Avalon Voyager II, Shipwreck

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In the Fathom Five National Marine Park in Tobermory, MV Avalon Voyager II, a Canadian constructed cargo ship built-in Twillingate, Newfoundland, comfortably rests at 25 feet. The Avalon was turned over to the Canadian government after use as a minesweeper during WWII and redesigned in 1946 as a small cargo ship.

On 31 October 1980, while being towed from Kincardine to Owen Sound for use as a floating restaurant, the Avalon Voyager II, struck the rocks of Cape Hurd. She later drifted to her present position, was set fire by vandals burnt and sank. Only the bottom portion rests on the bottom.

In 1946, Avalon was built and had a tonnage of 325 Gross Register Tonnage (GRT) and was 41.15 mm 8.5mm in length. Her cruising speed was 9 knots. She was made of wood and was powered by diesel.

Gale warnings were up on October 29, 1980, for Northern Georgian Bay and Lake Huron, but before winter set in, the Avalon decided to make the journey from Kincardine to Owen Sound. She got into trouble at the entrance to Georgian Bay, not far from the protective arms of the Bruce Peninsula. The Avalon should have been safely in the bay less than an hour after changing course to the Cape Hurd Channel. But the Skipper trying to find the elusive marker had to make a sudden directional change.

A freak accident signalled the beginning of the end for the tough old Avalon rolling ship as she hit the Scotch Bonnet Shoal. In a fall storm on the limestone ledges of the Northern Bruce Peninsula, the Avalon became another vessel tragedy from a long list of ships that have come to an end in that area. The crew of the tugboat A. Spears saved the seven passengers on board the floundering Newfoundland freighter. The A. Spears was making a run itself to the safety of Tobermory Harbour.

Avalon
Charles Dagneau recording the Avalon Voyager wreck. Engine and shaft. Photo Credit: Thierry Boyer / Parks Canada

On October 31, 1980, the unfortunate Voyager, owned by restaurant pioneers Hank and Thelma Buitendyk, saw their dream die in 25 feet of water. The Voyager to this day provides a great scuba diving or snorkelling area, for those divers visiting Tobermory.

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About Author

Kathy is the owner of Kirk Scuba Gear, a passionate Scuba Diver, Ocean Advocate and Managing Editor of The Scuba News Canada

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