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January 6, 2018

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January 2018: Gauntlet is currently docked in a temporary slip due to construction/maintenance on the recreational side of the marina where we normally dock. We expect to be back in our regular location by the end of April. In the interim, you can reach the boat by turning down Goat Hill Lane off Essex Bridge St. Follow to the left, passing the Anchor Pub. Turn right onto Congress St, then take an immediate left onto Cabot St. Follow under the bridge and park in the lot adjacent to the Harbor Master building. The boat is at the end of the commercial dock.

 

October 28, 2017

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Divers suiting up for a dip on the Baleen.

For the final weekend of October, it appeared we had a short window of tranquil weather in between bouts of stormy weather. This all assumed the NOAA forecast would be correct, which is anyone’s guess it seems these days. Nevertheless, we planned to run, and developed a set of back-up options to dive depending on what the morning brought. Fortunately, this time the forecast seemed to be correct and the wind dropped out, resulting in about 10 knots of SSW wind for Saturday morning.

With that we gathered at the dock at our later departure time, now loading at 8:15 am to allow for a little more daylight and warmer temperatures (as the winter comes in). Illness and work conflicts cut into the group numbers for the day, but the rest of the group was keen to dive and it looked as though we’d make it to the Baleen. There is a mooring on the Baleen, which is rare for this late in the season, so we hoped to get the chance to make it there while it’s still present. We headed out and the conditions were not too bad; there was a light chop but the seas were otherwise pretty nice and the temperatures were mild. When we arrived on the Baleen, we located the mooring and got the boat set up for diving.

All in all, it was quite a nice day on the water, although visibility on the Baleen was only a dark 10 feet or so. I guess you can’t have it all in late October. The weather quickly deteriorated as the afternoon went on, with south wind picking up before the leading edges of the tropical storm, now Nor’easter arrived, wiping out our plans for Sunday. So it goes, but 1/2 is better than none.

October 14, 2017

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Finally the weather let up on us enough to get off the dock! Between our schedule, which was a mixture during the month of September of family commitments, weddings, classes and work travel, we finally got a break in the weather on a weekend we were actually scheduled for diving. The conditions were certainly not spectacular though with gray skies, rain and some sea left over from the day before. However, we felt confident we could make it to the Poling.

We began gathering in the dark–the certain sign that it is October and soon we’ll be switching to later departures. While I sometimes enjoy loading in the dark, as it feels like you’re really taking full advantage of the day, I also do like having some daylight. We lit up the back deck for loading and before too long, the sun was up, well, sort of. It was there, but we couldn’t see it. In fact, it was raining.

Loading Gauntlet in the dark is a sure sign it’s October.

We got off the dock and headed to the Poling since we thought the Romance would be terrible with the ground swell we had running. We cruised up to the wreck–it got a bit roll-y after the islands, but the wind was actually light and the seas weren’t rough other than the swell. When we arrived on the Poling, we grabbed our mooring which is on the stern end of the wreck. We sent in the first group, followed by the next and before long it was time for Scott, Tim and I to dive.

I had left the camera behind thinking it was not going to be good visibility. Reports put it around 10-15′ which was reasonable, but I was OK with the decision to leave it behind. We dropped in, headed down to the wreck and did a tour through the inside as usual. Then we headed down to the break where we popped into both the port and starboard oil holds. We closed the dive around 40 min after returning to the mooring down the starboard side along the bottom. The wreck is really crumbling fast. Each time I dive it, I feel that something has changed and it is in an accelerated state of decay. Soon you will be able to enter the next oil hold aft from within the adjacent hold!

We did a short deco and climbed back aboard. The rain was off an on, and it was muggy, but we had a good day. The forecast for Sunday looked pretty grim, and so we cancelled since we had folks from out of town to consider. The weather was ultimately better than expected, but the morning’s dense fog would have kept us dockside. I was happy to get one!

August 27, 2017

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Morning sunrise.

Despite having more ambitious plans for a long-haul trip to the Paul Palmer and the Pinthis, NE wind had something else in mind. Late August seems like early fall more and more so every year.

We decided to head out in the direction of the Pinthis and see how the conditions were… it was breezing up a bit with NE around 10 knots, but as we got out, the wind was light enough that we were able to keep going and make it to the Pinthis, where upon arrival, we ran into our old friends Chris and Amy, who were fishing over the wreck. We tied up the boats together and had a good catch up. It’s a small world for sure when you’re bumping into friends in the middle of the ocean. Anyway, conditions were OK with a very murky water column and ~20 feet on the bottom. We pulled our mooring since this was our last trip to the Pinthis this season. Fall certainly felt like it was in the air and we had a cool, crisp ride back with some choppy NE seas. However, it was a beautiful day to be on the water.

