The Ruby E was commissioned as the “B” Class Coast Guard Cutter Cyane (WPC-105) on October 25th, 1934 and based in Ketchikan, Alaska. The Cyane was named for the fresh water nymph (naiad) in Greek mythology who opposed Hades when he raped Persephone. She was built by Lake Union Dry Dock & Machine Works of Seattle, Washington and designed for the enforcement of Prohibition.
During World War II, The Ruby E conducted anti-submarine and search and rescue patrols. She also served as an escort for convoys, mostly along the West Coast of the United States.
The Cyane was decommissioned on August 1, 1950 and placed in storage at the Coast Guard Moorings in Kennydale, Washington. She was sold to Birchfield Boiler, Inc., of Tacoma, Washington on December 7, 1954, to commence a new life as a fish-processing vessel. Before her last years of topside service as a salvage vessel, she was renamed Ruby E. On June 18, 1989, the Ruby E. was intentionally sunk as an artificial reef in San Diego’s World Famous Wreck Alley. The history of the Ruby is checkered at best. During its final years, there is speculation that it was used for illegal racketeering coming up from Mexico into the United States.
The Ruby E is the second most popular wreck in San Diego’s popular Wreck Alley. It is frequented by locals, folks visiting San Diego and new “Wreck Divers” looking to hone their skills on something a little shallower and a little smaller (unlike its Wreck Alley neighbor, the Yukon). The Ruby E is known for its many invertebrates that have covered the deteriorating wreck. The Ruby E is 165 foot paradise for photographers looking for Macro topics.
While the Ruby E does offer several easy penetration points, they should only be attempted by qualified divers and divers undergoing wreck certification under the instruction of an Expert Wreck Diving Instructor. The easiest point to enter is the wheel house; however the years and conditions have been harsh on the thin metals outlining this ole Coast Guard Cutter. Extra care should be taken when entering the wheel house, especially for silting and sharp edges.
Another popular entry point on the wreck is the engine room. The boat still carries its large twin diesel engines. You can still see the old rocker arms and other parts of the engine if you close enough. While the engine room is easy to enter, all divers should be certified for wreck penetration when entering. There are lots of places to bang a head, get caught in the metal riggings, cut yourself or get caught in a silt out making it troublesome to find even the large entrance.
It is common mistake to think if the Yukon has poor conditions that the Ruby E may be a better dive. While it is not impossible it is generally not the case. The Ruby E is about 10 minutes from the Yukon and is a bit more exposed to swells and currents. Visibility can range from 2 feet to 20 feet on most days. Water temperatures can run from the high 40’s in winter time to the low 60’s in the summer time. The ruby E sits in about 70 feet at the sand and the deck of the boat is generally a 65 foot dive which makes this a nice second dive to the HMCS Yukon. Generally, one long dive is enough to see the whole boat, however it is also long enough to get you hooked on it as a favorite dive. The Ruby E generally invites most divers back for a second date.