For me the weekend began late Friday afternoon with a few dives off Back Beach in Rockport, including a night dive. I love night dives, but don’t do them often because I find that I am just exhausted the next day. I rarely have a day when I can sleep in the following morning between work (the day job) and diving (the other day job). Less than 6 hours of sleep and I am in rough shape. Yes, it’s been a long time since the days of late night studying in college for me.
Anyway, after a fun couple of dives, we headed home to drop our recreational gear in a fish tub and grab some sleep before Saturday’s double header charter to the New York Central 14-2 and in the afternoon, the Chester Poling where Dave would be finishing up an Advanced OW class. The alarm clock went off at 5 am and we were off. It looked to be a beautiful day for diving, although there was some troubling SE wind in the forecast that was going to play into the mix. We loaded up the boat with an eager group. I was diving OC since I was finishing up a class that has been dogged by weather and the engine issue we had a few weeks ago.
Once loaded, we got off the dock about 15 minutes early and enjoyed a very nice ride out to the wreck. Conditions were good with light wind and sunny skies. When we arrived, the mooring seemed fouled with a lobster pot, but with a little effort we were able to pick it up and settle in ok. There was quite a bit of current running though. In any case, we got the first groups of divers in and then Scott, Josh and I suited up for our turn. We were waiting a bit because we were planning to pull the mooring out since this is our last planned trip of the season to this wreck. By this time divers were coming back and reporting pretty low visibility of 5-10 feet so I decided to leave the camera behind. Lately, I’ve put the camera together only to break it down without it going in the water due to lousy visibility. Annoying.
Anyway, we splashed and pulled ourselves down to the wreck. We got down, dropped the gear for removing the line and headed off towards the bow. The visibility was milky. We dropped into the forward section for a look around. It wasn’t much better inside. I did notice that the giant oil blob flowing out of a pipe that I had photographed a few years ago was gone and the tank containing the oil was considerably degraded. So that’s all leaked out. Scott attempted to swim down the port side between the machinery and the hull—still not possible. With that we popped out, headed aft and back to the wreck’s stern area. Again, it was pretty poor visibility. Following this tour, we got to work pulling the line and removing it off into the sand. We headed up for a short deco and called it a dive.
With that, we were back at the dock a bit early since Dave was planning to dive only in the afternoon. Before too long we were loaded up with the next group, a mix of newcomers and regulars and off to the Poling. By this time, the wind was picking up a bit as a noticeable sea breeze. We arrived on the Poling and there was only one mooring, so that made selecting which end of the wreck we’d dive easy. We got settled in and the divers followed on. Most were planning 2 dives, although I decided to stay topside being a bit tired. The wind progressively increased and before too long it was quite rough. We pressed on and the next groups completed their 2nd dives. Around 4:30 we dropped off the buoy and beat if for Beverly. We took a good beating most of the way back with a steady 15-20 kt SE wind off our beam. This was the sort of ride where we double bungee stuff and everyone is seated!
By some small miracle, I pulled off docking the boat with a strong beam wind and a ripping current. We unloaded, and called it a successful day. Congrats to Josh for completing his Technical Diver certification and to Linda for making her first New England wreck dives in very challenging conditions and completing her NAUI AOW.
The following morning we awoke at 5 am to assess the weather and decided to call it given we were scheduled for a deep dive and the conditions looked largely the same with SE wind. Such a bummer considering it was otherwise a beautiful day despite the wind!
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