Cessna (San Diego — 205 fsw)


Justin Judd, Ben Lair, and I were out for a day of diving in San Diego with Lora & Chris on the Marissa. We had planned a couple of exploratory dives on “deep-ish” targets that Tyler Stalter had.

The first was very promising. It looked to me like a crane. It had a huge straight section about 100 feet long and then a bulky section that I assumed was the power & control area for the crane. Below is an image of the underwater sonar:

Target 1: 250-260 feet deep

The “problem” with diving deep targets is that you accumulate deco fast and don’t have a ton of time to explore if you want to move on to other targets so you need to be judicious in your use of time. Well, we jumped in on this target and found nothing but a big rock.

Target 1 : Reality — Rocks

Ben felt around to see if it was concrete, but it appeared to be just rock. It was a rock “plateau” that was about 15 feet x 15 feet or so. I’m still not sure what that straight line on the scan is and it might warrant another dive if we are in the area.

Of course, at 260 feet deep, deco obligations accumulate quickly and we paid for a quick 3-5 minute exploration with 20 minutes or so of deco.

Dive 2

For the second dive, we had an even smaller target, but it needed investigation.

Those are tiny targets, but clearly stick out on the images.

Ben jumped in to see what he could find and we didn’t see him for a while so then Justin and I figured he found something and geared up and got in the water. We saw Ben on deco on the way down and he indicated that he had found something cool.

When I got to the bottom, Justin was indicating that he had a computer issue and was bailing out. I knew the direction of the target from what Ben had signaled to me. Sure enough, just a short distance away was a small, private aircraft.

After diving it and taking pictures (below), we did some research on the wreck.

We are not the first people on it.

It was originally discovered back in the early 2000s but the location was never disclosed and, as far as I know, pictures and information were never made publicly available. We are likely the only other divers to have been on the wreck and it has been a long time since it was last dove.

The Cessna Wreck

The wreck is about 205 feet deep. The wings are gone along with the tail but the body of the airplane along with the engine and the prop are still pretty intact. The seats are also surprisingly intact. There is also a lot of rope around the plane. I’m not sure if that is from other people diving it (unlikely) or if it just drifted along on the bottom of the ocean from some other place and got snagged.


I’ve included my photos below along with some from Ben Lair. They are both done in very different styles so I thought people would appreciate seeing how the same wreck site can be photographed in two completely different ways.

I have been working on photos with a black background because I think the can be very evocative and it seems to suit this wreck well.

Propeller with strawberry anemones
Cockpit close-up
Cockpit – note the prop in the front
Propeller and engine (starboard side)
Propeller and engine (port side)

Here are some photos from Ben:

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