Transcript: Ep. 2 - Reefs of Steel | Mar 12, 2019

(music plays)

Fast clips show warships abandoned at the harbors.

The narrator says AROUND THE WORLD
THOUSANDS OF RETIRED WARSHIPS
ARE RUSTING AWAY.
TOXIC NIGHTMARES
FILLED WITH POLLUTANTS.
WHAT CAN BE DONE
WITH THE AGING RELICS?
CUTTING UP AND SALVAGING
SCRAP METAL FROM THESE SHIPS
IS EXPENSIVE AND DANGEROUS.
LEAVING THEM TO ROT, LEAKING
FUEL AND HARMFUL CHEMICALS
INTO THE SEA IS A RECIPE
FOR DISASTER.
THERE IS ANOTHER OPTION.
CLEAN THE SHIPS REALLY WELL,
ADD SOME EXPLOSIVE CHARGES,
AND SINK THEM.

A clip shows a sinking of a boat.

[BOOMS]
[WATER GURGLES]

The narrator says ONCE ON THE OCEAN FLOOR,
FORMER WARSHIPS TRANSFORM
INTO VIBRANT ARTIFICIAL REEFS.
MARINE SPECIES COLONIZE THESE
IRON AND STEEL STRUCTURES
AT AN ASTONISHING PACE.
A CANADIAN TEAM, THE
ARTIFICIAL REEF SOCIETY OF
BRITISH COLUMBIA, IS ATTEMPTING
TO SINK ITS EIGHTH PROJECT.
THE ANNAPOLIS,
A 366 FOOT DESTROYER.
BUT SINCE THEIR FIRST TOUR
OF THE DECOMMISSIONED SHIP,
THE GROUP HAS ENDURED YEARS OF
DELAYS AND REGULATORY HURDLES.
THOUSANDS OF VOLUNTEER HOURS
HAVE BEEN INVESTED
IN THE PROJECT.
WILL IT FINALLY BE SUNK?
IN THE CAYMAN ISLANDS, THE
KITTIWAKE MET A WATERY GRAVE
WHILE HUNDREDS OF
ONLOOKERS CHEERED.
IT'S NOW A POPULAR
TOURIST ATTRACTION
AND A THRIVING MANMADE REEF.
IN THE FLORIDA KEYS, ARTIFICIAL
REEFS PROVIDE NEW MARINE HABITAT
AND RELIEVE PRESSURE
ON NATURAL CORAL REEFS.
IN MAY, 2009, AFTER MORE
THAN A DECADE OF DELAYS
AND BUDGET SHORTFALLS,
THE USS VANDENBERG
WAS SUNK IN THE WATERS
OFF KEY WEST.
SINKING MASSIVE WARSHIPS
IS NOT WITHOUT ITS PROBLEMS
OR OPPONENTS.
EACH PROJECT HAS TO BALANCE
ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS
WITH EVER INCREASING COSTS
AND TECHNICAL CHALLENGES.
AND SINKINGS DON'T
ALWAYS GO AS PLANNED.
THE FUTURE IS UNCERTAIN
FOR THESE REEFS OF STEEL.
[BOOM]
[WATER SPLASHES]

Music plays as the opening sequence rolls.

The title of the show appears against clips showing images of marine life. It reads "The Blue Realm."

The narrator says FROM ALL THIS EXPLOSIVE ENERGY
AND CHAOS COMES LIFE,
MARINE LIFE, AS SUNKEN SHIPS
TRANSFORM INTO ARTIFICIAL REEFS.
WITHIN DAYS OF SINKING,
ALGAE BEGINS TO GROW
AND INVERTEBRATES COLONIZE
IRON AND STEEL.
SMALL FISH GATHER AND SOON
APEX PREDATORS APPEAR,
INCREASING DIVERSITY,
UNTIL A COMPLEX
MARINE ECOSYSTEM IS FORMED.

The name of the episode reads "Reefs of Steel."

A caption reads "Esquimalt, British Columbia."

The narrator says IN 2004, MEMBERS OF THE
ARTIFICIAL REEF SOCIETY
OF BRITISH COLUMBIA VISITED
CANADA'S PACIFIC NAVAL BASE
ON VANCOUVER ISLAND.
THEY WERE INVITED BY GOVERNMENT
OFFICIALS TO INSPECT
THE ANNAPOLIS, A RECENTLY
RETIRED DESTROYER ESCORT.
THE WARSHIP WAS FOR SALE
BUT THE TEAM WASN'T LOOKING
TO BUY IT FOR SCRAP VALUE
OR EVEN TO KEEP IT AFLOAT.
THEY WERE PLANNING TO SINK IT
AS AN ARTIFICIAL REEF.

The caption changes to "Wes Roots. Project Manager."

Wes is in his forties, with short brown hair and a thick beard. He wears beige trousers, a black polo T-shirt and a black cap hat with a headlamp.

Wes says HERE WE ARE DOWN
AT THE EX-HMCS ANNAPOLIS.
JUST DOING A WALK-THROUGH TO
SORT OF CHECK ON THE GENERAL
CONDITION WHICH GIVES US AN IDEA
OF WHAT WE'VE GOT TO DEAL WITH
FOR PREPARATION, CLEANING,
EQUIPMENT REMOVAL, ETC.
HERE WE ARE IN THE WARDROOM.
WE USE IT AS A LUNCH ROOM.
BUT ONCE IT WAS THE REGAL PALACE
OF THE OFFICERS OF THE SHIP.
MOST OF THESE SHIPS WERE ALL
BUILT AND THEY WERE MALE ONLY
BACK IN THE OLD DAYS.
HERE WE HAVE FEMALE HEADS
AND WASH PLACE
SO FOR OBVIOUS REASONS THEY
HAVE THEIR OWN LITTLE SPACE.
THESE WOULD HAVE BEEN ALL THE
SHIP'S OFFICES ALONG THIS SIDE.
ADMINISTRATION OFFICE,
ENGINEERING OFFICE.
THIS IS ENGINEERS.
PAYMASTER'S OFFICE
IS DOWN THIS WAY.

The narrator says WES ROOTS'
BUSINESS IS MARINE SALVAGE
AND HE KNOWS BOATS,
ESPECIALLY BIG NAVY VESSELS.

Wes says ACTUALLY, WE'LL GO
UP THE BRIDGE FIRST.

The narrator says WES IS THE PROJECT
MANAGER FOR THE REEF SOCIETY
AND IS OVERSEEING THE
PREPARATION, CLEANING
AND METAL RECYCLING ON A HALF
DOZEN OF THESE NAVY SHIPS.
AND ON THE ANNAPOLIS,
WES IS LOOKING FOR TREASURE.
METALS THAT CAN BE REMOVED AND
SOLD TO HELP FUND THE PROJECT.

Wes says AS FAR AS THE SALVAGE
VALUE ON THE SHIP, OF COURSE,
IT'S ALL RECYCLABLE METALS.
SO ANY OF THE NON-FERROUS
RECYCLABLE METALS
IS WHERE ANY VALUE IS.
THE COPPERS, THE BRASSES,
THE STAINLESS STEELS.
YOU JUST DON'T GET
ANY BETTER THAN THIS.
LOTS OF BRASS AND COPPER,
STAINLESS, ALUMINUM.
THIS IS WHAT MAKES IT ALL WORK.
HERE WE ARE IN THE NICE SHINY
STAINLESS STEEL GALLEY.
THE PRICE OF STAINLESS STEEL
IS PRETTY HIGH RIGHT NOW
SO IT DEFINITELY HELPS THINGS.
I WAS GOING TO GET MY WIFE
A BIG SOUP POT LIKE
THAT BECAUSE I'VE GOT SIX KIDS
BUT SHE DIDN'T SEE
THE HUMOUR IN IT.

He laughs and says I LOOK AROUND AT ALL THE METAL
AND EFFECTIVELY THIS IS WHAT
FUELS THE WHOLE MACHINE.
WHEN WE FIRST STARTED
DOING THESE SHIPS,
I HAD A NIFTY OLD GUY
HELPING ME THROUGH THIS ALL.
I STILL REMEMBER HIM GOING
DOWN TO THE ENGINE ROOM
WITH ONE OF THE YOUNG GUYS
THAT WAS WORKING WITH US.
HE WENT DOWN THERE
AND HE SAYS, "MIKE,"
HE SAYS, "CAN YOU SMELL IT?"
AND HE SAYS, "WHAT, JOE?"
HE SAYS, "BRASS."
HE SAYS, "IT'S EVERYWHERE."
HAVEN'T DONE SO MANY OF THESE
SHIPS OF VERY SIMILAR DESIGN.
EVERY TIME I GET INTO
ONE OF THESE PROJECTS,
I GET ON THE SHIP AND I GO HOME
AT NIGHT AND I WONDER TO MYSELF,
"WHY DO MY LEGS HURT SO MUCH?"
AND THEN I REALIZE THAT
I'M ON THE GIANT STAIRMASTER.
THERE'S MORE SETS OF STAIRS
AND ALL DAY LONG
YOU'RE GOING UP AND DOWN STAIRS.
IF I'VE GOT A HARD HAT ON,
I'LL KNOCK THE HAT OFF
100 TIMES DURING THE DAY.
BUT ONCE YOU'VE WORKED
ON THE SHIP LONG ENOUGH,
YOU JUST INSTINCTIVELY KNOW.
IT'S LIKE A CAT WITH WHISKERS.
YOU SORT OF MOVE ALONG
AND YOU CAN SENSE THAT
IT'S THERE AND JUST DIP.
RARELY DO I BANG MY HEAD.

