The Wolfe Islander II was a ferry that ran between Kingston, Ontario and Wolfe Island, Ontario, from 1946 until 1975, when she was replaced by the Wolfe Islander III.
Originally known as the Ottawa Maybrook, she was built in Collingwood, Ontario in 1946 as part of an economic aid package to China. As World War II came to an end, the aid package was cancelled, and she was converted into a side-loading 16-car ferry and renamed Wolfe Islander II. She is approximately 164 feet long. She was kept as a reserve ferry between 1975 and 1985, to be used when Wolfe Islander III was being serviced.
She was purchased by the Marine Museum in 1984 with the intention of displaying her as a floating exhibit.
The Wolfe Islander II has become one of Kingston’s most famous and visited shipwrecks, and it has assisted in the preservation of other area wrecks.
After the ship was sunk, many scuba divers brought other items to leave on the now-famous ferry deck scuba playground. The ferry’s hold can also be accessed, but only by divers who are experienced in wreck penetration. With silt, the insides get very stirred up in a matter of seconds. One of the anchors was recovered and placed on the deck, and a motorcycle appeared one day on the car deck. Divers can drop down the stern to see the large prop and rudder at 80 feet, and there is a time capsule on the car deck area. Many divers return because it is impossible to cover the entire wreck in a single dive. Divers could once see the portholes engraved by the sinking’s sponsors until a group arrived with their air tools and took them for themselves. They were apprehended after being caught in the act by the Divercity Captain, who called the authorities, but the perpetrators dumped the loot overboard before being apprehended.
This is a dive that every diver visiting Kingston should do because it has something for everyone, from beginners to advanced divers.
Video by Explorer Diving in Kingston, Ontario