August 12-13, 2017

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With a really nice weather pattern upon us, we were set for some good dives over the weekend with a trip to the Nina T on Saturday and some exploration for a project we began working on in 2016 on Sunday.

On Saturday, our plan was the Nina T, which is a small, broken up eastern-rig fishing boat sunk near the Poling in 100 feet of water. This used to be completely intact in the late 90s to early 2000’s before it finally collapsed into a debris pile. It’s still an interesting dive with lots to explore poking through the debris. We loaded up in the rain, but winds were light and the sun was out before we knew it. It was turning into a real nice day despite the in-and-out sun.

Scott splashing in for a dive on the Nina T.

Anyway, we had to do a little mooring repair, as there was no mooring present when we arrived. But we were able to recover the old line and put a new buoy on it. So, on our dive, Scott and I did a little line work. Well, mostly Scott. I video’d him doing it. Lol. We haven’t had the GoPro in the water in awhile so I decided to take it for a spin and make sure it was working well. I got some decent video, but that’s really Dave’s department. Although I like watching video, I don’t particularly like shooting video. I prefer still photography, although I do wish a nice DSLR was available in the super small package of a GoPro set up. That sure would be nice. Anyway, visibility was very good around 20-25 feet with a moderate, annoying current. All in all it was a good dive.

Sunday we were working on our exploration project–more about that soon. Progress has been slow with a lot of bad weather for offshore, deep diving this season.

August 4-6, 2017

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With a somewhat last minute addition to our schedule, we started our weekend on Friday with a trip to the Patriot with a group from Canada. They were keen to dive the Patriot, and with good reason. The Patriot has been outstanding this year with some great visibility and a seemingly increasing number of goosefish (monkfish) hanging out around the wreck. In addition, we had two more trips to Stellwagen planned with our regular line up of charters. When the tides are good, you gotta go! Anyway, despite these most appealing plans, the weather did not look too good. This seems to be the theme of this summer: we have good plans, the weather ruins them. Friday did not look good at all, not for anything, but especially not for Stellwagen with moderate south wind, followed by heavier SE wind later in the afternoon when we were planning to head out. Nevertheless, the group really wanted to hang in there and see how it shaped up. They were up for a bumpy ride, so we pressed on.

High seas and heavy wind made diving a little tricky, but we managed.

We loaded up around 11 am and got off the dock. This is much later than we ordinarily will run to Stellwagen, as it makes for a long day, but this was a special trip seeing this group was from Canada and it was a unique chance for them to get offshore to the sanctuary. Although the forecast had downgraded the wind and no longer predicted SE, by the time we were loaded the wind was up, and it was getting choppy out there. We pressed on with  relatively smooth ride out there, but it was clearly increasing. Another charter boat had left a mooring on the site since they were running back to back trips, but then got blown out. So we were hoping it was still there for us to use. Indeed it was, and although we had some reservations since the mooring was only rope and no chain, we went for it anyway. The wind progressively picked up and shifted SE after all. It started getting very sloppy out there. We were thinking of heading back inshore after one dive, but when the visibility reports and accounts of 4 goosefish started coming in, we decided to hang in. Tim and I suited up for a dive since we were staying. I had concerns about the line breaking out, but we decided to go anyway. CAD was also onsite, which added a little complexity to the dive ops, but we worked together to get everyone on the wreck.

Tim and I dropped down. Current was pretty light, which was good, because the seas were running 3-4′ anyway. Below the murky layer, the visibility opened up to a solid 25-30 feet, although it was a bit cloudy. I had decided not to take the camera and just enjoy dive poking around. Tim and I did several laps around the wreck and spotted 6 goosefish. We thought we were up to 7, but then we couldn’t remember if we had already seen that one. Yeah, there were that many. Anyway, I decided to take a looksie to see how the line was doing. It was frayed from chafing, but it had been ok. As I got closer, I spotted a limp piece of blue line. Yup, we had broken out and no longer had a line to the surface. We quickly readied a bag and reel and shot the bag to the surface, heading up. I figured that was the sign it was time to get going. When we surfaced, we were in some heavy seas where you can only spot the boat when riding up on a wave. Nevertheless, Gauntlet was there to scoop us out of the water and we beat it to head inshore. Fortunately, the wind was mostly on our tail coming back, so the ride wasn’t bad. We did some surfing though. The group still wanted to do a second dive and the only place we could get them in was the inside of Children’s Island, which was quite honestly a surgey mess, but every other dive site in our vicinity was blown out with SE wind around 20 knots and 3-5′ seas running. The group had a no-vis dive to remind them they were in New England, and we headed back to the dock, arriving around 7 pm. They were happy though, and had a good time!