The narrator says ALTHOUGH SALVAGE
WORK IS IMPORTANT TO THE PROJECT
WES ROOTS' MAIN RESPONSIBILITY
IS PREPARING THE SHIP
FOR SINKING.
AND THAT REQUIRES A ZEALOUS
APPROACH TO REMOVING POLLUTANTS,
FUELS AND OTHER MATERIALS
THAT JUST DON'T BELONG
IN THE OCEAN.

Wes says THE SHIP'S GOING TO HAVE
OIL, ESPECIALLY IN THE
MACHINERY SPACES.
THERE'S GOING TO BE OIL SPILT
ON DECK PLATES AND
UNDERNEATH BITS AND PIECES.
WHEN WE FINISH CLEANING
THIS SHIP, IT'LL BE CLEANED
TO THE POINT, NOT ONLY
WILL YOU NOT SEE ANY OIL
BUT WHEN WE FLOOD THE SPACE,
THERE WILL BE NO OIL SHEEN
ON THE WATER.
IT TAKES A VERY SMALL BIT OF OIL
TO PUT A SHEEN ON THE WATER.
TO EFFICIENTLY CLEAN THIS SHIP,
WE PROBABLY NEED SIX MONTHS
TO DO THE JOB FRONT TO BACK.
GIVEN ALL THE LITTLE EXTRA TIME
YOU NEED FOR ANY PROBLEMS
THAT MIGHT ARISE.
AS MUCH AS IT WOULD BE
FINANCIALLY REWARDING
TO CUT THIS WHOLE SHIP
UP INTO SCRAP STEEL,
IT'S A FABULOUS END TO THESE
SHIPS TO SEND THEM AS REEF.
WE TAKE ENOUGH SALVAGE OFF
TO FINANCE THE JOB.
BUT THIS SHIP WILL BE GOING FOR
DECADES AS AN ARTIFICIAL REEF.
IT WILL BE A FABULOUS SIGHT FOR
BOTH THE FISH AND THE DIVERS.

The caption changes to "Jay Straith. Canadian Artificial Reef Consultants."

Jay is in his forties, clean-shaven and with short gray hair. He wears a navy blue shirt and a black cap with a headlamp.

Jay says HOPEFULLY THE ANNAPOLIS
WILL BE GIVEN A REAL
VIKING'S FUNERAL AS
AN ARTIFICIAL REEF.
IF NOT, SHE'LL HAVE THE
IGNOBLE FATE OF BEING TOWED
TO A SCRAPYARD IN
A THIRD WORLD COUNTRY
AND JUST CUT INTO RAZOR BLADES.
AND THE POLLUTANTS LEFT ONBOARD
THE SHIP WILL END UP BACK
IN THE MARINE ENVIRONMENT.

The caption changes to "Howard Robins. President, Artificial Reef Society of B.C."

Howard is in his forties, with short gray hair and a moustache and wears a black turtleneck under a denim shirt.

Howard says IT'S A VERY BIG
CONCERN TOO, FROM A POLLUTION
STANDPOINT, HOW WELL THESE
SHIPS ARE BEING PREPARED
BY PEOPLE WHO ARE OUT
IN THESE SCRAPYARDS,
SIMPLY TEARING THINGS
APART HELTER-SKELTER.
WE SEE THAT AS A TOTAL DISREGARD
FOR THE REAL BENEFIT USE
OF AN ARTIFICIAL REEF,
LIKE A SHIP,
IN TERMS OF USABILITY
AND TOURISM.

The narrator says AFTER LENGTHY
NEGOTIATIONS, THE ARTIFICIAL
REEF SOCIETY ACQUIRED
THE SHIP A FEW YEARS AFTER
THEIR INITIAL INSPECTION TOUR.
BUT LITTLE DID THEY KNOW
THE ANNAPOLIS PROJECT
WOULD DRAG ON FOR
NEARLY A DECADE.
THE TEAM WAS CERTAINLY
THE RIGHT ONE FOR THE JOB.
THEY HAD CAREFULLY PREPARED,
SALVAGED AND SUNK
SIX OF THESE SHIPS.
AND EVEN A BOEING 737 AIRCRAFT.
THE FIRST NAVAL VESSEL ACQUIRED
BY THE ARTIFICIAL REEF SOCIETY
WAS THE HMCS CHAUDIERE,
A DESTROYER ESCORT.
THE SHIP WAS BUILT IN
HALIFAX IN THE 1950S,
AT THE HEIGHT OF THE COLD WAR.
AFTER A LONG AND DISTINGUISHED
CAREER AS A PEACEKEEPER,
IT WAS PURCHASED FROM
THE CANADIAN GOVERNMENT FOR
THE PRINCELY SUM OF A DOLLAR
PLUS TAX, OF COURSE.
NO ONE COULD HAVE EVER
IMAGINED THE CHAUDIERE
WOULD SERVE OUT HER FINAL YEARS
ON THE OCEAN FLOOR.

The caption changes to "December 5th, 1992."

The narrator says SUCH A HUGE SHIP HAD NEVER
BEEN PURPOSELY SUNK IN CANADA.
IT WAS A DAUNTING PROJECT.
AND THE SHIP'S SINKERS HAD
TO LEARN AS THEY WENT ALONG.

The caption changes to "Neil McDaniel. Cinematographer, zoologist."

Neil is in his fifties, with short gray hair and a beard. He wears a black jacket and a beige cap hat.

Clips show images of the moment the ship sinks.

Neil says WHEN WE FIRST SAW THE
CHAUDIERE SITTING AT THE DOCK
IN ESQUIMALT, I THOUGHT,
"THIS IS NUTS.
THIS THING'S HUGE.
THERE'S NO WAY
WE'RE EVER GOING TO TURN THIS
INTO A ARTIFICIAL REEF.
THERE'S SUCH MUCH WORK TO DO."
THE SINKING OF THE CHAUDIERE
DIDN'T EXACTLY
GO ACCORDING TO PLAN.
THESE ARE LARGE SHIPS
AND WE DIDN'T HAVE A LOT
OF SUPPORT VESSELS
TO HELP KEEP IT IN
THE RIGHT POSITION.
WHEN IT STARTED TO SINK,
WE HAD NO MORE CONTROL OVER IT.
IT ACTUALLY GOT OFF LINE
ABOUT 70 DEGREES
AND IT ALSO SANK
ON ITS PORT SIDE.
NARROW SHIPS ARE 366 FEET LONG
BUT THEY'RE ONLY 66 FEET WIDE.
SO IT'S EASY FOR THEM TO GET TOP
HEAVY AS THEY START TO SINK AND
THEN ROLL OVER AND THAT'S WHAT
HAPPENED WITH THE CHAUDIERE.

The narrator says NEIL'S CAMERA
IS MOUNTED TO THE SHIP,
PROVIDED A FISH-EYE VIEW
OF THE ACTION.

A clip now shows the ship on the ocean floor.

The narrator says THIS IS THE CHAUDIERE TODAY.
TWENTY YEARS AFTER BEING SUNK,
THE SHIP IS A MAGNIFICENT
ARTIFICIAL REEF.

Neil says IT'S LYING ON ITS
PORT SIDE, ON THE BOTTOM.
IT'S A LOVELY WRECK.
IT'S MORE LIKE A REAL SHIPWRECK
IN THAT IT'S KIND OF HAPHAZARDLY
LYING ON THE BOTTOM
RATHER THAN BEING UPRIGHT,
THE WAY THE MORE RECENT SHIPS
HAVE GONE DOWN.

The narrator says THE ARTIFICIAL
REEF SOCIETY LEARNED
MANY HARD LESSONS
FROM THEIR EXPERIENCES
WITH THE CHAUDIERE
AND LATER PROJECTS.
THEY ARE NOW CONSIDERED
WORLD LEADERS
IN THIS UNUSUAL FIELD
OF EXPERTISE.
CANADIANS HAVE LITERALLY WRITTEN
THE BOOK ON HOW TO PROPERLY
PREPARE, CLEAN AND SINK A SHIP
WITHIN DEMANDING
ENVIRONMENTAL STANDARDS.

