Emerald Sea Photography
The Panamanian flagged, tramp steamship Andalusia, was carrying a cargo of 5 million board feet of lumber in the Straits of Juan de Fuca when her engine room caught fire on November 4th, 1949. Captain George Lemos steered the stricken vessel south towards a nice sandy beach near Snow Creek resort with thoughts of beaching the hull to save the crew. Unfortunately for the captain, the ship struck hard upon the shallow rocky reef 1/2 mile offshore from the beach.
Seven large, ocean-going tugs combined their strength to free the Andalusia, but ultimately failed to pull the 7,700 ton vessel off of the rocks. On November 9th, Gale force winds and waves broke the back of the big freighter, and the ship split in two. The stern section sank in fifty feet of water 1/2 mile east of Seal Rock, while the bow section remained perched on the jagged reef about 300 yards east of the stern. Eventually, mother nature won the battle with the forward section of the hull, and she too slid beneath the waves.
Years of storms and pounding surf have pulverized the wreckage, but this big ship is still a very impressive dive (twice the size of the Diamond Knot). Both sections lie hard up against rocky reef walls, which make them difficult to locate, but the huge twin boilers of the stern section stick out like a sore thumb on a fish finder. Also, a large section of the starboard hull on the forward section is still largely in tact, and the king posts rise to within twenty feet of the surface.
Diving in and around Neah Bay offers some of the most spectacular diving in the state of Washington, however, it can get very rough out with big swells coming in off of the Pacific Ocean that create strong surge on top of vicious currents. Be sure to plan your dives on this magnificent wreck around slack currents and to watch for small boat traffic coming out of Snow Creek Resort.
For more information, including the wreck's location and the Andalusia's unique history as a collier in WWI, please see our new book, Northwest Wreck Dives.