For our final dive of 2016, Dave and I decided to sneak out for a quick shore dive before the 48 hours of Christmas begins with family activities and continuous eating. It was shaping up to be beautiful day, windy, but for a shore dive off Marblehead it was perfect. The sun was out, the wind direction put us in the lee and it was otherwise quiet along Marblehead’s Front Street. We were diving in the area between Fort Sewall and the Barnacle. I like this site because the entry doesn’t get much easier and there is little sand along the beach, so the mess is minimal. In addition, I had a set of loaner prototype back-mounted counter lungs (BMCLs) for the Hollis Prism 2 and needed to get in the water for a test dive. An easy shore dive seemed like a better plan than just jumping off a boat into a deeper dive.
We arrived, got the gear set up and before long we were ready to splash. We were quite the spectacle with many locals out on a morning walk stopping to ask us what we were up to. A few cars stopped as well. Everyone thought it was cool and a few were very interested in the rebreather. Anyway, we headed for the water and got in easily, as the tide was on it’s way out. This is definitely a site to hit around high tide given the water is shallow. However at high tide, the beach vanishes, so it’s best to time your dive a little before or a little after high tide. Anyway, we dropped down and headed out past the rock shoals into deeper water (about 30 feet).
The BMCLs took a little getting used to and I needed to spend a few minutes adjusting the loop volume to get it comfortable. Once we started getting a little deeper, I was more comfortable and eventually got in the groove. The WOB seem quite good and didn’t seem to be too sensitive to body position like some other BMCL units. We continued swimming along and passed through a large debris field of china. There are lots of Ironstone china shards off the Barnacle. Most likely they were tossed into the water from the restaurant, but some likely came from ships. The china was all quite old and mainly came from England.
Dave’s SPG hose was leaking badly (it appeared to be a defective new hose that was seeping gas from the rubber part of the hose) so we had to turn as his gas had been depleting (he was diving a single tank rig for ease). We made our way back to the beach and called it a dive. We got out of the water, chatted with more people who were walking along the road, and packed up our gear. We drove down the road a short ways and nabbed a perfect parking spot at the Landing and enjoyed a big breakfast at the Driftwood. All in all it was a beautiful day to be outside and a nice final dive of the year.
Overall, I liked the Hollis Prism 2 BMCLs and I’m interested to learn more and see some of the performance data. I’d also like to get a few more dives in on them if I can before we need to pass off the set to the next person in line. Most likely, we’ll purchase a set to make available as a demo to any local P2 divers interested in trying them.
Thank you to all our dive community friends—we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Onwards to 2017!
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