(music plays)

The narrator says DR CHRIS HARVEY-CLARK
IS A BIOLOGIST AND PROFESSOR
AT THE UNIVERSITY
OF BRITISH COLUMBIA.
HE'S AN EXPERT ON MARINE LIFE
COLONIZATION OF SUNKEN SHIPS.
TODAY, ALONG WITH VETERAN
CINEMATOGRAPHER AND ZOOLOGIST,
NEIL MCDANIEL, CLARK IS
MAKING HIS FIRST DIVES
ON TWO LONG ESTABLISHED
REEF PROJECTS.
THE WRECKS OF THE CAPE BRETON
AND THE SASKATCHEWAN.

Chris is in his forties, with short wavy brown hair and a shadow of a beard. He wears glasses, a blue and white gingham shirt and a brown jacket with shearling lining.

Chris says WHAT HAVE YOU GOT
IN THERE, GOLD BARS?

Neil says YEAH, SORRY.
OUR BEER COOLER.

Chris says OH, GOOD.
I'M GLAD BECAUSE IT'S HEAVY,
THAT'S A GOOD SIGN.

The narrator says THE SHIPWRECKS ARE
LOCATED A FEW MILES OFFSHORE
AND ARE ONLY ACCESSIBLE BY BOAT.

Kevin says OKAY.

The narrator says CHARTER OPERATOR
KEVIN BRECKMAN MAKES
A SIZEABLE CHUNK OF HIS LIVING
SHUTTLING SCUBA DIVERS
BACK AND FORTH TO THE SITES.

The caption changes to "Kevin Breckman. Sea Dragon Charters."

Kevin is in his fifties, clean-shaven and with short white hair. He wears glasses, jeans, a black hoodie and a blue zip-up vest.

Kevin says THE WRECKS
ARE A FANTASTIC THING.
SPECIFICALLY JUST
FOR THE BIODIVERSITY
AND FOR THE INCREASE
IN MARINE LIFE.
ECONOMICALLY THEY'RE SPECTACULAR
BECAUSE IT INCREASES NOT ONLY
THE SPORT OF DIVING AND THE
INTEREST IN THE SPORT OF DIVING,
BUT THE OFFSHOOT
OF HOTELS, RESTAURANTS.
JUST BASICALLY THE
TOURIST INDUSTRY.
IT'S JUST A FANTASTIC THING
AND HOPEFULLY WE CAN
CONTINUE TO DO SO.

The narrator says THE WATERS
OFF BRITISH COLUMBIA
ARE GENERALLY DARK AND COLD.
BUT THAT DOESN'T STOP MOST
SCUBA DIVERS IN THE PROVINCE.
THEY'RE A HARDY BUNCH.

Chris puts on a diving suit says WELL, THE WATER
IS DARN COLD HERE
AND ABOUT 50 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT.
SO, WE'VE GOT TO WEAR DRY SUITS
TO PROTECT OURSELVES THERMALLY.

The narrator says SCUBA DIVERS HERE
NEED A LOT OF EQUIPMENT,
HEAVY WEIGHT BELTS,
BUOYANCY COMPENSATORS,
THICK GLOVES AND HOODS.
IT CAN BE A BIT CUMBERSOME.

Chris says THE MOMENT OF TRANSITION,
WHEN WE GO FROM BEING LAND
ANIMALS TO WATER ANIMALS.
SO, NEIL, I'M REALLY
PUMPED ABOUT THIS.
I MEAN, THIS WRECK'S
BEEN HERE FOR 15 YEARS.
IT SHOULD BE ABSOLUTELY
LOADED WITH MARINE LIFE.
SO I'M LOOKING FORWARD
TO THE DIVE.

Neil says YEAH, CHRIS, YOU'RE
GOING TO LIKE THIS DIVE.
OF ALL THE DESTROYER ESCORTS
THAT HAVE BEEN PUT DOWN IN BC,
IT'S PROBABLY THE RICHEST
IN TERMS OF MARINE LIFE.

Neil and Chris jump in the water.

[SPLASH]
[SPLASH]

The narrator says AND THERE'S ONE MORE
PIECE OF HEAVY GEAR, THE CAMERA.

Kevin says OKAY, NEIL.

Chris says YOU'RE GETTING
YOUR WORKOUT TODAY, KEVIN.

Kevin says I AM!
THERE WE GO.
YOU GOT HER?

Neil says UH-HUH.

Kevin says OKAY.
THAT IS ONE HEAVY
FRICKING CAMERA.

Chris says IT'S A GOOD THING YOU HAD
YOUR WHEATIES THIS MORNING.

Kevin says TOTALLY.

(music plays)

The caption changes to "HMCS Saskatchewan. Sunk June 14, 1997."

The caption changes to "Doctor Chris Harvey-Clark. Marine Biologist, University of British Columbia."

Chris says THE BIG THING ABOUT
SUNKEN WRECKS IS THAT
THEY'RE REALLY A GREAT
BIG SAMPLING DEVICE.
THEY SIT PROUD AT THE BOTTOM,
UP IN THE WATER COLUMN
WHERE NOTHING WAS BEFORE.
THEY'RE HARD SUBSTRATE
AND A LOT OF ANIMALS
PREFER TO BE ATTACHED
TO HARD SURFACES.
PARTICULARLY A LOT
OF THE INVERTEBRATES.
THERE'S A CONTROVERSY ABOUT
HOW ANIMALS AND PLANTS
ARRIVE ON THESE WRECKS.
PARTICULARLY WITH FISH
WHICH CAN SWIM ON AND SWIM OFF.
ONE SCHOOL OF THOUGHT HAS IT
THAT THESE THINGS ARE GIANT
SINKHOLES AND ALL THE ANIMALS
IN THE AREA WILL
COME AND CLUSTER
AND IT'LL ACTUALLY DEPOPULATE
SURROUNDING AREAS.
THERE'S ANOTHER SCHOOL
OF THOUGHT THAT THESE
ARE ACTUALLY AMPLIFIERS.
A FEW FISH WILL COME AND
COLONIZE AND THEY'LL REPRODUCE
AND YOU'LL GET LARGER
AND LARGER NUMBERS.
I'M KIND OF FAVOURING
THE SECOND THEORY.
THESE WRECKS ARE HAVENS.
THEY ACTUALLY PROVIDE
A PLACE FOR THESE ANIMALS
TO HIDE FROM PREDATORS,
A PLACE WHERE THEY
CAN LAY THEIR EGGS,
ABILITY TO GET AWAY
FROM OTHER ANIMALS
THAT MIGHT BE COMPETITORS,
AND, OF COURSE,
THINGS SETTLE ON THE WRECKS
THAT THEY CAN FEED ON.
SO THEY'RE REALLY I THINK
HAVE AN AMPLIFYING EFFECT.
THE FIRST THING YOU SEE AS
YOU'RE COMING DOWN THE LINE
AND THIS GHOSTLY WHITE
APPEARANCE COMING AT YOU
OUT OF THE DEPTHS,
OUT OF THE MURK.
AND, OF COURSE, IT'S METRIDIUM.
IT'S THESE GIANT WHITE ANEMONES
THAT ARE EVERYWHERE,
CARPETING THE WRECK.
AND MOSTLY WHITE, THERE
ARE A FEW OTHER COLOURS.
BUT THEY'RE DEFINITELY
ONE OF THE SIGNATURES
OF THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST
AND ON THESE WRECKS.
AND THEN, OF COURSE,
LOTS OF FISH.
ONE OF THE SIGNATURE FISH WE SEE
ARE THE ROCKFISH FAMILY.
THESE ARE THESE SPIKEY LOOKING,
LONG-LIVED,
QUITE TERRITORIAL
FOR THE MOST PART, FISH.
I THINK, FOR ME, ONE OF THE MOST
EXCITING MOMENTS WAS SEEING
A SPECIES I HARDLY EVER SEE
ANYMORE, THE YELLOWEYE ROCKFISH
WHICH IS A LONG-LIVED,
LIVES TO AT LEAST 128 YEARS.
AFTER THESE WRECKS SINK, THEY
STABILIZE, THE INVERTEBRATES
ARE ATTACHED, ANIMALS
ARE STARTING TO REPRODUCE,
FISH POPULATIONS
ARE STARTING TO GROW.
THAT'S WHAT WE'RE SEEING NOW
IN THE NANAIMO AREA.
THEY HAVE, I THINK,
A 'GOLDEN PERIOD'
AND THE GOLDEN PERIOD,
WHERE THEY'RE JUST LOADED
WITH MARINE LIFE,
HAPPENS IN THE DECADES,
NOT IN PROBABLY THE FIRST DECADE
BUT THE SECOND, THIRD,
FOURTH DECADE IT BECOMES
LOADED WITH MARINE LIFE.
THESE WRECKS ARE JUST
PROBABLY COMING INTO
THEIR GOLDEN PERIOD NOW,
20 YEARS ON.
WE'RE GOING TO SEE MASSIVE
INVERTEBRATE LIFE.
THE SPONGES ARE THE THING
THAT REALLY STRIKES YOU.
WHEN YOU SEE A CLOUD SPONGE
AS BIG AS A CHESTERFIELD,
THAT'S AN EXCITING THING TO SEE.
AND ALL OF THE ANIMALS
THAT ARE THEN INSIDE THAT
AND LIVING IN THAT.
THAT'S JUST LIFE LAYERED ON LIFE
AND THAT'S THE EXCITING THING
ABOUT THESE WRECKS.
BECAUSE A LOT OF THEM HAVE
GONE INTO PLACES THAT ARE JUST
A MUD SAND BOTTOM, REASONABLY
MONOTONOUS ENVIRONMENT.
NOT A LOT OF STRUCTURE,
NOT A LOT OF HARD SUBSTRATE.
NOW YOU PUT THESE WRECKS IN
AND ALL THESE OTHER THINGS
BECOME POSSIBLE.

