Admit it - even though BC's beaches and swimming holes are stunning, they don't necessarily quench your thirst for adventure. There’s a part of us all that wants to love to explore the ruins of an old ship, not just to travel through history but to set your imagination alight. Luckily for thrill seekers on the west coast, BC is scattered with shipwrecks, plane wrecks, and other mysteries to uncover. So if you’re on the look out for something a little different or a bit more adventurous this summer, we dare you to investigate these five mysterious wrecks.
The Pestuta’s majestic skeleton sits forlorn in the midst of a sandy Haida Gwaii beach. This wreck is accessible by land, but be warned—if you want to reach it, you have to like a challenge. Hikers must travel ten kilometers through the picturesque wilderness of Naikoon Provincial Park in order to find the ship. If you’re okay with a hike, however, it’s well worth it. The enormous, ethereal, and very approachable wreck waits for you at the end of the aptly named Pestuta Shipwreck Trail.
The Deep Cove Barge
So—you’ve done the kayak tour and the Quarry Rock hike , and now you’re looking for one last adventure to complete your trip to North Van's Deep Cove. Why not explore the mysteries that lurk beneath the water? Located just a short distance from the dock in the marina is the wreck of a train barge, which sunk back in the 1950s. Talk about hiding in plain sight. Not well known to those outside the diving community, the wreck is surrounded by a few other sunken treasures, and perfect for the hipster diver who’d like to be able to say, ‘Oh, the Deep Cove Barge? I did that before it was cool.’
We British Columbians pride ourselves on being green, and that doesn’t stop on land. The Artificial Reef Society of BC has so far created eight artificial reefs throughout the province, helping BC divers to enjoy their pastime while being environmentally conscious. Among these reefs is the alluring and prodigious HMCS Saskatchewan, located near Nanaimo. This Destroyer Escort sunk in 1997 and now hosts a colourful underwater jungle of wildlife. Very accessible, the Saskatchewan is the quintessential underwater experience for anyone who wants to try diving on the west coast. Remarkable for its prominent size and its radar tower, this wreck is sure to satisfy both new and experienced divers.
The Xihuw Boeing 737
Some jets get turned into mansions (well, kinda), and some surrender themselves to the power of the ocean. The Xihuw Boeing 737 artificial reef near Chemainus has the honour of being the only one of its kind in the world. Swimming through the depths around this sunken plane, divers have the opportunity to peer through its portal windows, soar above and around it, and even get a look inside the pilot’s cabin. While exploring the wreck, be sure to keep your eye out for the word CANADA painted along its hull (#patriotic).
The Graveyard of the Pacific
Finally, it would almost be a crime to put together a list of discoverable shipwrecks in BC and not mention the West Coast Trail . This is not one shipwreck in particular, but rather a whole array of them, found along the scenic and otherworldly trail spanning Vancouver Island. As you hike, keep an eye out for pieces of The Uzbekistan, The Sarah, The Alaskan, and others that can be found strewn along the shores. Make sure to bring a camera, as you will find yourself walking through history on this trek through the so-called ‘Graveyard of the Pacific’.Tofino and the gorgeous Gulf islands .