The Ace 1 name can be a little confusing. It is also known as the “Upside Down Wreck” or by the original ship’s name which was the LCI 735. There is also the “A.C.E.” wreck off Dana Point which is a fishing vessel which has a similar name but is completely unrelated. So, when you say you are diving the “Ace” you really need to be clear. 🙂
In this case, the ship was originally built as a Landing Craft Infantry (Large) and named the LCI (L) 735. It was laid down on 7 Jan 1944 and launched on 8 Feb 1944. It was 158 feet long and had a beam of 23′.
It served during WW II in Asia Pacific. It was decommissioned and sold in 1946, salvaged, and then used as a fishing barge, moored off Dana Point. It dragged anchor during a storm and came to rest on shore and was considered a total loss. It was pulled off shore by tugs and deemed to be a menace to navigation while being towed towards San Pedro and was sunk in 1948 about 7 miles south of the San Pedro / Long Beach harbor.
The wreck lies in about 125 feet of water and is upside down (hence the alternate name for the wreck). Because most of the original ship (engines, instruments, machinery, etc) was salvaged before being turned into a fishing barge, there isn’t much left. There are no props, shafts, rudders, etc. There are some holes that allow “entry” (some created after the wreck had sunk) but most of the wreck has broken down over time.
The wreck isn’t visited very often, probably due to depth and most people would probably prefer to dive the Moody which is nearby and just slightly deeper. There was quite a lot of life on the wreck and quite a lot of variety as well. The visibility on the day we dove was pretty good (with the standard “green” Southern California water).
Overall, I really enjoyed this wreck. What initially looks like not a lot turns out to hold a lot of hidden gems and is full of wildlife if you stop and look around.
For a wreck that initially looks unassuming, there is definitely a lot to see if you poke around. I’ve tried to group the photos into different sections for “interior,” exterior, fish, etc.
Inside of the wreck near the stern
Bow Section – note the folded kedge anchor and remember that it is upside down
Various external areas
Wildlife – there was an abundance of wildlife on the wreck including these really long strands of kelp fronds