Fast clip show images of the ship covered in coral formations.

[WATER SPLASHES]

The divers go back up to the surface.

On the boat, Kevin says SO WHAT'D
YOU THINK OF THAT?

Chris says BEAUTIFUL.
THAT WAS FUN.
THAT WAS A GREAT DIVE.
A LOT OF DIVERSITY
AND A LOT OF DENSITY
OF LIFE ON THAT WRECK.
EVERYTHING WE PUT IN
THE OCEAN IS A MIXED BAG.
AND ARTIFICIAL REEFS ARE
PROBABLY ON THE PLUS SIDE
OF THAT MIXED BAG.
ARE THEY ABSOLUTELY BENIGN?
PROBABLY NOT.
ARTIFICIAL REEFS, IF THEY'RE
PROPERLY PREPARED AND IF THEY'RE
SUNK IN THE RIGHT PLACE, CAN
PROBABLY INCREASE BIODIVERSITY
AND PROVIDE HABITAT THAT
WASN'T THERE BEFORE.

Neil says IT'S NOT A NEW CONCEPT.
PEOPLE THINK THAT YOU'RE
RECREATING THE WHEEL HERE.
IT'S NOT SO.
I MEAN, ARTIFICIAL REEFS
HAVE BEEN USED
FOR CENTURIES TO ENHANCE
MARINE LIFE,
ESPECIALLY FISHERIES AND SO ON.
USING THESE SHIPS AS A PLACE
FOR ANIMALS TO GROW
AND FOR DIVERS TO ENJOY,
I'M OKAY WITH THAT.
I THINK IT'S A GOOD THING.
I MEAN, THERE IS OPPOSITION,
OBVIOUSLY, TO THESE PROJECTS.
A LOT OF THESE PEOPLE HOWEVER,
HAVE NEVER BEEN ON
AN ARTIFICIAL REEF.
THEY'VE NEVER SEEN ONE.
WE HAVE A VERY GOOD
TRACK RECORD HERE IN BC
AS FAR AS THESE PROJECTS GO.
I MEAN, WE'RE ONE OF
THE WORLD LEADERS IN DOING
THIS KIND OF THING.
A LOT OF PLACES IN THE WORLD,
THEY LOOK TO BC, TO WHAT WE'VE
DONE HERE, FOR THEIR INSPIRATION
AND IN DOING THESE PROJECTS.

The caption changes to "HMCS Cape Breton. Sunk October 20th, 2004."

Neil says YOU CAN'T JUST TAKE
A VESSEL OUT THERE
AND KNOCK A FEW HOLES IN IT
AND SEND IT TO THE BOTTOM.
I MEAN, THAT'S NOT GOING TO DO.
AND I THINK, NOWADAYS, THERE'S
NO PUBLIC APPETITE FOR THAT.
THE GOVERNMENT'S NOT
GOING TO LET IT HAPPEN.
AND IN MANY OF THESE SHIPS,
WHEN THEY'RE SUNK,
THEY'RE ACTUALLY CLEANER
THAN THE BOTTOM OF MOST
OF THE HULLS
SITTING IN A MARINA.
I THINK IF IT'S DONE PROPERLY,
SHIP REEFS ARE A GREAT THING
FOR THE ENVIRONMENT.

The narrator says RETIRED RCMP
EXPLOSIVES EXPERT, ROY GABRIEL,
HAS SUNK MORE SHIPS
THAN MOST NAVIES.
GABRIEL HAS OVERSEEN THE
DEMOLITION OF A HALF DOZEN
ARTIFICIAL REEF
SOCIETY PROJECTS.

Roy is in his fifties, clean-shaven and with short straight gray hair and wears jeans and a navy blue polo T-shirt.

Roy says WE'VE GOT TO GET
THIS TANK OUT OF HERE.
IT'S EITHER THAT OR OPEN
IT UP AND CLEAN IT OUT
AND THAT TAKES TOO LONG.

The narrator says GETTING A VESSEL TO
THE BOTTOM QUICKLY AND UPRIGHT
IS A TECHNICAL CHALLENGE.
IT TAKES EXPERIENCE
AND LOTS OF EXPLOSIVES.

Roy says THIS IS A SAMPLE
OF THE COPPER FLEX LINEAR.
IT'S DESIGNED AND BUILT
SPECIFICALLY FOR CUTTING STEEL.

He shows an object in the shape of an arrow tip.

He says IT'S RDX EXPLOSIVES
ON THE INSIDE
WITH A COPPER SHEETING
AROUND THE OUTSIDE.

The narrator says THE SHAPE
OF THE CHARGE CONTROLS
THE MASSIVE SHOCKWAVE
THAT'S PRODUCED.
THE EXPLOSIVES CREATE AN INTENSE
NARROW CONE OF ENERGY
THAT SLICES THROUGH
AN INCH OF STEEL PLATE
IN THE BLINK OF AN EYE.

Roy kneels in front of a wooden board with framing and says WHAT WE HAVE HERE
IS THE FACE SIDE
OR BUSINESS SIDE OF
THE EXPLOSIVE CHARGE.
THIS IS THE PORTION THAT WILL
FACE THE INSIDE OF THE SHIP.
AND THIS WHERE IT WILL
ACTUALLY PHYSICALLY CUT
A METRE SQUARE HOLE OR
A 39 INCH SQUARE HOLE
OUT OF THE SIDE OF THE SHIP.

The narrator says THE EXPLOSION
INITIALLY FORCES
THE STEEL OUTWARD.
WATER PRESSURE PUSHES THE PLATE
BACK IN AND THE SHIP FLOODS.
IT USUALLY TAKES WEEKS TO PLAN
AND ASSEMBLE THE EXPLOSIVES
THAT SINK A BIG NAVAL VESSEL.
A DOZEN OR MORE
CUSTOM DESIGNED PANELS BLOW
METRE SQUARE HOLES IN THE SHIP.
THEY'RE CARRIED, SOMETIMES
DOWN SEVERAL LEVELS
TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SHIP
AND FITTED INTO PLACE.

Roy drills the explosive board to the bottom of the ship.

Roy says LET ME GET ONE
IN THE OTHER SIDE HERE.
[DRILL WHIRS]
OKAY.
THAT'LL STAY THERE, BRUCE.

The narrator says EACH OF THE CHARGES
IS BUILT TO FIT PRECISELY
AGAINST CURVED HULLS.
FOR THE FLEX LINEAR EXPLOSIVE
TO WORK EFFECTIVELY,
THEY NEED TO BE AN EXACT
DISTANCE AWAY FROM THE STEEL.

Roy says WHEN THE ENGINE ROOM,
BOILER ROOM GO OFF, TO START
WITH THESE CHARGES WILL JUMP
RIGHT OFF THE SHIP
BECAUSE THERE'S SO MUCH
SHOCKWAVE AND TWISTING
GOING THROUGH THE SHIP
AS IT FIRES.
ALL THIS TIMBER, BASICALLY,
JUST GETS, YOU KNOW,
BLOWN INTO CHIP WOOD.

The narrator says SINKING AN ENORMOUS
WARSHIP REQUIRES
THAT THE EXPLOSIVE CHARGES
BE PRECISELY TIMED.
FIRE IN PAIRS, INSIDE
THE SHIP'S HULL,
JUST BELOW THE WATER LINE.
A TINY MARGIN OF ERROR SEPARATES
AN UPRIGHT ARTIFICIAL REEF
FROM A DANGEROUS WRECK
SITTING ON HER SIDE.
OR IN THE WORSE CASE SCENARIO,
COMPLETELY UPSIDE DOWN.