Scott and Josh inside the crew’s quarters on the Poling.

Given the conditions and the added rain and fog for Saturday, we decided to cancel Saturday’s dives. The weather for Saturday was definitely lousy and most certainly we would not have gotten to Stellwagen. Even the Poling would have been a tough go. We hoped for better luck on Sunday, although it became very clear before long that the wind that was going to blow out the mess of fog and rain, was going to blown out damn near everything else too. We hung in there with a downgraded plan for at best another Patriot trip (instead of the further out Unidentified Trawler), but ultimately the 15-20 knots of West wind forced us to settle for a trip to the Poling.

There was an easterly swell, with chop out of the west on top making it progressively rougher out there throughout the morning. Fortunately there was a good mooring on the Poling that we put in, so we grabbed that and hoped for some decent visibility. The current was screaming both on the surface and on the wreck, which made the dives a bit more arduous considering the choppy sea conditions. However, vis was not terrible at about 20-25′–a bit cloudy, but not bad. Scott, Josh and I had a good tour of the inside and out. I was playing around with some different camera modes and all in all it wasn’t a bad dive. I was disappointed we got 1/3 Stellwagen trips, but I guess it was better than none!

 

July 22, 2017

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A goosefish hanging out on the Patriot.

With only 1 day to dive thanks to a round of NE wind that took out Sunday, we were determined to make the most of it with a trip to the Patriot on Saturday. So far this season, this wreck has delivered some great dives–nice visibility, dogfish, goosefish, pollack and the usual scuplin and other assorted typical Stellwagen marine life. No whales though. Yet. Anyway, we loaded up on Saturday morning under overcast skies and got underway a bit early. The winds were light, but it was a bit of a dreary kind of day without the sun to brighten things up. Nevertheless, it looked to be a good day of diving.

We arrived on the Patriot and quickly got to diving. The current was moving on the surface and I wondered if our early arrival was going to put us in a band of strong current. Nevertheless, Dave and Josh splashed and the rest of the group followed. When they returned, we got a good conditions report. Some current on the wreck, but not terrible. In addition, they spotted 4 goosefish. We got the run down on where to look, and then Scott and I suited up for our dive.

We splashed in and dropped down to the wreck, the visibility was a little diminished from the last time were there, but most likely it was due to the cloudy skies. It was still a solid 40 feet once our eyes adjusted. We spent most of the dive swimming around the wreck in the sand where there was plenty to see, including one of the four and largest goosefish. They are pretty neat. Anyway, about halfway through our dive the current completely dropped out and we had some very nice still water to enjoy. All in all it was an excellent dive, and we enjoyed some homemade M&M chocolate chip cookies thanks to Josh (well, Josh’s girlfriend) to pass the time on the ride back.

July 16, 2017

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On Sunday, our plan was to dive the wreck of the F/V North Star, which is a small wooden eastern rig fishing vessel that sank in 2003 after capsizing. The wreck has become a disperse debris field, but over the area of wreckage, a tremendous amount of the class Stellwagen marine life came to call this wreck home. We’ve been diving the wreck since 2012, shortly after it’s discovery by the NOAA staff. In that time, we placed a subsea mooring system at the site that facilitated access. Over time, we have also monitored the site to see how it was changing over time. For sure, the typical Stellwagen pattern of dynamic/live sand played out with the wreck becoming more sanded in at times or less at others. However, beginning last year, we noticed more fishing gear impacts from most likely scallop dredging. The stern section was dragged some distance and some of the other sections of wreckage seemed thinner. However, it was more or less the same site.

In July of this year we received a report that a sanctuary survey showed significant impact to the site. Large scallop vessels from outside this area have been concentrating on Stellwagen Bank given changes to management of other areas. The result is that these vessels have basically been hammering on the bank and the North Star suffered as a result. The side scan shows that the site has become more disperse and spotty, certainly the result of multiple gear contacts. Anyway, with a trip on the books for this weekend, we decided to investigate. We loaded up Sunday morning and headed out. It was a perfect summer day, unlike the day before that felt more fall like at times, and we had good conditions for diving.

Wolffish on the Heroic.

