|Date Reviewed:||Feb, 2002|
|Location:||SE Blakely Rock, near Bainbridge Island|
|Site Description:||70 foot long wooden boat wreck on a flat silty bottom|
|Main Attraction:||The wreck itself, Plumose Anemones, Copper Rockfish, Lingcod|
"The Boss" is a wreck dive located in Blakely Harbor. If you have read some of my other reviews, you probably know that Blakely Harbor is located on the southeast part of Bainbridge Island, about 5 miles due west of the Alki Point boat ramp. As the shoreline in this area is private, this site is only accessible by boat.
There are a number of boat-only dive sites located in the Blakely Harbor area (so far, I have done 5 of them). Most of the sites are marked with PADI dive buoys, which Alan Gill has put in place and maintains. I often run into Alan when I am diving in this area on his charter boat the "Spirit Diver". When Alan doesn't have a charter, he is often out here diving himself! Again, I cannot thank Alan enough for maintaining these buoys and sharing dive site info with us - sharing trade information is a very rare trait for dive boat charter owners. Again, if you want to dive these sites and do not have access to a boat, you might want to give Alan a call.
Finding the wreck at this site is easy. Simply go to Blakely Harbor and motor up to the southern shoreline that heads out to Restoration Point. At about the midpoint of this shoreline, you will see a yellow buoy in about 50 feet of water. This buoy marks the location of "The Boss". As this site is right up against the east-west running shoreline of Restoration Point, it offers excellent wind protection from southerly winds.
Once you find the marker buoy and tie up to it or anchor, gear up and follow the marker buoy anchor line to the bottom. Upon decent you will be greeted by a beautiful field of white Plumose Anemones that cover the wooden rear and front decks of the ship. You will also find some rather bold resident Copper Rockfish on these decks that are convinced they have more of a right to be here than you do (they are probably right!). They tend not to shy away from divers as much as the typical wary rockfish, making for some great photo opportunities.
Upon inspecting this 70 foot wooden boat, it is apparent she has been down here for some time. Her rear and front decks are intact, but her midsection has completely collapsed. Parts of the interior are still recognizable, including some hallways and bulkheads, with some bathroom fixtures scatted about. She was obviously stripped before being sunk as she lacks an engine, running gear, glass, most hardware, or electronics.
The front and rear holds of this wreck are intact and penetrable. However, I would be very cautious of the stability of the structure. Also be wary of the fact that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of exposed sharp nails that are just waiting to snag and puncture the suit of a slightly careless diver. Proceed with caution and always dive within your personal limits and dive training. The wreck lies in about 50 to 60 feet of water. She lies on a silty bottom, and there really is no other structure here other than the wreck itself.
As with most dives in the harbor, the bottom is extremely silty and the lack of currents in this area mean that if you egg-beater the bottom with your fins, you are going to severely reduce visibility for the duration of your dive.
The marine life on the wreck is limited (from a species perspective), but very picturesque. The white Plumose Anemones make for a gorgeous backdrop. In addition to the territorial Copper Rockfish, you should also find Lingcod gracing the decks, hiding in the wreck, and/or lurking on the bottom underneath the overhang from the hull. When we did this dive, a large school of Striped Seaperch was leisurely cruising about the wreck. I also spotted an occasional shy Brown Rockfish, a Red Irish Lord, and some smaller sculpins. A wide assortment of spider crabs also call this wreck home, as do a decent assortment of sea stars.
On the silty flats around the wreck, there is not too much to see. If you are lucky, you may wander into a Longnose or Big Skate or an occasional Ratfish If you are not so lucky, you will at least see more sea stars, Red Sea Cucumbers, and an occasional Lingcod darting by.
This site is a fun site to do, but I would not target it as my main dive objective. As the wreck is only 70 feet long, you really need to take your time with it and pay attention to the little things. After 60 minutes of bottom time here, I was starting to get bored - something that I rarely say at most other sites. However, do not get me wrong - "The Boss" is well worth seeing. It would make a good second or third dive of the day, and the lack of current and excellent protection from the south make it a viable alternative anytime the winds are blowing from the south or the current is really ripping.
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