British Virgin Islands
Vacation and Dive Cyber-Log 1997 and 1998
Fish Border
By Lynn McKamey (ScubaMom)
My dive log pages from 1992 to 1996 covered most of the BVI dive sites, so I will use this page to add new dive information as we find it during our continuing trips to the BVI.  Let's start with a new wreck dive that we made in November 1996 and didn't see again until May 1998. 
Wreck of the Inganess Bay
A new artificial reef for the British Virgin Islands

In May 1998, we returned to Peter Island, Biras Creek, and Guana Island.  Our first dive with Randy at Peter island was on the Wreck of the Inganess Bay which was sunk by the BVI dive operations as a new artifical reef in August 1996.  Here's the story of how this ship became the newest wreck dive in the BVI from the 1997 news release. 

The steel hulled Inganess Bay was built in Holland in 1950 for a Scottish company. In 1988, Captain Hugh Bailey of Antigua sold the ship to Captain Cosmos Sealey.  From 1988 to 1996, the colorful red ship plied Caribbean trade routes from Puerto Rico to Trinidad. 

During a storm in 1996, the steel ship snapped her anchor chain and grounded in Road Harbour, Tortola in front of The Moorings.  After assessing the damage and repair costs, Captain Sealey graciously offered the ship to the BVI Dive Operators as an artificial reef. 

The BVI Dive Operators Association met with the BVI Ports Authority, Department of Conservation and Fisheries, and local police and fire brigade to consider the final resting place for the lnganess Bay.  Joe Giacinto of Dive BVI recommended sinking it just south of Cooper Island, out of shipping lanes and away from points where yachtsmen enter and exit the BVI. 

To prepare the Inganess Bay for its one-way trip to the bottom, workers emptied fuel tanks and then removed the main engine, all loose wood, and most doors.  Many thanks go to Captain Sealey and his crew--who provided a tremendous amount of labor--and to Kevin Rowlette of Shanty Maritime Services Ltd, who provided the knowledge and equipment to pull the Inganess Bay off the shoreline in Road Harbour. 

Extricating the vessel took a great deal more effort than anticipated.  The job started at 6 a.m., and the ship was not floated until noon.  Workers needed ten pumps to keep the Inganess Bay afloat during the one-hour tow from Road Harbour to Cooper island.  At 3:30 p.m. the ship made her final trip, this time to the bottom. 

Amazingly enough, the ship went down perfectly and rests right side up sitting flat on its bottom just south of Cooper Island in 95 feet of water, with 45 feet of water over each masthead.  The site allows quick access from all points in the BVI and provides protection from swells and wind-driven seas. 

During November 1996 not long after she was sunk, we dived the Inganess Bay and were amazed at the amount of marine life which had already been attracted to the wreck. 

We didn't dive it again until May 1998 and didn't find as many fish this time, but reef coral and sponge had definitely found a new home and the ship is slowly being encrusted with marine life. 

Wouldn't you know my video camera broke a day before the dive, but no problem, I called Jim Scheiner of Rainbow Visions Photo in Tortola and arranged to rent one of his.  Jim came along on the dive too - a real treat since he's well known for his excellent underwater photos and author of the book "Diving British Virgin Islands". 

So, armed with my camera, we descended toward the wreck and the whole ship immediately came into view -- we had excellent visibility. 

overview of the wreck
I followed one of the divers down to the deck level of about 55 feet. We found a few fish hanging out in the bulkheads, cracks, and crevises. 
descent to the wreck

Then I started working my way around the entire 136' long ship.  Lots of goodies are growing along the side and I found a squirrelfish hanging out near a small port hole. 

fish near porthole of wreck

As you can see from the photo below, the wreck is quite massive and takes some time to explore. 

As I was circumnavigating the ship, I spied a nice big southern ray off to the side!  Alas, I was at 90' and couldn't spend much time trying to get a good photo, but here it is anyway. 
ray at the wreck
All in all - it was a great dive!  Oh, I almost forgot to show you the prop picture with the queen angel fish hanging around it. 
And THAT ends my story of the Wreck of the Inganess Bay!  It's well worth a visit, but do the Wreck of the Rhone first! 

I'll be adding more to this page and section of my web site since I still have lots more pictures to show you and some of my best.  In closing... here is a picture of me at the wreck.  My dive gear is getting pretty old and ragged, but that hot pink still shows up pretty good, don't ya think?  <grin> 

ScubaMom on the wreck, picture by Jim Scheiner of Rainbow Visions, BVI
THE END ... Until the next dive trip ...
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Go to ScubaMom's BVI Dive Log 1992
Go to ScubaMom's BVI Dive Log 1993
Go to ScubaMom's BVI Dive Log 1994
Go to ScubaMom's BVI Dive Log 1995
Go to ScubaMom's BVI Dive Log 1996
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