|| Wooden, three-masted barque converted into schooner-barge
Toronto harbour, Lake Ontario
|| 66 feet
|| 134 feet
In diving they teach you to plan how to deal with problems. A few years ago a problem on this site might have been… what happens if I surface and all my dive gear has dissolved? Being at the foot of a major metropolitan center (you can see details on the CN Tower and Skydome from here, they’re so close) you never know what kind of chemicals are making their way through these waters. That appears to be less of a problem today, and this was quite a good dive (and all gear that went down came back).
The Sligo started life as a three-masted barque (actually, it started as a bunch of trees, but let’s not go back QUITE that far) that was used as an ocean-going vessel before being converted into a "canaller" schooner barge.
During a storm that threatened her and her tug she took on water and either broke loose or was cut loose allowing the tug to make it to shore. The Sligo’s crew made it to shore in a lifeboat. (Rumour has it that when they reached shore they went to a pub to "warm up" and did not report their safety until the next morning, making people believe for awhile they were dead in the storm.)
This dive features 15′-40′ of visibility (at least the days we did it), and a slight current to help deal with the fine silt which is easily kicked up. The wooden-stock anchor is still inside the bow on the port side just beside the windlass. Twenty feet off the stern lies her signature piece: the wheel, with a short length of steering gear below it keeping it propped up off the bottom.
A boiler towards the bow of the wreck has a thin glass tube that looks like a water level-indicator which is a rarity, especially after nine decades on the bottom.
It can be hard to tell when you’ve found part of her cargo since the Sligo was carrying stone for a highway construction project (a predecessor of the QEW) when she sank.