An animation shows how the ship is sunk.

The narrator says THIS IS THE FORMER
USS SPIEGEL GROVE,
AN ARTIFICIAL REEF
IN THE FLORIDA KEYS.
IT'S NOW A MAJOR SCUBA
DIVING ATTRACTION.
BUT IT HAD A VERY
TROUBLED BEGINNING.
IT'S A GOOD EXAMPLE OF THE
POTENTIAL RISKS AND WHAT CAN GO
HORRIBLY WRONG WHEN YOU SINK
THOUSANDS OF TONS OF STEEL.
AFTER CLEANING, THE 510 FOOT,
5,400 TON SHIP
WAS TOWED INTO POSITION
FOR FINAL PREPARATIONS.
BUT ON MAY 17, 2002, A DAY
BEFORE SHE WAS SUPPOSED TO SINK,
SOMETHING WENT WRONG.
NO ONE KNOWS EXACTLY WHY BUT
IT BEGAN TO SINK PREMATURELY.
SHE WAS NOT ONLY SINKING,
BUT SHE STARTED TO ROLL OVER
AND TURNED UPSIDE DOWN.
AIR WAS TRAPPED IN THE KEEL
AND THE SHIP BOBBED
AT THE SURFACE.
THE SPIEGEL GROVE WAS NOW
A SHIPPING HAZARD.
GETTING THE SHIP TO THE BOTTOM
AND, HOPEFULLY, ON HER SIDE,
WAS THE FIRST PRIORITY.
AND IT NEEDED TO BE DONE FAST.
SALVAGE TEAMS WERE BROUGHT IN.
NEW HOLES WERE CUT IN THE HULL.
AND ENORMOUS BALLOONS
WERE USED TO HELP
GET THE SHIP TURNED OVER.
ONCE ON THE BOTTOM AND
RESTING ON HER SIDE,
HURRICANE DENNIS INTERVENED.
THE STORM WAS
SERENDIPITY INDEED.
NOT ONLY DID IT HELP
PUSH THE SHIP OVER,
IT GENTLY PLACED IT UPRIGHT.
AN EVENT NO ONE COULD HAVE
EVEN REMOTELY IMAGINED.
THE SPIEGEL GROVE IS NOW
A GREAT EXAMPLE
OF WHAT CAN GO RIGHT
WITH AN ARTIFICIAL REEF.
IT'S A HAVENOR MARINE LIFE.
FISH AND ENCRUSTING
INVERTEBRATES COVER THE SHIP.
THE WRECK IS A HUGE SUCCESS.
BUT CRITICS OF ARTIFICIAL REEFS
QUESTION HOW THEY AFFECT THE
ENVIRONMENT, FISH POPULATIONS
AND NATURAL REEFS.
THE SPIEGEL GROVE IS PART
OF A LONG TERM STUDY
ON THE IMPACT OF
ARTIFICIAL REEFS.
[WATER GURGLES]
LAD AKINS IS THE PROJECT
MANAGER OF REEF,
THE REEF ENVIRONMENTAL
EDUCATION FOUNDATION.

The caption changes to "Lad Akins. Reef Environmental Education Foundation."

Lad is in his forties, clean-shaven and with short graying hair. He wears a pale blue polo T-shirt.

Lad says THE SPIEGEL GROVE IS IN
A VERY UNIQUE POSITION.
IT'S IN A SAND BOTTOM AREA,
AWAY FROM THE REEF
BUT SOMEWHAT CLOSE.
LET'S SAY WITHIN A QUARTER MILE
OF NEARBY NATURAL REEF AREAS.
I THINK THE INTENT WAS
TO PUT IT FAR ENOUGH AWAY
THAT EVEN IF IT MOVED
A LITTLE BIT,
IT WOULDN'T DAMAGE
THE NATURAL REEF.
BUT ALSO CLOSE ENOUGH SO THAT
THERE COULD BE INTERACTION
BETWEEN THE MARINE LIFE
ON THE NATURAL REEF SYSTEM
AND ON THE WRECK ITSELF.
AND I THINK WE'RE SEEING
A LOT OF THAT.
WE'RE IN HERE FOUR OF A FIVE
YEAR STUDY RIGHT NOW,
LOOKING AT THE FISH ASSEMBLAGES,
NOT ONLY ON THE SPIEGEL GROVE,
BUT ALSO ON THE ADJACENT
NATURAL REEF AREAS.
WE'VE REALLY SEEN
SOME GREAT STUFF.
OVER 170 SPECIES OF FISH
ON THE SPIEGEL GROVE ITSELF.
THERE ARE A NUMBER OF POTENTIAL
USES FOR THESE SHIPS,
ONE OF WHICH IS PLACEMENT
AS AN ARTIFICIAL REEF
BUT IT HAS TO BE DONE PROPERLY.
THEY HAVE TO BE CLEANED.
THERE NEED TO BE STUDIES DONE
OF WHAT'S IN THE AREA AND WHAT
THE POTENTIAL IMPACTS COULD BE.
AND WE REALLY NEED TO BE
CAREFUL ABOUT STORM DAMAGE
AND DETERIORATION OF THESE
STRUCTURES THROUGH THE YEARS
AS WELL AND THINK
WELL IN ADVANCE.
NOT JUST RIGHT NOW,
WHAT'S IT GOING TO DO?
BUT IN 20 OR 30 OR 50 YEARS,
WHAT'S IT GOING TO BE DOING?
SO I THINK, WHEN DONE
PROPERLY, A SHIP PLACED
AS AN ARTIFICIAL REEF
CAN BE A VERY GOOD THING.
THAT'S NOT TO SAY
IT ALWAYS IS THOUGH.

The caption changes to "Norfolk, Virginia."

The narrator says IN VIRGINIA,
TEXAS AND CALIFORNIA,
HUNDREDS OF MOTHBALLED SHIPS
ARE PART OF THE US DEFENSE
RESERVE FLEET.
SOME OF THE VESSELS ARE IN
GOOD ENOUGH SHAPE THAT THEY
CAN BE ACTIVATED FOR DUTY
IN NATIONAL EMERGENCIES.
THE OLDEST, MOST DECREPIT HULLS
ARE GENERALLY SLATED
FOR RECYCLING.
BUT FOR MANY OF THE SHIPS
THEIR ULTIMATE FATE
REMAINS UNCERTAIN.
SOME ARE JUST TOO TOXIC WITH
POLLUTANTS TO SCRAP WHILE
OTHERS ARE SIMPLY NOT VALUABLE
ENOUGH TO BOTHER SCRAPPING.

The caption changes to "Key West. Florida Keys."

The narrator says EVEN THOUGH IT WASN'T THE
LARGEST IN THE VIRGINIA
RESERVE FLEET, THE USS
VANDENBERG WAS CHOSEN
FOR A UNIQUE PROJECT
IN KEY WEST, FLORIDA.

The caption changes to "Joe Weatherby. Project Manajer."

Joe is in his forties, clean-shaven and wears sunglasses, a white T-shirt with a print on the front, and a white hard hat with a headlamp.

Joe says THE VANDENBERG PROJECT
WAS CONCEIVED
BACK IN, I GUESS, 1996.
WE HAD BEEN PUT ON NOTICE
AS A COMMUNITY FROM THE
NATIONAL MARINE SANCTUARY THAT
THEY WERE GOING TO ALLOW US
TO PUT A LARGE SHIPWRECK
DOWN HERE IN THE SANCTUARY.
SO WE MADE A DECISION AND
WE PICKED THE VANDENBERG
OUT OF AN INVENTORY
OF ABOUT 400 SHIPS.
WE LIKED IT BECAUSE OF
ALL THE TOPSIDE STRUCTURE.
WE FIGURED IT WOULD HOLD
MORE FISH THAT WAY.
AND IT WAS LISTED
AS A LOW HAZMAT SHIP,
SUITABLE FOR ARTIFICIAL REEF.
SO WE WANTED A CLEAN SHIP.
IT WAS COOL LOOKING.
IT WAS BIG.
THOSE THINGS KIND OF
DROVE THE DECISION.

The narrator says SEVERAL YEARS
INTO HER RETIREMENT,
THE VANDENBERG LOOKED
A LITTLE WORSE FOR WEAR.
BUT SHE WAS DESTINED TO JOIN
SEVERAL OTHER SUCCESSFUL
ARTIFICIAL REEF PROJECTS
IN THE FLORIDA KEYS.

