The Fintry Wrecks

SculpinThere’s nothing like going for a few dives to celebrate getting over a bad cold, so my friend Kyle and I mounted up and headed out to Fintry to check out some of the diving there! Fintry is a small community, provincical park, and camping area on the west shore of Okanagan Lake, in British Columbia, access is by boat or by Westside Road, a road routinely voted as worst in BC (its not that bad, just go the speed limit and stay in your lane and you should be good!).

The main attractions at Fintry are the Milk Truck and The Barge at Fintry. Both sites can be accessed as shore dives with minimal walking (100m, tops) or as boat dives. If you do choose to go the shore dive route, parking can be an issue, however, if you ask politely, the families by the milk truck don’t mind you parking on their property (so as not to block the boat launch/entry point), and if lot #63 or #65 is available, you can park there in the camping area of the park. If they’re not, #63 has lots of space for an extra vehicle if the family doesn’t mind. Hint: bring back pictures to show and they seldom mind!).

The Milk Truck was our first dive, as it was easily the deeper of the two sites. The route to it is direct, walk straight out from the boat launch and start going down! As it is summer, vis was so-so at best, even at depth; it maxed out around 4-6m. Currents were nil, and the maximum depth is 33m. The Milk Truck is laying facing towards the shore, and starts around 30m. There are all kinds of rumours about how it got there, but given that its been stripped (no seats, most doors gone), my money is on “rolled or pushed into the lake”. The bottom is steeply angled and has a few near vertical drops on the way to the down, and the bottom composition is silty mud. A big thing here was the numerous thermoclines we went through to get to the site. 20˚C surface to 16˚C, to 10˚C and finally to 4˚C at the site. It was enough that the moisture muncher in my camera housing was overwhelmed and the system was fogged until we got back to the 16˚C depth area.

With a tank and a half left, we set off for the Barge at Fintry. The Barge is a Canadian Pacific Railway barge that was used before road and highway service were effective for large scale goods transport. After it was retired, it was purchased by Fintry Estates, who planned to use its parts for a float. Nature had other plans though, and the barge sank. It now rests around 12m of water, directly out from campsite #63. If you get past 18m in depth and haven’t seen it, you’ve missed it. The barge is a recognized archaeological site, and subject to the protections of one. You can penetrate the wreck however, and there are numerous entry and exit points. The maximum depth at the site would be around 21m, and currents are nil. Vis was poor (summer in BC) at about 3-4m, with a lot of particulate. The barge is huge, and home to a surprising amount of aquatic life, including the ubiquitous freshwater sculpins and a fair sized school of Largescale Suckers.

Over all, both areas are fun dives, but one off’s as opposed to repeat visit types. They’re also good for all levels of divers. I would like to hit the Barge at Fintry in the cooler season though, to see it in god vis though and do a penetration. We also tested out the DiveMax Air dive planner app for Android; that review will be up next after part two of Don’t Pee on That! coming this saturday!

About the author

Graeme is a professional diver, qualified as a PADI and SDI Divemaster, DCBC 40m Unrestricted Commercial Scuba Diver, 30m Restricted Surface Supply diver, and CAUS Scientific Diver Lv.2. Graeme has an Associate Degree of Arts in Environmental Studies, where he focused on archaeology and physical geography, and an Advanced GIS certificate.