bay of Port Graham

Pulling history from the sea

By Scott Christiansen

One day in March of this year, Steve Lloyd’s 27-foot cabin cruiser Obtainium was headed on a course along the Kenai Peninsula’s southwestern tip from Seldovia to the elongated bay of Port Graham, which shelters the town of the same name.

Lloyd considers himself a pretty savvy scuba diver, if not Alaska’s premier shipwreck hunter and he and his dive partner Ursa Lively were headed for a nearby shipwreck site.

Their lure wasn’t treasure, but a 140-year-old military wreck known as the Torrent, which Lloyd had visited twice before.

His pioneering dives in July 2006 revealed only spikes; apparently part of the ship drifted and created it’s own debris field as wooden parts rotted away. Lloyd led an expedition the next year that found anchors, and cargo, including cannon balls and an intact bronze cannon barrel. 

Slowly, the Torrent was giving up her secrets to an expanding, albeit small, circle of divers skilled enough to dodge Cook Inlet currents during brief periods of slack tide.