The wreck of the PV2 Harpoon in Lake Washington is now accessible from shore. A line has been run from the North end of the SandPoint Naval Yard to the wreck. This image shows the lake bottom along the line run to the wreck. Total run time is around 14 minutes to the plane depending on visibility and the divers comfort with moving quickly in low viz.
PV2 Harpoon in Lake Washington - Another visit from Ben Griner on Vimeo.
We dive regularly on the planes in Lake Washington and this dive we ran more video to document the planes condition and any changes we see from year to year. This plane nosed directly into the mud and is stuck there vertically. The tail section is lying next to it in the muck with the bottom at approximately 145' fresh water.
Saturday, Marc Greenway, Laurynn Evans, and Scott Christopher set out on my boat to see one of the many relics resting on the bottom of Lake Washington. Greg Wilson generously volunteered to captain the boat for us and Ben Griner provided surface support. The weather on the surface was overcast, but the wind was light. This made the entry and exit to the water very easy. The plan was to spend 20-25 min on the plane and the about the same in deco to the surface. Greg dropped the line in a great spot. Visibility was SUPER for the lake, probably 15-20 feet, so there was no need to search for the plane as it was in plain sight upon descent. The great visibility allowed us to put into perspective the massive size and layout of this wreck. For those of you who don’t know the Harpoon sits nose down in the silt. The bottom is 140 ft and the top of the plane is at 118 ft. The tail section has fell off to the side, but with the great viz we had on Saturday we were able to see the entire plane. The cold fresh water oh Lake Washington as preserved this plane very well. We spent 22 minutes on the bottom exploring the plane from top to bottom. We then completed deco and surfaced to find that the overcast sky was replaced with sunshine. It was great to spend the day visiting this little piece of history and with friends. We spent a little time side scanning a new target. We found it on the depth sounder, but due to its location between a few large rocks, and resting on a very steep slope we had trouble getting an image on the side scan unit. We will try again this weekend. This is a large target, which that looks promising. Thanks to Laurynn, Marc, and Greg for a great day on the Lake
Scott Christopher, Geof Corriveau, Greg Wilson and Ben Griner dove the wreck of the PV-2 Harpoon in Lake Washington today. This plane crashed nose down and embedded its nose in the mud leaving the plane positioned vertically in the water. This plane also has its anti aircraft guns intact. The tail section of the plan has fallen to the side. There is some question as to when and how this occurred. Some speculate it was ripped off by people attempting to hook the wreck for fishing or diving but another possibility is that a large amount of air was trapped in the tail section. This theory could support why the plane sank perfectly nose down and eventually the pressure from the trapped gas was too much and broke the tail free.
Greg Wilson approaching the top gun turrent
Scott and Geoff ran the search line and tied into the wreck with Greg and Ben following so that Ben could get as much video time as possible. This plane is virtually black underwater and its skin reflects little to no light. On this dive I swan the search line and saw the reel tied into the bomb rack and it took a minute to click that the wing should only be a few inches from me. Sure enough I had swum nearly have the length of the wing with it no more than 6-12 inches from my shoulder. This kind of thing can make diving in Lake Washington a little creepy.
This Saturday Scott Christopher and Marc Pyle dove the PV-2 Harpoon located Lake Washington. The plane stands vertically in the water; the nose buried up to the cockpit resting at 140 feet and the tail section rising to 120 feet. Marc Greenway acted as Captain for this team. The team spent 20 minutes on the bottom with approximately 7 minutes spent searching from the drop line.
Cockpit windows resting at the mud line
On this dive the drop line was placed downhill and outside of the south wing. This wing tapers and at the tip is as much as 5’ off the bottom. The team passed under the wing a few times during the search without seeing it. Obviously visibility is still not great. Marc was shooting video on this dive with a new video camera and housing which seems to have worked flawlessly.
Over the summer of 2007 Puget Sound Divers successfully conducted more than 18 dives on the PV-2 Harpoon. Early in the summer visibility was quite good but starting in early fall and into winter has declined to a mere 1-2’. The bottom around this plane is very silty and with little to no current will stay suspended throughout the course of the dive. With this in mind and the inherent sensitivity of our planes we customarily drop a 4lb lead shot approximately 50’ from the plane. This requires a little navigation but with a slight sweep the plane is easy to find. The use of the light 4lb shot requires divers be okay with some scope in the line as boat wakes and a strong breeze can easily drag this across the bottom.
Shaun Gardner has become quite good and navigating to this wreck and the last three dives I have done with him on this plane we have swam right to it. Our entire team has been on this plane several times now and I personally really enjoy this dive. It is relatively shallow at approximately 145’ and is easily explored with navigation time in 20 minutes. This type of dive affords an easy deco and often a second dive that day.
You will note on the side scan imagery the plane is nosed directly into the ground and stands straight up. The tail section has broken free and is lying beside the plane. There has been some recent controversy regarding the broken tail section as one of the early explorers of this site feels that this has been caused by people attempting to hook the plane. Missing this wreck is quite common due to its size but as stated above with a little practice is easily reachable with a simple drop line. If you are diving this wreck please do not anchor. The use of a drop line and a live boat is always a best practice when diving our wrecks.
Click here for more information about the PV-2 Harpoon and about this drawing.