|Union Steamship Capilano|
On October 2, 1915 the Union steamship Capilano sank off Indian Point — without loss of life.
The Union Steamship Capilano, watercolour by by S.P. Judge, 1905
(Source: Vancouver is Awesome, Volume 29)
Its well-preserved wreck, which is designated as the Capilano Shipwreck provincial heritage site, is now a diver favourite.
What the Capilano looks like now
(Source: Canada's Historic Places - Capilano Shipwreck)
According to Jacques Marc (a diver and member of the Underwater Archaeology Society of BC), this is one of his favourite dive sites:
"Probably one of the top ten is the wreck of the Union Steamship Capilano, off Savary Island. … It was a small coastal freighter-passenger vessel that plied the inner coast. Other than the wood, which has disintegrated, the ship lies upright in a white sand bottom. It is quite compelling in the blackness, under 130 feet of water, contrasted with the white sea anemones that cover the ship. It’s sort of like a ghost ship – it’s still sailing under water."
(Source: Graveyard of the Pacific: The Shipwrecks of Vancouver Island)
1. For more information about the Capilano Shipwreck provincial heritage site, click here.
2. According to the Powell River Historical Museam and Archives:
"Richard McIntosh with another diver Bob Briggs (1938 - 2014) dived off of Savary Island in the 1970's and found the remains of a vessel. Unsure of which vessel, a question was posed in the Vancouver Province. Response was sent to McIntosh and it was discovered that it was the Union Steamship Capilano.
The Capilano was fashioned in Glasgow in 1891, shipped in pieces, and reassembled at the Union shipyard in Vancouver. Length 120 feet, Breadth 22.2, and gross tons 231. Used as a collier ship between Vancouver and Vancouver Island, it was the first British vessel to sail from a B.C. port in the Klondike Gold Rush in 1897. Passenger licence was for 25 but was increased in 1897 for the service to Alaska.
The Union Steamship Capilano, with a crew of 18, foundered on the Grant Reef (just off of Savary Island) on October 2 1915. They were possibly on their way to Alaska. The vessel had hit a log earlier and had stopped at Van Anda on Texada Island to make sure all was well. With no apparent damage seen they continued on their way with disastrous results. All crew members were saved."
3. For some great photos of the underwater hulk, click here to read The Wreck of the Capilano by John Rawlings. It tells whole story of its sinking and its rediscovery.