When we arrived on the North Star, we had trouble locating wreckage on the bottom and could not locate the mooring ball which rises up 10′ from the sea floor. We dropped the shot line on the location of the mooring on the GPS and sent 1 team in to investigate and decide whether or not we should dive the site. Dave and Tony splashed on the shot line and unfortunately, they were back within about 15 min. Not only was there no mooring system at all, but the wreck was more or less gone, with only a few crumpled pieces of wreckage observed. Certainly, there is nothing to dive for all intents and purposes. It was very disappointing to see a dive site the dive community enjoyed destroyed without any care by commercial fisherman. Some have said that if the position was available, they could avoid it. But the fact is, the position to this wreck is available and posted on the NOAA website. The issue is they don’t care because no regulations in the sanctuary require them to care.

Anyway, we cruised the short distance over to the Heroic, which is less than 1 mile away (at one point I had aspirations to scooter from the Heroic to the North Star). We dropped Dave and Tony back in and they tied into the mooring on the Heroic. Everyone got to diving. When they returned, they reported the wreck was in good shape for the most part, but the visibility was very murky/cloudy on the bottom, and there was a decent current. Nevertheless, Scott x 2 and I suited up for our dive. There was an annoying current on the way down, and a mild one on the bottom. Sometimes the slack windows just aren’t that slack. Visibility was murky, but we swam a few laps around the wreck, took a few photos, and Scott Z bagged up some scallops since there were tons around. We saw a few dogfish, a wolffish and unbeknownst to us, a baby seal was swimming around the boat. Fortunately we did not see Cisco, the great white shark hanging out in the area.

At the end of our dive, we pulled the line and headed up. A snafu with the shot line while it was being retrieved required Scott and I to bounce back down and unfoul it, so I got to dive the Heroic twice! Once that was sorted, we wrapped it up and enjoyed a nice ride back in great summer conditions. It is a shame about the North Star, it was a fun dive.

 

 

July 8-9, 2017

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Despite some questionable weather for Saturday, we hung in there to see what the morning would bring. The weather wasn’t good on Friday and the wind looked to persist through Saturday. At best, I thought we’d get out to a local inshore wreck. Saturday morning rolled around though and the wind was very light, much lighter than predicted. The sea conditions were improving and things seemed good enough to head out for the Patriot and see how far we could get.

A school of pollack passes over the wreck of the Patriot.

We loaded up with a mix of regular and new customers and headed off to Stellwagen. Sea conditions weren’t bad, but they weren’t great either with some ENE swell making things uncomfortable at times. The wind stayed pretty light and we pressed on. We got out to the Patriot, dropped the shot and in no time we were tied in and diving. The visibility report was excellent with 30-40+ feet of visibility and little current. No whales, but lots of fish. Sounded great. Scott and I headed in for our dive, and despite Scott nearly scaring off all the fish with his bubbles from diving open circuit, I managed to snap a few good photos.

We wrapped up the dive and headed home before the afternoon storms moved in with some very strong squalls and thunderstorms. Sunday looked to be a really nice day with light wind for our trip to the Snetind. The last 2 trips to the Snetind have been with very low visibility on the wreck, so we had our fingers crossed for better conditions.

John and Tim at the bow of the Snetind.

 

We loaded up and enjoyed a pretty smooth ride out with just a little chop. We grabbed the mooring we put in when we arrived and were off to diving before too long. When the first divers returned, we were shocked to hear the visibility was 20-25 feet with ambient light. This was a pleasant surprise. Tim, John and I suited up and splashed. Conditions were great indeed. We had a nice swim to the bow and back. When we finished our deco, we climbed aboard (most of us doing it on the first try ;-)). We headed back enjoying fantastic weather and some fresh pineapple thanks to Mike. All in all, it was a great weekend of diving. Not perfect with weather, as has been the theme, but we got 2 good dives in.

 

 

July 2, 2017

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Looking back at the crumbled wreck of the Nina T.

The weather messed with our plans this weekend. A combination of wind, at times very dense fog and thunderstorms lead us to revise plans a few times. Our offshore plans for Sunday got scrapped and we settled for an inshore dive in some foggy, sloppy seas on Sunday with a trip to the Nina T. The Nina T is a small, now crumbled wood eastern rig dragger. It’s not far from the Poling and currently has a mooring, which made it a good alternative to the stuff we dive all the time.

We headed out Sunday morning with warm, clear weather, but by the time we reached Bakers and Misery islands, we were swallowed up by a large fog bank. The fog was quite dense and there was a decent sea running once we hit open water. We made it up to the Nina T and anchored up. Despite having the anchor light, fog horn and dive flags up, we still nearly had a very close call with a small center console boat that popped out of about 50 feet of visibility at full speed and came uncomfortably close to us before turning. Anyway, we got to diving and fortunately by midmorning, the fog bank pushed further offshore, clearing the inshore waters. Visibility on the Nina T was excellent with 30-40 feet of visibility. There was an annoying current running, but that probably helped the visibility. Tim and I had a nice time poking around the wreck. When we finished, we headed up and cruised back to Beverly enjoying  much improved weather.

