MFV High Seas History
After the dive on the Unknown Sailboat, we had a decent surface interval and motored a short distance to the MFV (motor fishing vessel) High Seas. The High Seas has an interesting history. It started life in the Navy as the YP 621 (yard patrol) and was built in my “hometown” of San Pedro, California in 1945. After the end of the war, she was sold and converted into a commercial tuna clipper and renamed to the High Seas. Tuna clippers were expensive to operate and a labor intensive way of fishing and so it was converted to a purse seiner. Another recent purse seiner I dived was The Infidel off the coast of Catalina Island.
Here is a picture of the High Seas before it was converted to a purse seiner:
The picture below is of the YP 627 which was probably very similar to the YP 621 in terms of shape, structure, size, etc.
On March 10, 1970 the High Seas was motoring from San Diego to San Pedro to unload her catch at the canneries when it started to take on water. The water soon flooded into the engine room and shorted out the electrical system. Fortunately, all the crew members were able to get into a tender and were rescued by another vessel that was nearby.
The wreck lies in 110 feet of water very close to San Diego Harbor near the channel buoy Number 1. It isn’t dived very often at all (the last time Marissa had been on it was “about 8 years ago!” Care needs to be taken on the wreck since it is in a very busy and high traffic area. It is up against a “wall” on the lower portion of a reef/mesa. Justin and I dropped in and followed the anchor line down to … nothing! We looked around a bit and then started up the reef onto the mesa at about 90 feet.
Justin spotted a sevengill shark and alerted me to it. They are notoriously shy and didn’t get very close so my only pictures are a little grainy but it was the first time I’ve seen one in the water.
We dropped back down to the depth we knew the wreck was at and started looking around. We ran across some debris and then finally found what was left of the wreck. As we were looking for the wreck, we ran across something that looked like unexploded ordinance but there aren’t any fins or rudders or stabilizers on it so I’m not sure what it is.
The ship had a wooden hull so there isn’t anything left of it.
The ship had a single prop and the most striking feature of what remains of the ship is the drive shaft that is sticking up into the water column.
There is a LOT of wreckage around to explore and there are still some nets around the wreck area. According to the “Shipwrecks of Southern California” book, when it was first dived after the wreck, the nets from the ship were straight up into the water column with the orange and white floats. The relief on the sonar was 50 feet or so.
There isn’t much of a “ship” structure left but below are various pictures of the wreckage left.