Wreck of the Themus

Date Reviewed:August 2001
Location:Queen Charlotte Strait
Access:Boat dive
Site Description:Offshore rocky reef, sunken and collapsed steel freighter
Main Attraction:Friendly Wolf-eels, mammoth Lingcod

This dive site is actually located just outside of the northeast end of Browning Pass, in the Queen Charlotte Strait. It is located in some big water, and can be very exposed to certain winds, surge, and currents. The Themus was a large steel freighter that hit an offshore reef (Croker Rocks) just after the turn of the century. She was supposedly carrying a load of canned salmon (apparently, the salmon got the last laugh). It sounds like most, if not all, of the crew survived. But the story did not end there. The captain of the sunken ship went south and put together an expedition to salvage the Themus. However, he somehow managed to wreck the salvage boat on his way up the inside of Vancouver Island. At last report, I think he was captaining super-tankers for Exxon off of Alaska during the 80s...

Enough about history. This is a very cool dive site. The wreck lies in about 70 fsw, has completely collapsed, and is impenetrable, so tough luck for hard core wreck divers. Other than some old ribs and steel plates, you wouldn't know that this was a ship. Nature has reclaimed this wreck and transformed her into a modern Wolf-Eel and Lingcod condo. Some of the friendliest Wolf-Eels in the world live here, as friendly as those at the Sunrise wall in Puget Sound. In fact, you do not need to find the Wolf-Eels here - both times I have dove here, they found us almost immediately. These friendly creatures will let you handle them if you are gentle. However, please remember to never impose your will on any wild creature. I would hate to see what the urchin crushing teeth and jaws of a frightened Wolf-Eel could do to a human hand. The local dive charters here do not support feeding these animals. Once you see how fat and happy these Wolf-Eels are, you will understand why.

The Lingcod here also a spectacle, and are amongst the biggest I have ever seen (including those we find at Edmonds Underwater Park). They are readily found resting under collapsed parts of the old ship. Some of them must be 5 feet long.

However, there is much more to this site than the wreck. After all the ship sunk here for a reason, and that reason is a rocky reef. There is plenty of interesting structure around the reef covered in the usual Browning Pass carpet of life - colorful anemones, hoards of starfish, bountiful sponges, and vivid soft corals. Cruising the reef area you will find Copper, Quillback, and China Rockfish, Red Irish Lords, an octopus or two (if you are lucky), an occasional Puget Sound King Crab, and darting Kelp Greenling. In the shallower depths, expect to find Bull Kelp creating a sanctuary for schooling Black, Puget Sound, and Yellowtail Rockfish.

This is a very fun site to explore, and when combined with 50 feet of visibility, it is spectacular.

Whenever we dive in this part of the world, we always do so with Bill Weeks and Annie Ceschi of God's Pocket Resort. I have never tried a different dive operator up here, and have no reason to do so. As far as I and thirteen of my diving friends are concerned, Bill has perfected the Port Hardy dive vacation. We have stayed with God's Pocket Resort the last two years and see no end in sight for return trips. Awesome diving, overwhelming hospitality, world class food and service (thanks Grant and Jeannie!), and Bill and Annie's great personalities (not to mention Lewis!) keep us coming back. Bill truly loves what he does and has the utmost respect for all the wildlife in this area, making a vacation here very special. What more could you ask for? If you are extremely lucky, you will get an opportunity to dive the Browning Pass area with God's Pocket Resort. Diving with Bill and Annie is the most enjoyable diving I have done - anywhere in the world. See God's Pocket for more info, and tell 'em Keith and Jon sent you!

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