The R.M.S. Empress of Ireland Community
I decided against taking my camera down … the technical level of the dive, depth, water temperature, current, use of a reel, and the fact that it was our first encounters with the Empress all pointed to “one thing at a time”. We did find a bathroom with two baths (one broken) and its black-and-white ceramic floor; we also saw some stern winches, metal staircase, crow’s nest, and the main anchor.
Your plans were really helpful in recognizing structures down below and Jean-Sébastien and I were glad we spent the time to study them.
Source: Public Domain
Sonar Image of the Empress of Ireland
Taken by the Canadian Navy
Hi IanYes we did enjoy our dives on the Empress … it was a surreal experience. Jean-Sébastien and I are now totally hooked and have already made plans to go back next year. We met some great people and were astounded by how everyone is charming and welcoming. The charter (both the captain and his boat) was awesome. Yves Chabot (of Navigation Boréalis) is now the only one that goes to the Empress.
Our biggest surprise was how the wreck has deteriorated. Basically all four decks above the interior promenade have collapsed and slid starboard into the silt and seabed. So there is virtually no structures left above the hull. We heard that floors have started separating from the hull on the port side and are thus quickly collapsing (i.e. moving down by 2-3 feet in a weekend).
We were lucky and were able to dive all three days we were there. Visibility was good on the first 2 days (15-20 feet) on the first two days and even better of the last day (if you stayed down toward the center of the wreck or on the starboard side. We used our reels on every dive to minimize disorientation. Our dives ranged from 60 to 70 min plus an additional 10-18 min of decompression using pure oxygen.