Joe says THE VANDENBERG,
FROM A HISTORIC PERSPECTIVE
AND RECREATIONAL PERSPECTIVE,
WILL COMPLETE THE SOUTHERN LEG
OF THE FLORIDA HISTORIC
SHIPWRECK TRAIL.
THIS ONE WILL BE EASILY
ACCESSIBLE FOR GLASS BOTTOM
BOATS AND SNORKELERS, AS WELL
AS SCUBA DIVING AND FISHING.
SO IT'S SOMETHING THAT
EVERYBODY CAN PARTICIPATE IN.
OUR REEFS ARE STRUGGLING,
AS THEY ARE WORLDWIDE.
IN THIS PROJECT WE WORKED
WITH THE LOCAL MARITIME
RESOURCE PEOPLE AND THE
NATIONAL MARINE SANCTUARY
TO DESIGN A REEF THAT WOULD
BE ATTRACTIVE ENOUGH
TO PHYSICALLY MOVE RECREATIONAL
PRESSURE OFF OF THE NATURAL REEF
AND PUT IT ON TO
THE ARTIFICIAL REEF.
IT'S DESIGNED SPECIFICALLY
AS A MANAGEMENT TOOL
FOR THE SANCTUARY.

The narrator says AS SINK DAY
APPROACHED, CURIOUS CROWDS
GATHERED AT THE KEY WEST PIER.
IT WAS A BIG EVENT, UNLIKE
ANYTHING THE COMMUNITY
HAD EVER EXPERIENCED.
IT'S NOT OFTEN THAT YOU SINK
A 500 FOOT SHIP ON PURPOSE.
RIGHT UP UNTIL THE LAST
MINUTE THERE WAS STILL
AN ENORMOUS AMOUNT
OF WORK TO DO.

Joe says TO UNDERSTAND THE
WORK THAT'S BEEN DONE
TO BRING THIS SHIP FULLY
COMPLIANT WITH A VERY STRICT
AND HUNDREDS OF PAGES LONG,
BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES
FROM THE EPA,
THE MARINE SANCTUARY,
FLORIDA FISH AND WILDLIFE,
FLORIDA DEP.
THERE'S ABOUT 18 DIFFERENT
GOVERNMENT, LOCAL, STATE
AND FEDERAL AGENCIES INVOLVED.
IT'S VERY DIFFICULT, IF YOU'VE
NEVER BEEN THROUGH THIS,
TO UNDERSTAND THE ABSOLUTELY
BREATHTAKING AMOUNT OF WORK
THAT IT TAKES TO GET THIS
KIND OF PROJECT DONE.
THERE'S MACHINERY, HUNDREDS OF
THOUSANDS OF GALLONS OF FUEL,
CLEANING ALL THE SYSTEMS,
PULLING OUT VENTS AND DOORS
AND A MILLION FEET OF WIRE.
WE'RE WORKING 12 AND 14 HOUR
DAYS STRAIGHT THROUGH
TO GET HER READY AND HAVE
HER PROPERLY PREPARED,
FULLY COMPLIANT AND
READY TO BE DEPLOYED.

The caption changes to "Bill Verge. City Commissioner, Key West."

Bill is in his sixties, clean-shaven and with short white hair and wears a navy blue polo T-shirt.

Bill says FOR KEY WEST IT MEANS
THAT WE HAVE A SHIP THAT GOING
TO PRODUCE ABOUT SIX MILLION
DOLLARS WORTH OF REVENUE
FOR THE MONROE ECONOMY.
ABOUT A HALF A MILLION DOLLARS
IN SALES TAXES AND 191 NEW JOBS
IN THE MIDDLE OF A RECESSION
AND THAT REALLY WORKS WELL
FOR US DOWN HERE.

The narrator says IT'S ALWAYS
A BITTERSWEET REUNION
FOR FORMER SAILORS.
BUT MOST SERVICEMEN AGREE
THAT SINKING A BELOVED SHIP
AND KEEPING IT INTACT,
IS PREFERABLE TO IT BEING
CUT UP FOR SCRAP.

The caption changes to "Patrick Utecht. Retired Project Engineer, USS General Hoyt S. Vandenberg."

Patrick is in his seventies, clean-shaven and wears glasses, black trousers, a blue and white striped shirt and a blue and yellow cap.

Patrick says I JOINED
THE VANDENBERG IN 1964.
THE SHIP WAS ORIGINALLY BUILT
AS A MOBILE PLATFORM.
SO SHE WAS A MOBILE
RADAR STATION.
YOU COULDN'T PUT LAND-BASED
RADAR STATIONS EVERY PLACE
IN THE WORLD BUT YOU
COULD MOVE THE SHIP
JUST ABOUT ANY PLACE YOU WANTED.
PEOPLE ON BOARD DID
THE DATA COLLECTION.
AND THEIR JOB IN DOING THAT
WAS TO GET AS PRECISE DATA
AS POSSIBLE.
WE USED TO JOKE AND SAY,
"WE COULD TRACK A BASKETBALL
AT A DISTANCE OF 500 MILES."

The caption changes to "Mac Monroe. Retired Mission Controller, USS General Hoyts S. Vandenberg."

Mac is in his sixties, with short wavy white hair and a beard and wears sunglasses, beige trousers, a gray gingham shirt and a white hard hat.

Mac says THE VANDENBERG WAS
IMPORTANT BECAUSE IT CONTRIBUTED
A LOT OF DATA ON BOTH AMERICAN
MISSILES AND FOREIGN MISSILES
THAT WAS USED THROUGHOUT
THE COLD WAR IN DETERMINING
THE BALANCE OF TERROR.
DID WE NEED MORE
SOPHISTICATED MISSILES?
DID WE NEED BIGGER MISSILES?
AND, BY THE SAME TOKEN,
"WHAT WERE THE RUSSIANS DOING?
WHAT WERE THEY BUILDING?
AND HOW DID THEY WORK?"
ALL THAT KIND OF INFORMATION
CAME FROM THIS SHIP.
THERE'S RUSSIAN WORDING ABOVE
MY HEAD BECAUSE THIS SHIP
WAS MOVIE SET FOR
A MOVIE CALLED VIRUS.
WHERE IT PLAYED THE PART OF A
RUSSIAN MISSILE TRACKING SHIP.
OKAY?
AND IT DID A GOOD JOB.
I MEAN, IT WAS A B MOVIE
BUT THEY MADE MONEY ON IT.
IT'S A MEMORIAL PLAQUE
FOR A FRIEND OF OURS
THAT DIED A FEW YEARS AGO
THAT WAS A FORMER
INSTRUMENTATION MANAGER
OUT HERE.
A REALLY GOOD GUY.
AND HOPEFULLY HIS ASHES
WILL END UP SOMEWHERE AROUND
HERE AFTER IT'S SUNK.
IT'S NICE TO SEE THE
OLD RUST BUCKET AGAIN.
IT'S GOING TO BE VERY NICE
TO SEE IT SINK OUT THERE
AND BECOME SOMETHING
USEFUL AGAIN.
I THINK TURNING IT INTO
A REEF FOR FISHING
AND FOR DIVING AND THINGS,
IS A POSITIVE OUTCOME.

The narrator says AS WITH ALL NAVY
SHIPS, WHETHER THEY'RE AMERICAN,
CANADIAN OR OTHER NATIONALITY,
MILITARY CEREMONIES
ARE USUALLY SOLEMN AFFAIRS.
COUNTLESS SAILORS LIVED AND DIED
ON THESE ONCE PROUD WARRIORS.

At memorial celebrated aboard, an officer says AIM! FIRE!

Four officers shoot their guns.

[GUNSHOTS]
[BUGLE PLAYS]

A woman in her eighties says WE HAD A MEMORIAL,
THEN HONOURED MY HUSBAND,
JACK STEELE, FOR HIS SERVICE
ON THE VANDENBERG.
AND IT WAS TOUCHING.

An officer says AIM! FIRE!

[BUGLE PLAYS]

The caption changes to "May 27, 2009."

The narrator says ON A CALM MAY
MORNING HUNDREDS OF OBSERVERS
MADE THE TRIP TO
THE SINKING SITE.
BOATS WERE ALLOWED TO WITNESS
THE HISTORIC EVENT,
FROM A SAFE DISTANCE.
[COMMANDS OVER RADIO]

The narrator says THERE'S A CERTAIN ELECTRICITY IN
THE AIR WHEN A BIG SHIP SINKS.
A SPECTACLE LIKE THIS
IS UNLIKE ANYTHING
MOST PEOPLE WILL EVER SEE.

