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Back  |  USA: Pacific Northwest   |  Puget Sound - North

Alaska Reefer  |  USA: Pacific Northwest

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USS Pinion
Wallace Point, Indian Island
Port Townsend, WA

Type: Saltwater
Snorkling, Beginner, Intermediate

Ratings (1-5):
Reviews: 3
Enjoyment: 4.67
Visibility: 2.67
Current: 1
Aquatic Life: 5

Photo Gallery:

Bow of the Alaska Reefer
Northern Feather Duster
Ribbon Worm
Ribbon Worm
Frosted (Alabaster) Nudibranch
From the hull of the Alaska Reefer
Frosted (Alabaster) Nudibranch
From the holds of the Alaska Reefer
Great Sculpin
Intersection of the Alaska Reefer and Barge
Barge ribs at the Alaska Reefer


Large Wreck,


The Alaska Reefer is a 175' wooden hulled wreck of a refrigeration ship which caught fire and sank in 1961, taking a barge down with her. She lies on her port side with much of the deck still in tack, and several large holds are open for some exciting swim-throughs. Much of the starboard side (now the top of the wreck) has fallen away letting slight into the hull and other compartments allowing great visibility within much of the wreck.

It is resting on the bottom about 30' at the bow and 60' at the stern, but the wreck rises to the surface on the shallower end. The barge is located off the SE corner of the Alaska Reefer, nearly touching so you can't miss it. It has rotted down to giant skeletal ribs and would makes a great addition to an already spectacular wreck.

The wreck has an interesting history. Check out the NW Wreck Dives book for more information.

Special Restrictions:

Be VERY careful when approaching this wreck. It comes all the way to the surface, and can even be seen during low tides. Also, do not approach too close to the naval munitions loading dock or try to land on the beach. There are large warning signs so make sure to leave a wide berth and approach the wreck from the southwest.

This wreck has relatively large holds that are accessible to divers and the overhead portion of the wreck has fallen away in many areas enough to allow plenty of light in. There are lots of snags and possibly some delicate structure so be careful, don't enter without proper training and understanding the risks, etc. etc.

How to get there:

There is no shore access to the Alaska Reefer because of the military installation on Wallace Point which also prohibits any shore landings. By boat, Wallace Point is just over 2.5 miles SE of the Boat Haven Marina and boat launch in Port Townsend. There is a naval loading dock with predominate crane on the point making it easy to locate.

The Alaska Reefer lies in shallow water near the shore on the South side of the point. There is usually a buoy on the shallow end of the wreck - but do not attempt to moor on this buoy - the wreck is literally inches below this point. Be very careful when approaching the wreck, it jumps up over 30' in some areas to just below the surface, or even exposed during very low tides.

Best anchorage may be found on the deeper end of the wreck 50-60' deep, to the west of the wreck to avoid fouling your anchor in the wreck or on the barge which is about this same depth to the east side of the Alaska Reefer. Both wrecks are typically visible from the surface.

Thanks to NWD for submitting this site!
  Comments Leave Review  
ChevaYEA8/15/2009Rating: 4
The dive here today was really good except for very poor vis due to a very large exchange. The tide was low and much of the ship was exposed above the water line. Lots of fish to see.

Slobert1/16/2009Rating: 5
This is my favorite wreck I have dove in the sound. Impressive structure and lots of swim throughs. If you like wrecks you MUST get out and dive this one. You are best off anchoring off to the side and swimming to the wreck. The wreck is shallow in places and you could swing onto it if the wind shifts.

ChevaYEA1/16/2009Rating: 5
This wreck is simply fantastic. Very large, plenty of openings to explore and swim through, not so deep that bottom time is an issue, easy to locate and navigate, and all around super-cool! Even the barge is impressive with the large sturdy ribs jetting upwards. Not as much life as would be found in higher current wrecks, but the low current potential is part of the attraction to this site so it is a fair trade!


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