Quarry Rock Barge aka Yesteryear (Long Beach — 175 fsw)

Background

After we did our dive on the UB-88, we moved to another close-by wreck site that has traditionally gone by the name “Yesteryear.” If I remember correctly, according to Ray Arntz, the moniker is based upon what fisherman used to call the site.

This specific wreck is a bit of a mystery that we are attempting to unravel. There have been a few other divers on the site over the years but nobody has discovered the origin of the site (as far as I know).

The wreck is about 175 feet deep to the sand. We had a bit better visibility than we had on the sub. The wreck itself appears to be some type of barge with a “container” section in the middle and two large flat sections on either end.

The large, central section has a very prominent axle and gears along the length of one side. It also has vertical walls that are about 20 feet high and they are sloped at the bottom. On either side of the central “container” section is flat barge sections. Since it is a barge, it is hard to tell which end is the “bow” and which end is the “stern.”

There are bollards and other structure on both of the flat sections. I believe that the flat sections provided both extra flotation but also a place to put a crane or other heavy equipment to help with loading/unloading the rock.

I think the axle and gears hold a significant clue along with the sloped bottom. Based on a newspaper article I found while trying to research the wreck, it mentioned that a specific type of barge for carrying rocks has:

“…two heavy gates, held shut by chains running up over pulleys to strong lines of shafting along the side. The shafting is keyed so that it holds the gates shut till the barge is brought to the correct position for dumping.”

Los Angeles Times article
LA Times Article

Catalina Island has a large rock quarry that supplies a lot of the rock used for the jetties and other structures on the mainland here. In addition, Ray mentioned that there is a large deposit of quarry rock a short distance (300 feet or so) from the main wreck site.

Based on the surrounding rock, the long axle/gears, the shape of the middle section and the location, my belief is that the barge was carrying quarry rock from Catalina to the mainland when something happened and it started taking on water. At this point, they might have dumped the quarry rock to lighten the load in attempts to prevent a sinking but it wasn’t enough.

Again, it is pure speculation but we will continue to research for clues and information.

Photos

Below are photos of different sections of the wreck.

Axle/Gears

Bollards and other equipment at the “ends” of the flat sections

Internal “V” shape of the bin

Photogrammetry Models

I’ve been a bit stymied trying to get a complete model of the site. I’ve had three dives on it and so I have three models that all show different section and using different techniques. I’ll describe each of them below and will post links to the models created by each of them. I don’t really plan to dive the site again so I think this will have to do for now.

Model 1

This was the model I built from the first dive. As per usual, my first dive on the site wasn’t necessarily with the goal of creating a photogrammetry model. It was more about taking some good pictures (posted above). However, I was able to piece together a model of one small section which is also the most identifiable section – the “wheel / gear” on one end of the axle.

Model 2

On the second dive, I had a plan to create a model using only natural light photos (similar to what I had tried on the UB88 to build a photomosaic). Once again, the Live View feature of the Sony cameras had me thinking I was getting plenty of light and detail in the photos. However, when I went to actually view them, they were all dark and I had to really boost up exposure in order to get any detail — which resulted in “grainy” photos and you can actually see that in this model. Below is a sample photo that has been “boosted” in Lightroom:

Model 3

For the third model, my approach was to again basically just take a “top-down” series of photos but use video lights. For some reason, I was just not having a good dive day and cut my dive short and only got about 1/2 of the structure done. It is actually a reasonable large structure to begin with. The “good news” is that it is on the “opposite” side of Model 2. So, between the three different models, you can get a sense of what the site is like.

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