[VOICE ON RADIO]
[VOICE ON RADIO]

A woman says NINE, EIGHT,
SEVEN, SIX...
VOICE ON RADIO:
FIVE, FOUR, THREE,
TWO, ONE, FIRE.
[BOOMS]
[PEOPLE CHEER]
[BOOM]

The narrator says NO MATTER HOW
THOROUGH THE PREPARATION
OR HOW PRECISELY THE
EXPLOSIVES ARE TIMED,
THERE'S ALWAYS A
NAGGING APPREHENSION
THAT THE SHIP WILL ROLL OVER.
[WATER SPLASHES]
IT CAN BE AN EXTREMELY
TENSE FEW MINUTES.
BUT SANK IN LESS
THAN TWO MINUTES.
ONE MINUTE, 44 SECONDS
TO BE EXACT.

As the ship sinks, the demolition team cheers.

[CHEERS]

The narrator says THE DEMOLITION TEAM
DID AN OUTSTANDING JOB.
BUT EVEN THEY HAD NO IDEA
THE VANDENBERG
WOULD SINK SO QUICKLY.

Joe says AWESOME!
IT LOOKED TO ME LIKE
IT'S SUPPOSED TO LOOK.
I'VE SEEN A LOT OF THESE
BIG SHIPS SUNK AND IT REALLY,
IT REALLY LOOKED LIKE
EVERYTHING WENT THE WAY
IT WAS SUPPOSED TO GO.

The narrator says THE NEXT DAY,
DIGNITARIES AND PARTICIPANTS
HEADED OUT TO THE NEW DIVE SITE
FOR A FIRST LOOK AT THE SHIP.

Joe says THERE'S SUPPOSED TO BE A
LOT OF CURRENT RUNNING THIS WAY.

The narrator says THE WRECK SITE
IS NOW ONE OF THE MOST VISITED
SCUBA DIVES IN THE WORLD.
A TREMENDOUS SUCCESS STORY.
WITH THE SCUBA DIVING CROWD,
THE NEW ARTIFICIAL REEF
IS A HUGE HIT.

The caption changes to "Bob Hilston. Owner, Dive Key West."

Bob is in his fifties, bald and with a moustache. He wears a diving suit.

Bob says FINALLY WE HAVE
THE FLORIDA KEYS
WRECK TREK COMPLETED.
THE SINKING OF THE VANDENBERG
IS ABSOLUTELY PHENOMENAL.
WE HAVE WRECKS STARTING
IN KEY LARGO, ALL THE WAY
DOWN TO KEY WEST,
THAT ARE WORLD-CLASS.
THERE'S NO WHERE ELSE
IN THE WORLD THAT DIVERS
WOULD BE ABLE TO EXPERIENCE
WHAT THEY'RE GETTING
IN THE FLORIDA KEYS.
ECONOMICALLY IT IS GREAT
FOR THE ENTIRE KEYS.
THE PRE-BOOKINGS FOR THE SUMMER
AND EVEN INTO THIS WINTER
ARE OFF THE CHART.

The caption changes to "Marion Digennaro. Monroe County Commissioner."

Mario is in his fifties, with short white hair and a trimmed beard and wears a diving suit.

Mario says I'VE DOVE
ALL OVER THE WORLD.
THIS IS ONE OF MY BETTER DIVES
THAT I'VE EVER HAD IN MY LIFE.
I'LL CONTINUE COMING BACK HERE.
AND IT'S A GREAT OPPORTUNITY
FOR EVERYBODY ALSO AND
THE WHOLE WORLD TO SEE
WHAT A BEAUTIFUL ARTIFICIAL
REEF WE'VE DROPPED DOWN.
IT'S THE BEST THING
WE'VE DONE IN A LONG TIME.

Joe says I THINK IT'S EXACTLY
WHAT WE PLANNED IT TO BE.
I THINK IT'S THE WORLD'S
BEST WRECK DIVE.
THAT IS FANTASTIC!
I THINK WE, WHAT DO WE HAVE,
70 FEET OF VISIBILITY
DOWN THERE TODAY?
MAYBE 60.
REAL CLEAR WATER.
A LITTLE BIT OF CURRENT.
THERE'S JUST A LOT TO SEE.
IT'S JUST INCREDIBLE.
EVERYWHERE YOU LOOK THERE'S SOME
OTHER COOL PART OF THE WRECK
THAT STICKS UP AT YOU.
I THINK THE VANDENBERG
WILL LIVE UP TO ALL THE PROMISES
THAT HAVE BEEN MADE.

[CHEERS]

The narrator says ONE OF THE
CARIBBEAN'S MOST POPULAR TOURIST
AND SCUBA DIVING DESTINATIONS
ARE THE CAYMAN ISLANDS.

The caption changes to "Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands."

The narrator says WHILE A HANDFUL OF SHIPWRECKS
HERE COMPLIMENT NATURAL
CORAL REEFS, DIVERS ON THE
MAIN ISLAND OF GRAND CAYMAN
LONGED FOR A BIG, NEW
SHIPWRECK OF THEIR OWN.
THEIR PRAYERS WERE ANSWERED
WITH THE LONG AWAITED ARRIVAL
OF THE USS KITTIWAKE.

The caption changes to "Jay Easterbrook. Divetech."

Jay is in his late thirties, with short brown hair and wears red shorts and a black T-shirt.

Jay says WE PICKED THE KITTIWAKE
FROM A FLEET OF ABOUT 300 SHIPS
THAT WERE IN MOTHBALLS.
WE'D TOURED A LOT OF THE SHIPS.
THIS SHIP WAS A GREAT SHIP
BECAUSE IT HAD A GREAT HISTORY
IN THE CARIBBEAN ALREADY.
IT SERVED SOME TIME
IN THE FALKLAND ISLANDS,
RECOVERED THE BLACK BOX
FOR THE CHALLENGER EXPLOSION.
SO IT HAD A GOOD HISTORY.
IT'S ONLY GOING TO BE 15 FEET
FROM THE SURFACE SO YOU'RE
GOING TO HAVE A LOT OF BEAUTIFUL
SNORKELLING ADVENTURES.
AND THEN ALSO DIVING ADVENTURES
THAT ARE GOING TO BE
ENDLESS DIVES.

The narrator says THE DAY BEFORE THE
SINKING, EX-SAILORS AND TOURISTS
WERE ALLOWED TO VISIT THE
RETIRED SUBMARINE RESCUE VESSEL.
IT HAD BEEN NEARLY 30 YEARS
SINCE FORMER NAVIGATOR,
JON GLATSTEIN, SET FOOT
ON THIS SHIP.

A man says WHEN WAS THE
LAST TIME YOU DID THAT?

[JON LAUGHS]

Jon climbs up the boat and says IT'S BEEN A WHILE.

The caption changes to "Jon Glatstein. Kittiwake Navigator. 1984-1986."

Jon is in his fifties, with short gray hair and a stubble. He wears glasses, gray Bermuda shorts, a pale blue short-sleeved shirt and a gray cap.

John says LET'S GO BACK TO THE
RECOMPRESSION CHAMBER.
ALL RIGHT.
THESE ARE THE
RECOMPRESSION CHAMBERS.
THERE'S THE HATCH HERE AND THERE
AND THEY COULD DECOMPRESS
THIS SIDE, LEAVING THE INSIDE
AT FULL COMPRESSION
AND PASS SUPPLIES IN AND OUT
AND WHATEVER THEY NEEDED TO DO.
PEOPLE IN AND OUT,
WHATEVER THEY NEEDED TO DO.
MAKING AN ARTIFICIAL REEF
OUT OF A THING LIKE THIS
RATHER THAN RECLAIMING THE STEEL
I DON'T KNOW THE SCIENCE
BUT IT SEEMS OBVIOUS
TO ME THAT IT'S BETTER.
THIS SHIP WAS ALWAYS
INTENDED TO SERVE DIVERS.
THIS SHIP EXISTED
TO SERVE DIVERS.
IT'S GREAT THAT SHE'S GOING
TO CONTINUE TO SERVE DIVERS.

The narrator says FOR PROJECT MANAGER,
NANCY EASTERBROOK,
THE KITTIWAKE ENDEAVOUR
WAS A LABOUR OF LOVE.
IT WASN'T ALWAYS
A SMOOTH PROCESS.
BUT FINALLY GETTING THE SHIP
TO THE BOTTOM SAFELY
AND UPRIGHT WOULD BE
A HUGE RELIEF.

The caption changes to "Nancy Easterbrook. Divetech."

Nancy is in her fifties, with short wavy graying hair and wears jeans and a black T-shirt.

Nancy says TOMORROW WE'RE FINALLY
GOING TO SINK HER.
I'VE BEEN ELATED
BY THIS PROJECT.
FRUSTRATED BY IT.
I HAVE BEEN OVERJOYED AND
ALL KINDS OF OTHER THINGS.
BUT THE ONLY THING THAT'S
EVER REALLY SCARED ME
IS TO GET HER ON HER SPOT,
DOWN IN THE OCEAN,
UPRIGHT, WHERE'S SHE
SUPPOSED TO GO.
BUT, YOU KNOW, WE'VE GOT
GOOD PEOPLE DOING THIS.
ALL PRECAUTIONS HAVE BEEN TAKEN.
SO I'M REALLY VERY EXCITED ABOUT
TOMORROW AND CANNOT WAIT UNTIL
WE GET HER DOWN ON THE BOTTOM
AS THE NEW DIVING ATTRACTION
AND SNORKELLING ATTRACTION
FOR THE CAYMAN ISLANDS.

