Wreck alley San Diego is fairly well known in California, as a relatively easy-to-get to series of shipwrecks sunk only a couple miles offshore – and only a few miles north of our Point Loma kelp beds. Consisting of four wrecks ranging in size from 366 feet to 160 feet.
The artificial reef created by these wrecks has over time resulted in large aggregations of marine invertebrate and fish life, which is why these wrecks are so popular for scuba dives. On any given scuba dive at wreck alley you may see giant white anemones, colonizing strawberry anemones, wolf eels, moray eels, loads of blacksmith and baitfish, lingcod, and any other animals that may pass by!
We occasionally visit wreck alley during our 2-tank boat dives. If you are interested in joining one of our boat dives, click here.
Scuba Diving Wreck Alley:
The USS Yukon is San Diego’s largest wreck – a Canadian Mackenzie Class Destroyer coming in at 366 feet in length. Fairly deep, she sits sideways on her port side at 90 feet of water and we require our divers to hold an Advanced scuba diving certification to dive this wreck. This wreck can be done in one dive, although for those wishing to really take their time and enjoy the architecture of the ship, two dives may be more fitting.
A little bit shallower, the El Rey was a kelco kelp cutter, meaning its job was to harvest the top three feet of the kelp canopy. Because of this, it has a somewhat unique appearance – though it was sunk in 1987 and has degraded somewhat. It is still a nice scuba dive if you have seen the Yukon and the Ruby E, although not quite in-tact.
The Ruby E is about a mile away from the Yukon, and is a 165 foot Coast Guard Cutter. Sunk in 1989, it now sits upright in about 85 feet of water (it remains an advanced dive). The invertebrate growth here is wonderful, with tremendous cover of pink strawberry anemones visible under a dive light. Divers can circumnavigate the Ruby E in one scuba dive, and their is always plenty to see when you take your time and scan for various nudibranchs and invertebrates.
The only true wreck in San Diego, the NOSC tower is the shallowest (60′ deep) of the four wrecks at Wreck Alley. The NOSC tower is not a true shipwreck, but instead the wreckage of a naval tower resembling an oil rig. The tower fell during a storm which brought large swell and waves, and is now host to the similar invertebrate growth found on the nearby shipwrecks.