I finally got a chance to dive the wreck of the Kodiak Queen, and as you can see from these pictures it was an incredibly exciting, slightly eerie experience.
The vessel had so much history whilst afloat, including avoiding the bombs of Pearl Harbor and rescuing hundreds of people. Now, in its final resting place, it will create even more history, serving as a permanent eco-friendly underwater art installation – giving enormous pleasure to divers for many decades to come.
While I’ve had a bit of experience sinking boats (sometimes under unfortunate circumstances), I’ve never dived one that has just been sunk.
The first thing you notice is just how big it is. Looking at the vessel afloat, it’s hard to appreciate its vastness; as half the ship is underwater. Swimming around it, and looking down at it from above, gave me a very different perspective, and made me feel so small.
It was thrilling to see fish beginning to swim in and out the giant kraken, which was installed on top of the ship to give the site a bit of extra character. It's exciting to know that in years to come that coral will find a home on the ship, and groupers, parrotfish and other sea life will find their favourite corners to live and play. What a thrill that the first dolphin has been spotted exploring the wreck too.
Far too often we see old ships and rigs languishing on beaches and junkyards, creating waste and eyesores. The Kodiak Queen will show the world just how useful these disused vessels can be for capturing people’s attention on the importance of addressing climate change, protecting coral reefs, and rehabilitating vulnerable marine species.
I’m already looking forward to returning to the wreck after it has become a thriving marine habitat. It will no doubt become a hugely valuable research location for scientists and students, and inspire more people to take action to conserve the ocean.