Deep Water Cove – HMNZS Canterbury

Cantebury diver 1On November 3, 2007, after nine months of final planning and a weather postponement, the HMNZS Canterbury was sunk by explosives at Deep Water Cover.

The idea behind retiring the frigate at this beautiful location was to provide recreational divers with a thrilling underwater experience. Divers from all over the world now come to Deep Water Cove to explore the old girl.

canterbury sinking showing explosivesOn the day she was sunk, over 300 hospitality boats and pleasure craft gathered to witness the event.

The engine room, galley and shell rooms had previously been flooded.

Holes had been cut into its sides to ensure the ship stayed upright and in one piece when it reached the bottom and without damage from the explosives imported from the United States.

Canterbury 2Before she was sunk, a wrecking crew recovered high value non-ferrous metal
such as copper in the vessel’s kilometers of wiring.

Public open days sold a number of items including the entire captain’s galley, dials, gauges, telephones and signs. One propeller sold for $20,000 and there was strong demand for the crew’s aluminum gear lockers.

The other propeller has become a monument in Whangarei.

Leander-class frigates were known to have a hull weakness just forward of the bridge and the frigates that have already been sunk, Waikato and Wellington, had broken in half at the weak point.

This was taken into account when Canterbury was sunk. The site has a flat, sandy bottom.

It should sit on the bottom in one piece for many years

Canterbury_wreck_locationThe carefully selected site provides sheltered waters avoiding any potential environmental hazards or the wreck being broken up by swells as was the case with sister ship, Wellington off the southern Wellington coast.

The location provides a safe diving environment sheltered from prevailing winds with minimal current.

Deep Water Cove provides the perfect sanctuary for the frigate on the sparsely inhabited sandy bottom at the selected location.

The wreck is also creating an artificial reef. This is improving bio diversity and fish stock in the area.

As a matter of interest, Deep Water Cover was also the site of Zane Grey’s first deep sea angling base and an early whaling station.

It is now a nature reserve and a popular anchorage and shelter for boats after they first enter the bay.

Deep water cove 3Wow! What an interesting bay to visit!

When you arrive at Deep Water Cover, you will have walked 2/3 of the Cape Brett track at this point.

This cove is a perfect place to put on your swimmers (and snorkel mask and fins if you have them) and take a well earned dip and rest.

When you’ve been refreshed and reinvigorated, begin your tramp back up to the main Cape Brett track again.

deep water cover signAfter about 30 minutes or so, you’ll see a well signposted track on your right which will take you on a loop to Mt Rakaumangamanga.


Author: Julian Batchelor

Share This Post On