The narrator says THE SINKING OF THE
KITTIWAKE WAS A UNIQUE PROJECT.
UNLIKE ARTIFICIAL REEFS
IN CANADA AND FLORIDA,
THE SHIP HAD TO BE SUNK
WITHOUT THE USE OF EXPLOSIVES.
THE CAYMAN ISLANDS
ARE ONE BIG MARINE PARK
AND THE SINKING SITE WAS
SHALLOW AND CLOSE TO SHORE.
THE PERCUSSION OF EXPLOSIVE
CHARGES CAN KILL FISH
AND OTHER REEF CREATURES IN
THE VICINITY OF THE SINKING.
SO INSTEAD OF USING EXPLOSIVES,
THE SHIP HAD TO BE FLOODED
MANUALLY.
STRATEGICALLY PLACED HOLES,
BOTH FOR FLOODING
AND FOR DIVER ACCESS, WERE CUT
ALONG THE SIDE OF THE HULL.

The caption changes to "January 5th, 2011."

The narrator says EARLY ON SINK DAY, THE HULL
OF THE KITTIWAKE WAS FLOODED.
HEAVY PUMPS FILLED THE SHIP WITH
SEA WATER AS CURIOUS ONLOOKERS
STARTED TO GATHER
FOR THE BIG EVENT.
ONCE THE SURROUNDING SEA STARTED
TO OVERFLOW THE NEWLY CUT HOLES,
THE SHIP WENT DOWN VERY QUICKLY.
JUST MINUTES AFTER SINKING,
A FEW DIVERS WERE ALLOWED
UNDERWATER TO TAKE A LOOK.
THE SHIP LANDED ALMOST
PERFECTLY UPRIGHT.
A GREAT RELIEF TO
PROJECT ORGANIZERS.
NOT SURPRISINGLY, SMALL FISH
IMMEDIATELY MOVED ON BOARD,
USING THE SUPERSTRUCTURE
AS SHELTER.
AND NOT LONG BEHIND THEM, BIG
PREDATORS LIKE THIS BARRACUDA,
VENTURED ON TO THE SHIP.
IN A SHORT PERIOD OF TIME,
THE KITTIWAKE WOULD BECOME
ONE OF THE TOP ATTRACTIONS
IN THE CAYMAN ISLANDS,
BOTH FOR FISH AND FOR TOURISTS.

The caption changes to "Gambier Island. British Columbia, 2012."

The narrator says THIS IS THE HMCS ANNAPOLIS.
WORKERS ARE FRANTICALLY
PREPARING THE SHIP FOR SINKING.
HOWIE ROBINS FIRST TOURED
THE ANNAPOLIS IN 2004,
SCOUTING THE SHIP AS
A POTENTIAL REEF PROJECT.

Howard says WHEN WE FIRST INSPECTED
THE ANNAPOLIS BACK IN 2004,
WE WERE THINKING THIS WAS AN
EXTRAORDINARY NEW OPPORTUNITY
SIMPLY BECAUSE THE ANNAPOLIS
WAS SUCH A DIFFERENT SHIP
COMPARED TO THE OTHER SHIPS
THAT WE HAD ALREADY SUNK.
FUNDAMENTALLY, THE ANNAPOLIS
HAS ABOUT 40 PERCENT
MORE EXTERIOR SURFACE AREA.
THAT'S DUE TO THE HELICOPTER
FLIGHT DECK AND HANGAR
AND A FEW OTHER
FEATURES AS WELL.
ALTHOUGH IT'S THE SAME LENGTH
AND WIDTH AS OUR PREVIOUS
VESSELS, WE BELIEVE THE
ANNAPOLIS OFFERS A LOT MORE
HABITAT SPACE WHICH WE THINK
WOULD BE BENEFICIAL
FOR MARINE LIFE.

The narrator says THE ANNAPOLIS
PROJECT HAS BEEN FRAUGHT
WITH PROBLEMS.
THE FIRST OF WHICH
WAS THE GLOBAL FINANCIAL
MELTDOWN OF 2008.
[METAL CLANGS]

The narrator says SCRAP SALVAGE IS THE MAIN
SOURCE OF REVENUE
FOR PROJECTS LIKE THESE
AND METAL PRICES PLUMMETED.
EVEN WITH BUDGET SHORTFALLS
AND COUNTLESS DELAYS,
THE ANNAPOLIS PROJECT
SOLDIERS ON WITH THE HELP
OF HUNDREDS OF
DEDICATED VOLUNTEERS.
EACH WEEKEND THEY
HEAD OUT TO THE SHIP,
CUTTING ACCESS HOLES,
CLEANING COMPARTMENTS,
REMOVING DEBRIS AND SCRAP METAL.
WHATEVER IT TAKES.

Howard says OUR BEST ESTIMATE IS
WE HAVE OVER 1,000 VOLUNTEERS
OVER A THREE AND
A HALF YEAR PERIOD
AND AN ESTIMATED 17,000 HOURS
PUT INTO THE PROJECT.

The narrator says WITH JUST A WEEK TO
GO BEFORE A SCHEDULED OCTOBER
2012 SINK DATE, THE SHIP
IS STILL NOT QUITE READY.
THERE'S MORE CLEANING REQUIRED.
OIL AND GREASE TO BE REMOVED.
AND MOST OF THE DIVER ACCESS
HOLES ARE NOT YET CUT.
TONS OF SCRAP STEEL AND
OTHER METALS REMAIN ONBOARD.
THERE'S AT LEAST TWO MORE MONTHS
OF HEAVY LABOUR TO BE DONE.
STRICT NEW ENVIRONMENTAL
INSPECTIONS MAY NOW DELAY
THE SINKING WELL INTO 2013.
SET TO SINK IN A SHELTERED BAY
JUST A FEW MILES
FROM DOWNTOWN VANCOUVER,
THE ANNAPOLIS PROJECT
HAS ALSO BEEN PLAGUED
BY PROTESTS AND OPPOSITION.
MANY PEOPLE FEEL THAT SINKING
A SHIP ON PURPOSE IS AKIN
TO THROWING A BIG
TIN CAN IN THE WATER.
GARBAGE DISPOSAL
ON A GRAND SCALE.

Chris says EVERY TIME YOU DO
SOMETHING OUT IN THE MARINE
ENVIRONMENT, THERE ARE GOING
TO BE PEOPLE WHO ARE FOR IT
AND PEOPLE WHO ARE AGAINST IT.
AND IT DOESN'T REALLY MATTER
WHETHER YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT
AQUACULTURE, ABOUT
SINKING A SHIPWRECK.
IS THE SUM TOTAL OF WHAT WE'RE
DOING WHEN WE SINK THESE SHIPS,
IS IT GOOD OR BAD?
I'M NOT AN UNBIASED PERSON
WHERE THIS IS CONCERNED.
I THINK, FROM MY VIEWPOINT,
IT'S PROBABLY A BETTER THING.
IT'S A SUBSTRATE.
IT'S A PLACE FOR ANIMALS
TO ATTACH.
AND IF WE UNDERSTAND THAT WRECKS
CAN BE A HAVEN THEN OTHER
PLACES CAN BE AS WELL.
WE HAVE HIGH HOPES
FOR THE ANNAPOLIS.
I THINK SHE'S GOING TO BE WELL
TRAVELLED AND WELL VISITED.
ALSO, SHE'S GOING INTO AN AREA
THAT'S KIND OF MUD SAND BOTTOM.
UNDOUBTEDLY SHE'S GOING TO
BECOME A MAGNET THAT WILL
ATTRACT, RETAIN AND AMPLIFY
MARINE LIFE IN THE AREA.

The narrator says WITH MORE HARD WORK
AND A BIT OF LUCK,
THE HMCS ANNAPOLIS WILL SOON
BE RESTING ON THE SEA FLOOR.
FOR NOW, LIKE COUNTLESS
OTHER WARSHIP RELICS,
IT AWAITS AN UNCERTAIN FATE.
WHEN IT DOES SINK, THE ANNAPOLIS
WILL SERVE ITS FINAL MISSION
AS A REEF OF STEEL.

Music plays as the end credits roll.

Narration, Robert Henderson.

Produced by Erin Skillen and Hilary Pryor.

Copyright 2012, May Street Productions.

Produced in association with Discovery World.

Watch: Ep. 2 - Reefs of Steel