New Wreck : Sea Dancer (To Be Confirmed) / (Scripps Canyon — 235 fsw)


Tyler and I got a tip and GPS location from some friends at Scripps who are also involved with Project Recover. They said there was a wreck near Scripps Canyon that they found and they had a good side scan image.

Side scan image from Scripps / Project Recover

When I saw the side scan, I was pretty amazed at how big the wreck seemed to be and, more importantly, that nobody else has apparently found or dove it. It looked to be about 100 feet long and a sailing vessel of some sort and was relatively deep (235 feet) so maybe that was the reason nobody had been there.

After our dive on the P-38, we headed south to check out the target with the intention to just do a “bounce dive” to see what was there. The sonar returns looked like a massive target with a lot of fish so I geared up and jumped in.

It was dark but we had good visibility in deep water and I soon saw a large, round pipe-like object. At first I thought it was some kind of outfall pipe but soon realized it was the main mast. I followed the mast to a very large sailing yacht. My camera got into some funky mode so it stopped taking pictures but I was able to snap a few before that and I also had my GoPro running.

It was a relatively short dive — but enough to know that it was worth diving again and trying to identify the ship. Below are few photos from the initial dive.

Wreck ID Dive

Momentum stalled a little bit when I took a 2 week trip to Palau shortly after the initial bounce dive. However, we knew we wanted to go back to try to identify the wreck. On my GoPro footage, we had seen a little bit of the name was visible on the transom above the swim step.

I did a second dive on the yacht with the primary goal to find the name, a secondary goal of getting more photos, and a tertiary goal of potentially doing some penetration into the wreck. I was alone on the dive and there was some polypro line near the entrance at the stern so I decided not to enter the wreck and instead surveyed the outside and shoved my camera into a couple of the spaces. I actually did end up getting a bit tangled in fishing line but cut it away.

Vessel Name

I tried to clear away some of the debris from the transom and was somewhat successful. There were some areas where I would have needed something like a putty knife or something stronger to remove all the debris. Also, since the center of the transom is missing, we need to guess a little bit at the name. Based on the photos and some guesswork, Tyler came up with “Sea Dance” or “Sea Dancer.” The latter seems more likely so we are going with that for now.

In addition, the first couple of letters of the registered port are now visible and it looks like “Port XXXXX.” The problem is that there are way too many boat registration locations that being with “Port.” Below are some photos before and after the scrubbing.

Internal Photos

I didn’t penetrate the wreck; however, I did take some pictures by shoving my camera through the openings. It seems like the interior was cleared out prior to sinking because there aren’t any cushions, etc. Also, in one of the pictures, you can see what I think the engine without the engine cover on.

Other Photos / Notes

This vessel is somewhat unique. It is obviously a sailing yacht but has features from a fishing vessel on the back (bait tank, swim step, etc.). It also has a steering console off to the side of the bait tank. It also has twin props.

Thanks To…

This would not be possible without the location and tip information from a friend of a friend at Scripps. Thanks to both of you for the info — you know who you are!!!

As usual, Lora and Chris at Marissa Charters did an amazing job getting us on the target and surface support

Thanks to Tyler for his continued partnership in finding new wrecks in the waters of Southern California.

8 thoughts on “New Wreck : Sea Dancer (To Be Confirmed) / (Scripps Canyon — 235 fsw)

      1. It seems unusual for something that size to sink without an obvious cause. This is certainly one of your more interesting finds! A quick search didn’t turn up anything about a boat named Sea Dancer sinking around San Diego, so I’m definitely staying tuned to this

        I love reading about your finds in our local waters, even though pretty much everything is at depths I won’t be experiencing. Some of my dive buddies have made numerous notable finds locally, and I really enjoy talking to them about it. But your reports are so in the moment it brings new insights and the ability to interact as you uncover more details

      2. Thanks, Geoff. Yes, it is a bit of a strange one. Not sure when I will get back to dive it again but if I do, I hope to uncover more clues. We did a bunch of searching as well and couldn’t find anything specific.

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