MV Anscomb, December 7,8, 2012

Posted on 07. Dec, 2012 by Greg Mossfeldt in Reports

It is getting on into December but this does not slow down the divers that are passionate for the activity. This weekend most of us were able to take the Friday off so it was an early morning start to the ferry at Crawford Bay on Kootenay Lake which would transport our dive group over to Balfour and then a short drive to our destination just past Ainsworth. We often visit this area in order to dive on a ferry that sank in 2004 called the MV Anscomb.

On this outing Kent Watson from Cranbrook, BC joined us for the first time and was diving on his Megaladon rebreather. It was a pleasure to have Kent out with us to share in the camaraderie and get some diving in. Kent did very well on the set up and in the water, and was very helpful working with the team to a successful goal.

Greg and Leigh-Ann McCuaig, along with James Dixon were also diving the wreck this weekend so we were able to reminisce about good times in the past and address future endeavors that always are planned with this adventurous group.

Brian and Laurie Nadwidny have a beautiful vacation home right on the Kootenay Lake and they have extended a much appreciated invitation to stay at their place when we are out on our weekend adventures. Brian really has the place set up efficiently with a 9cfm air compressor, high volume, low pressure compressor to drive a Haskel gas booster and heat in the gas room for drying out wet gear in these winter months. Inside it is a palace with an added bonus of a wood stove which we keep stoked in the winter evenings for an added touch of let’s say old country. We really look forward to these trips now with Brian’s place being in the equation, and it really makes diving in this area a lot of fun with minimal logistics.

When we arrived at the dive site we noticed the floating wreck location buoy that James Dixon built to be absent from its usual resting place over the MV Anscomb. Our group usually drop to depth right off the dock and we scooter out on a cave line to the wreck but … . When new groups go out to dive the wreck they swim out to the buoy then descend down to the wreck with this visual as control. The float had broken free of the wreck and blew near shore. James and I scootered over to the dive marker with intent to scooter it back into place. When we began to pull on the float for transport however it was holding fast in position. We then had to descend in order to see what it was caught up on. We went to the bottom of the chain at 85’, (this chain James put on the float was from a skidder which is used on the tires of large forestry machines, this chain does not break) and found the chain was wedged between two large boulders and was not coming out. At the end of the chain was a blue and white nylon rope which had been severed and ultimately held the float to the wreck, obvious to us this was the weak link in the chain. We don’t want to put chain right on the wreck as it damages this historical artifact as it is metal on metal, thus the rope. We are going to have to fasten the float with a very heavy duty rope to the wreck so as not to cause damage to the structure.

We also found another chain attached to the stack of the MV Anscomb and it appears this has been attached to the marina breakwater line. In doing this whenever the wind kicks up the chain will move up, down and around which puts great stress on the structure. The chain must be relocated away from the shipwreck so as not to cause future damage to this historical artifact. James expressed his concern of the situation with the authorities of the local retail establishment on December 7th, 2012.

The first dive on Friday morning had James Dixon (rEvo) leading the possee with Greg McCuaig (rEvo) coming second, Kent Watson (Megaladon) third and Greg Mossfeldt (rEvo). We made it to the bow of the wreck and then we carried on into the car deck to check out the project James and I had been working on in the past. As we moved down the car deck Greg McCuaig spotted a door which James and I had been unable to open. McCuaig gave it a good hard pull and the thing popped open. James and I were laughing when he initially set up for the pull but were quickly silenced when it opened up. James and I had been at this door for some time trying to open it so hats off to Greg McCuaig for the hole in one on this baby!

We then carried on to view the ship props down deeper and then headed up along the super structure before continuing back into the dock.

Second dive on Friday had Greg McCuaig towing Kent Watson out to the wreck with his scooter and the two of them carrying on with a dive. James Dixon and I scootered out with the intent of doing video and still imaging on some of the open access areas down to the engine room and special compartments. James also entered the passenger area to film benches and observe any obstructions we could medicate for future consideration. Upon viewing the video yesterday in regards to both passenger areas and open access areas we have some great information. I have to mention how great the access to the water is now with the stairwell and dive platform that James Dixon has built and set up. We are able to secure our bail out/deco cylinders, set up cameras, put on fins with very little exertion and stress. This access has greatly enhanced the overall experience at this dive destination. I do see this area becoming much more attractive to various dive groups in the future which is a bonus for both the dive community and resorts in the area.

On Friday evening the five of us went to the Kaslo Hotel for dinner. This place is great, it is a wonder we had not dined there previously. The barkeep had a fire going, there were darts to be played and Numpty Dumpty was bringing in his Karaoke sound system for a poke at some of the popular melodies. All in all this looks like the place to go in the evening for some socializing and camaraderie.

The next morning we checked out the Tree House in Kalso for breakfast and then it was on to the dive site. James, Greg and Leigh-Ann were diving together and did some work in the car deck area before splitting up with James joining Kent and I. Seeing how this was Kent’s first visit to the MV Anscomb we took some pics of him diving the highlites of the wreck. James met up with us near the spotlight on the wheelhouse then we carried on down to the props for some more pics then back up to the super structure. On our way down to the props we met up with Greg and Leigh-Ann along the Starboard hull.

We were up for another dive later in the day but seeing how short our days are it turned into a very dark night dive. Kent had to be at work the following day so only participated in the first dive so it was James and I diving together and Greg and Leigh-Ann. James and I filmed many of the access areas both up and down so we have more to go on for future exploration. Greg and Leigh-Ann went down to the props for a 150ish’ dive. Diving mixed gas both on the rebreathers and open circuit really opens up the opportunities on this site along with many others. Greg was diving helium based inert gas in his rEvo diluent as was James and I, and Leigh – Ann was diving a mixed gas solution with nitrox based decompression breathing mixtures. This is how we dive the wreck and are able to get down to the basement safely and minimize our decompression with constant partial pressures of oxygen in the rebreathers and oxygen accelerated decompression with the open circuit systems.

All in all we had a fantastic weekend and have substantial visual/graphic material to view for future consideration. The plan is at this point to make it back out to this area in and around January 2013. We are very open to sharing our adventures with those interested in participating so if you are inclined to come out please email us at