“Rusty” China Creek
After a long weekend of diving, it was time to give the boat a rest and head out with a friend, Chris Vanderford, for some adventure at a very unique dive site. Our plan was to dive the shipwrecks that abound just west of Port Alberni at China Creek. China Creek is home to “Rusty” the sister ship of the Black Dragon and two other Chinese migrant vessels that have come to rest in various locations around Vancouver Island. These ships are shrouded in mystery and have a dark past of human trafficking when they were afloat. Rusty now rests on a steep sandy slope, broken bow down in 100 ft. (30 m.) of water just off the beach at the China Creek campground. Diving shipwrecks has always created an uneasy feeling within me, I’m not sure whether it’s their unnatural state sitting on the bottom broken and rusting away, or the thought of what may have happened to the passengers on these vessels, especially the ones like Rusty.
The second dive of the day was just as exhilarating as the first, but in a totally different way. To the left of the beach is a large rocky cliff that towers a couple hundred feet into the air and plummets down below the surface three hundred plus feet. The shallow entrance to this rocky spectacle is littered with petrified trees and broken boats, and in particular what’s left of a boom boat that was once used for logging. As you swim into the depths, the vastness of the rocky cliff becomes very apparent and is dotted with hundreds of sunflower stars and various rockfish. A diver could spend hours exploring this huge rocky expanse till there hearts content. One feature of this natural wonder is something that doesn’t really belong. An old standup telephone booth that is mostly intact rests precariously on a ledge at 60ft. Chris and I wondered aloud after the dive just how something like that ended up where it did and the effort put forth by someone to get it there. It was pretty cool none the less.
This day of diving was definitely one for the log book and I would not hesitate to head back to China Creek to do some more exploring in the area.
Chris is an adventure blogger and has captured the essences of our trip with his story telling - Island Adventures
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