Emerald Sea Photography
The Jefferson Head Minesweeper was tied up and abandoned at the end of the Naval Degaussing Pier at Jefferson Head when a storm conveniently blew in and sank the wood hulled vessel just off the end of the dock. The pier is no longer there, but the submerged piles can be found just north of the wreck, which is half of a mile north of Jefferson Point. The wreck lies in very shallow water, only 30 feet deep, and is a very pleasant dive if you have access to a boat.
Most of the wood hull is gone, but a lot of the deck rigging remains, along with huge winches and a massive tripod that once supported the boom used for towing the minesweeping cable. Fuel and water tanks are still nestled inside the ribs of this coastal minesweeper. We spotted several kelp greenlings (both male and female) that had taken up residence amongst the wreckage, along with their comical cousins, the painted greenling.
Large bitts that were once used for towing and sweeping for mines now rest silently in the sand. Schools of striped perch follow the divers around the wreck site as they admire the bits and pieces and try to guess what they were once used for.
Today, the Minesweeper rests in 30 feet of water, just a little over 1/2 nautical miles north northeast of Point Jefferson (just off of the Jefferson Head that the wreck is named for). Its location is well marked on NOAA chart 18446 (with a classic wreck symbol). It is just south of several submerged pilings that are also located on the same chart.
When we anchored off the stern of the wreck, our boat was actually swinging right over the tops of the submerged pilings, so do be careful and approach the wreck from the south rather than the north. This wreck can see a bit of current, so plan your dive so you don't hit the wreck right in the middle of a huge exchange and you should have a great dive!