With the 4th of July weekend already upon us, we were ready for a long weekend of diving, BBQ and of course, fireworks! Although the weatherman had claimed the weekend weather would be excellent, he clearly wasn’t thinking of the ocean forecast across those 3 days. On Saturday, we were heading to the Snetind—our last planned trip there this season, and actually our only trip there since we were blown out of every other trip scheduled to date. Sadly, Saturday would be no different, as we awoke to windy conditions out of the west, after an evening of blustery SE wind and thunderstorms. We loaded up at the boat bright and early as the wind gusted around us turning the water dark with patches of gusty wind moving across.
We knew we would not get all the way to the Snetind with those conditions, but perhaps the Baleen? We would see. We got off the dock and headed out. By the time we were clearing the islands off Marblehead, we knew it was unlikely we’d even get to the Baleen. We headed towards the Holmes thinking if it calmed down we could keep going. When we arrived at the Holmes it was clear the conditions weren’t getting better, so we stopped there and tied off to the mooring. Oh well.
The first groups of divers got in, and then when Dave returned, Scott and I suited up. I wasn’t sure I was going to bring the camera given the surface conditions were a bit bouncy, but I decided to anyway when they said the visibility was decent. We dropped in and headed down to the wreck. Although the visibility wasn’t terrible, it was not as good as initially reported. The wind had shifted slightly as did the tide and I wondered if the visibility was affected—it was maybe 15 feet and a kind of murky. Anyway, we took a swim up and around the bow, taking our time and poking along, before heading up to complete our decompression. So, all in all not a bad dive, but the wind was a bummer.
By Sunday morning the wind had diminished quite a bit and things were looking good for our first trip of the year to the wreck of the Patriot in Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary. We loaded up with everyone and got off the dock a little early. We had a nice ride out to the wreck, although there was still a little breeze that eventually completely dropped out. We got on the wreck, dropped the shot and in went the first group of divers. Once tied in, the others followed. Dave and the others returned to give us the download on the conditions. Visibility was “OK” – maybe 15-20 feet, murky through the water column, but lots of fish to be seen, even a dogfish had been spotted. There was some current, but mainly on the surface.
Scott and I suited up and splashed next. Indeed, it was murky throughout the water column and there was some current, now running even on the bottom. Strange conditions this year with lots of current even when we would not expect so much. Nevertheless, we got into the dive doing several laps around the wreck taking photos. Scott swam into the wheelhouse which is starting to open up. After swimming the wreck and doing the best I could with the vis, we decided to head up after about 35 min. We pulled the shot line off the wreck, and ascended to complete a short deco. When back aboard, we enjoyed a nice ride back to Beverly. It was a beautiful day!
For Monday’s dive, we were heading to the Terra Nova to do some classes. I was diving open circuit and teaching so I left the camera at home. We loaded up bright and early trying to stay ahead of the 4th of July madness. We had a nice ride up to Twin Light off Cape Ann where the wreck is located. We arrived, got tied off on the mooring and got to it. Dave headed in first with Feng and Tim. The next waves of divers headed in next and as usual, when Dave returned we got the low down on the visibility. Sadly, the visibility was not good—a murky 10 feet at best. Argh. Well, I certainly didn’t feel bad about leaving my camera behind with this vis report, but I was also hoping for better conditions. For sure, my students would appreciate diving a helium-based mix over air doing a murky dive to 150 feet.
We suited up and splashed. We dropped down to the wreck and got the strobe set. The mooring was fouled in the tripod mast, so it took me a moment to orient myself in the low visibility. Once we had a direction, we swam out, around the stern and then out and around the bow, taking a nice slow swim, looking around and poking around in the debris. We came back around, then out along the tripod mast before calling it a dive and heading up to complete our decompression. Overall, it was a good dive and everyone did great!!
With that, we wrapped up the diving portion of the weekend. We headed back to Beverly, unloaded and did a quick turn-around to head back out to watch fireworks in Marblehead Harbor. It was a great show and a great weekend!
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