Wreck Of The Toro
: Dale and Kim
Saint Catalina Island
June 6, 2010
On the night
of November 21, 2004, a sudden and powerful storm came up
out of the northeast heaving the seas into massive turbulence at the
normally calm Isthmus Cove on Catalina Island. The skipper of the
37-foot Bertram yacht Toro became
frightened for himself and
his four passengers and decided to head for the backside of the island.
The skipper did not give his radar a chance to warm up properly and
underestimating the power of the wind, the Toro was driven
on the rocks, its hull hopelessly cracked. With the Toro
doomed, the passengers abandoned ship and were rescued a short time
later, although the skipper floated in the water for several hours
before being rescued. The Toro broke up and
sank in shallow
water on a steep sloping bottom to become Catalina Island's new wreck
the Toro is not a
spectacular wreck dive, it is
interesting all the same, not just for the wreckage but also for the
surrounding steep rocky drop and surrounding kelp. Much of the heavier
and larger pieces of wreckage have since slid down the steep slope and
with time and surge will likely continue to break apart.
debris can be found as deep as 130 feet across the sand, but most
of the larger pieces are in 50 feet or shallower wedged in the rocks.
The largest section is about 20 feet long and 8 feet wide in 50 feet of
water. Another large section of the hull can be found in 30 feet of
water. This portion is interesting in that it is intact with a gearbox,
rudder and prop. Close to the island, in about 10 feet of water, and
down the slope, are a variety of smaller pieces, the largest being an
engine block. In the shallows are small fittings, wiring, tubing and
the few years since its sinking a few interesting objects have
been found on the wreck including bottles of liquor, glasses, and even
a wallet. Most of the valuable smaller personal items have long ago
larger pieces of wreckage in deep water are surrounded by a healthy
kelp forest and reef. The big sections have are becoming covered with
marine life and animals are finding homes. Spanish shawl nudibranchs
seem to be especially abundant here and on the nearby reefs. The
ubiquitous garibaldi likes to move in and out of the ledges created by
the large hull pieces and rockfish lounge atop the wreckage.
reef and wreckage hold thousands of the bright red and blue
blue-banded gobies. They make for beautiful macro images but can
difficult to approach. Up in the kelp you will find calico bass and
sheephead, but none are large so it is best to leave your speargun
behind. One big fish you might see, however, is the giant black sea
bass sometimes weighing in at over 300 pounds. These gentle giants are
protected so no shooting except with a camera. Speaking of hunting,
this area falls within an invertebrate preserve, so taking of lobster
is prohibited. Lobsters are rarely seen in this area anyway.
you are a wreck buff, the Toro is another
that you can put in your logbook. As with many wrecks, one man's
misfortune is another's pleasure.
Dive Spot At A Glance
Just southeast of the dive site known as Pebble Beach
between Arrow Point and Doctor's Cove on the frontside Catalina Island.
To be put on the larger sections of wreck diving with the boat Sundiver
or Sundiver Express is
Skill Level: All but can
be surgy in shallow. Watch your
depth over the sand slope.
Most of the wreckage is 50 feet or less. Reef is
approximately 70 feet to the sand.
Good. Averages 40 feet but can drop in the
Photography: Wreckage is
not very interesting, but there
are some good macro opportunities of small fish and nudibranchs.
No-take zone for invertebrates and fish are
small. Don't bother.
OTHER VIEWS: SUNDIVER REPORT,