Double click to edit
Diamond Knot Wreck
Topography: Wreck dive on a large and partially collapsed 360 foot steel freighter. She lies on a cobblestone substrate in about 130 feet of water.
Cape Flattery marine life rating: 4
Cape Flattery structure rating: 4
Diving depth: The shallowest part of the Diamond Knot is about 70 feet deep. The stern section lies as deep as 130 feet. I expect and prepare to dive to 130 feet at this site.
Highlight: Incredibly dense and diverse marine life that flocks to this fallen behemoth.
Skill level: Extreme advanced
GPS coordinates: N48° 10.188’ W123° 42.278
Access by boat: The Diamond Knot is located about 400 yards from Tongue Point, which is part of Salt Creek State Park. She lies in about 130 feet of water and is readily visible on a depth sounder as the bottom jumps from 130 feet to as shallow as 70 feet. A buoy sometimes marks the wreck.
The Diamond Knot lies with an east-west orientation with the bow facing east. Her midsection has completely collapsed, leaving only the bow and stern section intact. The +100 foot long stern section contains the superstructure and is lying on its side. The bow section rests in slightly shallower water (about 110 feet).
Shore access: None
Dive profile: The Diamond Knot sank in 1946 while in tow after a collision with another ship in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. She was carrying canned salmon from Alaska. The salmon was recovered - it was the biggest salvage operation in Washington at the time.
The key to this dive is getting the anchor line located on or right next to the wreck, assuming the marker buoy is not in place. I accomplish this by finding the wreck on the depth sounder, then approaching the wreck from down current. I pass over the wreck and immediately drop anchor up current of the wreck. The boat then drifts back over the wreck and the anchor hooks the wreck or surrounding debris.
A properly placed anchor line makes the descent to the wreck and the ascent back to the boat much easier and safer, especially when the current picks up. I always note where the anchor line intersects the wreck so I can easily re-acquire the anchor line at the end of the dive. If the anchor line is not readily visible from the shallow section of the wreck, I run a spool line from the anchor line to a prominent feature on the wreck. I carry an extra 150’ spool on this dive in case I can’t reacquire the anchor line at the end of the dive and need to perform a free ascent.
The Diamond Knot has been down for over 60 years and is heavily encrusted with marine life. Features on the vessel are almost indistinguishable. At 360 feet in length, she is also very large. Add narcosis to the equation and you have a recipe for easily getting disoriented.
The bottom of the hull faces north and is relatively smooth and featureless. The deck of the freighter faces south and presents a vast array of structure to explore. The stern section of the ship contains extensive superstructure that provides a haven for all kinds of fish. The gapping holes cut into the side of the ship to recover her cargo after she sank mar part of the stern section. The mid section is now comprised of a series of steel plates and debris lying relatively flat on the substrate. I prefer to spend my limited no-deco time exploring the superstructure of the stern section.
A great way to get an overview of the entire wreck on a single dive is with a underwater scooter.
Because of strong current and the offshore location, I do not dive this site with an unattended boat or in moderate to heavy wind. I keep a float on the anchor line so the boat operator can quickly untie to pick up a diver, then return to the anchor line.
I wouldn’t dare penetrate this wreck as I am not properly trained. I would still have reservations penetrating the Knot even if I was properly trained as she appears ready for imminent collapse.
My preferred gas mix: EAN 28
Current Station: Strait of Juan de Fuca (East), British Columbia
Noted Slack Corrections: None
There is no shortage of current at this site. Tongue Point juts out into the Strait of Juan de Fuca and deflects current running along the shoreline over the Diamond Knot.
I prefer to dive the Diamond Knot when the maximum flooding current is 0.4 knots or less. A 0.4 maximum flooding current allows me to perform two dives on the wreck with a lengthy surface interval between dives.
Current varies at this site and are not always predictable. Current intensity can change quickly from minute to minute - or from depth to depth. I often note that the current in the top 30 feet of water moves faster that the current at depth. This might be at least partially due to the hull of the Diamond Knot providing shelter from the current at depth. Visibility can also change with the current. I often note a 10-15 foot increase or decrease in visibility after the current changes direction.
Ediz Hook boat ramp, Port Angeles. Approximately 13 miles from the dive site. This ramp is located near the end of the spit (Ediz Hook) that protects Port Angeles. There are good docks and a restroom at this ramp.
Freshwater Bay boat ramp. Approximately 5 miles from the dive site. This ramp is only usable on the higher part of the tide. I wouldn’t plan to either launch or recover on the lower part of the tide as it may be next to impossible to get the boat to the ramp.
Facilities: Salt Creek State Park is adjacent to the site and offers campsites, restrooms, and water (but no boat ramp).
Depth: Diving to 130 feet is a probability if the wreck is not readily visible from the anchor line.
Current: Current is very heavy in this area off-slack or even at slack during moderate to heavy exchanges. Current intensity can change very quickly with time or depth.
Exposure: This offshore site is exposed to wind and weather from all directions. Surface conditions can deteriorate rapidly.
Swell: Swell at this site is usually minimal, but not always. Moderate to heavy swell sometimes plagues this site.
Snagging hazards: The Diamond Knot is infested with potential snagging hazards typical of a rusting steel wreck. She is also unstable.
Navigation: Proper compass operation is affected by the iron in this steel wreck.
Marine life: The Diamond Knot is truly a marine-life magnet of grand proportions. The wreck is encrusted with amazing sponges, hydroids, anemones, barnacles, and all sorts of other colorful invertebrates. Incredible fields of pink mouth and orange hydroids line sections of the steel structure. Colonies of giant barnacles and mussels over 10” in length are readily found clinging to the superstructure. Legions of giant plumose anemones line much of the ship. A number of tunicates live on this ship that I have not been able to identify.
All sorts of rockfish flock to this site. Copper, quillback, canary and China rockfish hover near or within the sanctuary of the wreck. Blue, black, and yellowtail rockfish loiter in the water column above or beside the steel reef. I have spotted a number of sub-adult yelloweye rockfish hiding amongst the superstructure. Lingcod, painted greenling, cabezon and kelp greenling all patrol the wreck. Closer examination will reveal smaller finned inhabitants, such as the longfin gunnel and decorated warbonnet.
A school of black rockfish saved one of my dives on the Knot. When I descended the anchor line with my buddy, we could not see the wreck. After about a minute of mulling around next to the anchor and preparing a spool to sweep the area, a small school of black rockfish emerged from the emerald green water, circled nearby, and headed back in the direction from which they came. We followed the fish right to the wreck.