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Swim With a WWII Minesweeper

There are two kinds of SCUBA folks: The kind that get a little high from the experience of swimming with nature, so they look for any excuse to don the equipment and head into the ocean. And the kind that want to explore of the mysteries of the deep, so they're more specific with their destinations. This recommendation is for the latter.

In the depths near Santa Cruz Island, one of the larger Channel Islands off the coast of Ventura, lies the wreck of the Peacock (also known as the Spirit of America), a WWII-era minesweeper that patrolled the Pacific to locate and dismantle Japanese-installed mines. While the ship made it through the war unscathed, its later life is murky, with tales ranging from it being used as a barge, a source of firewood, and as a floating bordello off the coast of San Pedro.

The ship's current incarnation is located 60 feet below the surface. Its wood hull has collapsed, and the remaining bits of steel have been overtaken by marine life. Due to its relative proximity to the surface, it makes for an ideal dive site for SCUBA aficionados. However, it's only accessible by boat, so divers will have to charter one from Oxnard, Ventura, or Santa Barbara to get there.

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