingston. She was converted to a well-equipped rescue vessel and used until around 1925.

In the early 1930’s, during a snowstorm, the stripped Cornwall was scuttled near Amherst Island close to the graveyard where she remained until being discovered by Rick Neilson in 1989.

There is still much to see on this wreck. The boilers and some steam pipes are still present; wooden barrels are scattered about; the windlass is still attached to the bow section; and there is even a bed still there. Most importantly, both feathering paddle wheels are intact, a complete history of this wreck and ship can be purchased here.

KGH (unknown wreck)

During the labour day weekend in 2008 local Charter boat Captain Adam Rushton ran a line from an unknown hull to shore with the aid of the local Base dive club.

Located at is Kingston local’s favourite shore dive (44 13.163 76 29.458 for the boat people)

Not much is known about the wreck other than it was towed there for a beginnings of a breakwater. Sitting in 40 feet of water off the Kingston General Hospital (KGH) parking lot. The wreck is lined from the base of the Martello tower horizontally to shore leading to the vertical line leading to the wreck. Just off the wreck line about midpoint there is an old lifeguard station base. Other then that the wreck is the star candidate for this dive.

 

Dive site map by Cory Phillips

dredge MUNSON

On 30 April 1890, the wooden dredge MUNSON and two scow barges were being towed from Kingston, Ontario, by the tug EMMA MUNSON to work on the new Bay of Quinte bridge at Rossmore, Ontario, six miles west of Kingston when the dredge started listing then suddenly tipped over and sank. No lives were lost.

KEY STATS:
Ship Type: Dredge
Lifespan: Built ????, Sunk 1890
Length: 250ft
Depths: 115ft
Location: Lemoine Point, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
GPS N44.12.5690 W76.36.4960
The dredge Munson was based out of Belleville and was used for maintaining adequate water depth at harbor entrances or similar contracts. One of the most significant contracts secured for the Munson was to assure that the new schooner-barge the Minnedosa, would have an uneventful launch at Kingston on Saturday, April 26, 1890. The Minnedosa was a notable contract as she was the largest four masted Canadian sailing vessel ever built on the Great Lakes, and owned by the Montreal Transportation Company. She measured an amazing 250 ft, with a 36 ft beam; she boasted finely modeled lines that made her the talk of any seaman who laid eyes on her.

Unfortunately the most important job for the little dredge Munson, turned out to also be her last. She completed her job of dredging Kingston harbor on Wednesday April 23, 1890 and taken in tow by the tug Emma Munson along with two scows, to do construction work on the Bay of Quinte bridge in the town of Rossmore. Just off Lemoines point she was noted to be listing to one side, she had been leaking before leaving Kingston. Then when least expected she began to sink just opposite Lemoines point in 110ft of water. The towlines were quickly cut and she sank beam ends first; the cook was on board cooking dinner and scampered up after being called. He was rescued from the cold water, quite exhausted after having had to wait till the suction abated on the sinking dredge when she hit bottom, until he could surface.

The men aboard the dredge lost everything, she was valued at approximately $15,000, with the case of the sinking attributed to a plank having sprung on the bottom of the dredge. She apparently sank within 4 minutes of her listing first being noted. Diver Rick Neilson relocated the dredge Munson in 1981. Many of the artifacts have been donated to the Hastings County Museum in Belleville, Ontario, creating the beginning of their Marine heritage section.

Present day divers enjoy this well preserved wooden dredge, which sits upright in approximately 110 ft of water. Her most spectacular features are the steam shovel and the fact that she has 2 levels. The arm, which supported the shovel, was at one point entirely upright, but is now only partially articulated and rests on the lakebed with the shovel. A collection of plate’s bottles, cups, and bowls, is on display for the visiting diver to enjoy. The limitations on this wreck are most obviously the depth; therefore air consumption and time must be carefully monitored. A light layer of silt covers this wreck so good buoyancy skills are a must. This wreck is striking in its presence as it greets the divers eye on decent and is sure to remain a favorite for all that visit her.

Yesterday morning the dredge MUNSON of Belleville, which spent some days dredging for the launching of the barge MINNEDOSA, left for the bay city in tow of two small tugs. She had been leaking before leaving but it was thought that it would not amount to much. When opposite Lemoine’s Point and when the crew least expected it, she sank to the bottom, in about 100 feet of water. The tow lines were cut in order to save the tugs. The dredge went down beam end’s first. The cook, in the kitchen at the time making preparations of dinner, was told to come up but before he had run to the stairway the vessel was under water. The fellow went down but soon came up and was rescued by the crew in an exhausted state. He stated afterwards that the suction from the dredge going down kept him from coming to the surface. He had to wait until she reached the bottom. A lot of timber on her deck came up after she sank.

Daily British Whig, Kingston 
      April 30, 1890 

      . . . . . 
      
      DREDGE MUNSON SINKS AT KINGSTON. 
      Kingston, May 1. — The dredge MUNSON owned by E.A. Munson of Cobourg sank yesterday. The calamity was very sudden, as four minutes after the craft was seen to be in trouble, she sank like a stone. The three men who were on board were saved, although one of them, Wm. Green of this city, was carried down 35 feet. Loss estimated at $15,000 on which there is no insurance. As the water is 130 feet deep where the accident happened the prospect of recovering anything from the wreck is very doubtful.

Detroit Free Press 
      May 2, 1890 
      
It is likely an attempt will be made to raise the dredge MUNSON, sunk off Lemoine’s Point. 
      Daily British Whig, Kingston 
      May 12, 1890