With my dry suit in hand I traveled up to Newfoundland, where I met up with Sea Rover Rick Stanley, who runs Ocean Quest Adventures. As soon as I arrived Rick made me feel right at home. The next morning we headed out on the dive boat to the Bell Island shipwrecks: The PLM-27, Saganaga, Lord Strathcona, and Rose Castle. All of the wrecks were sunk by German U-Boats in WWII. Bell Island has some of the most productive iron mines in North America, and when the war started the Bell Islanders stopped shipping to Germany and instead to Great Britain. So of course the Germans retaliated and stopped the shipments from going to Great Britain. The first wreck we dove is the PLM. It’s the shallowest wreck, the deck lies in about 60-70 FSW and at the sand is about 100 FSW. Dropping down the mooring line was amazing, seeing the wreck appear before my eyes. Because it is so shallow icebergs hit it and some parts of the wreck are broken apart, although the torpedo did most of that work. Longhorn sculpin, flounder, smooth sun stars, and various jellies adorned the wreck. But by far my favorite marine life was the lions mane jelly. They are one of the largest jellies in the world and can have tentacles 200’ long and a 8’ diameter bell. The largest I saw was about 70-100’ long and had about 5’ diameter bell. Their tentacles are very thin and frilly and it was hard to get close enough for a photo and try to avoid the millions of stinging cells.
Swimming the length of the the PLM was amazing, the 400 ft wreck is broken apart in some areas and intact in others. The bow was massive and seemed to disappear into the depths. Swimming around the stern I looked at the massive propellor. Flounders and sculpin adorned the sand along the wreck some even swimming along with me. The PLM has an erie beauty to it. It’s quite and peaceful, with a dark history.