June 24-25, 2017

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Scott at the stern of the Pinthis.

The weekend looked like a mixed bag of weather, but we had plans for the Pinthis on Sunday, and we were determined to get there. Saturday threatened to be a total blow out, but we hung in there to look at the morning conditions and decided to make a go of it with a quick run to the Poling. The morning broke with partly sunny skies, but quickly became overcast and windier. We loaded up and decided on the Poling since the conditions weren’t great, with around 15 kts of SSW wind, and ~3 foot sea running. Plus our last visit to the City of Salisbury, which is near the Romance, was a braille dive, so we opted for a different geographic area.

By the time we were passing Bakers and Misery Islands, we were hitting a fog bank. From there, it was rainy, foggy, windy and the seas were a bit sloppy. But we made it to the Poling, and grabbed a mooring. Conditions on the bottom were much better than topside with about 25-30 ft of visibility. It probably would have been better if the sun was out. There was some current, but nothing too terrible. When we finished up, we beat it. The fog became very dense and eventually we had to creep along with only 50 feet of visibility to work with. We got back to the dock without issue though and later that day the sun was out.

With that, the forecast looked much better for Sunday’s trip to the Pinthis, so I went ahead and bought food. Sunday, everyone gathered bright and early, well except one who needed a little more sleepy time. We waited a bit out of the kindness of our hearts and left almost on time with the full complement of divers. We had a nice ride down to Scituate, and a quick tie in. There was some current running, but the seas were glass. We got all the divers in and when Dave returned, we got the visibility report – crappy on the way down but 30+ feet on the bottom. That was good news.

Scott and I suited up and splashed. We had a nice tour around and through the wreck. The stern is really breaking up now and the wreck is more deteriorated since last year not surprisingly. It is still a great dive though. When our dive was finished, we headed up for a short deco, put a new zinc on the prop shaft and climbed aboard. We had a nice lunch on the ride back. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful weather and great diving.

 

June 10-11, 2017

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Gauntlet cruising out to the dive site loaded up with divers and gear.

After what seemed at times to be downright awful weather over the past week, I didn’t know what to expect for the weekend. Huge seas early in the week gave way to a heavy, persistent swell that had us guessing right until Saturday morning as to what it was going to do. I watched the wind blow from every direction on Friday. One thing was for sure, visibility was not going to be good this weekend. Nevertheless, I set up the camera in a delusional belief that I might actually use it.

We revised our offshore diving plans on Friday and decided to stick inshore since we didn’t really know what to expect. The forecast was hardly lining up with the conditions and it seemed grim either way. We decided to buzz out to the Holmes since we had a mooring on the wreck last we were there and it’s close in case the wind came up early. Saturday morning was beautiful, and the seas calmed down to a gentle swell, although the wind was predicted to return before too long. The mooring on the Holmes is all but gone–we found it barely reaching the surface, weighted down by growth. But we were able to locate it and tie off. Visibility on the wreck was murky, about 10 feet. Certainly it was not as bad as I was expecting, but the camera did not enter the water. The mooring is hopelessly fouled on the wreck and needs to be removed, so we have some work to do next time we’re there.

Sunday was looking to be a great day with hot summer-like weather; however, another bout with wind overnight and a forecast calling for heavier wind the afternoon led us to scrap the Pinthis and stay local. We decided on the City of Salisbury. The seas were a little choppy off Marblehead, but it laid down nicely as we got down to Graves Light. Unfortunately, our mooring was gone, so we made ready to put a new one in. The first team splashed to get us tied in, and the rest of the groups followed. Dave, Tim and Dominique were back rather quickly though after tying in. Visibility was 1-3 feet, most agreeing 3 feet was too generous an estimate. Very disappointing, but not surprising given the conditions we’ve had over the past week. We wrapped it up and headed back.

The weather has been a challenge for sure, but we’ll keep at it and hope to catch a break soon with some decent visibility! My camera is getting tired of going for boat rides!

June 3-4, 2017

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Scott at the break end of the Poling where a large piece of wreckage has broken off.

A nice weather pattern set up for the weekend with what appeared to be tranquil weather before a storm moved in on Sunday night. On Saturday we were diving the Poling and on Sunday we had another trip to the Snetind.

Saturday turned out to be quite a bit windier than predicted and as result, it was a little choppy out there, although nothing too terrible. With the wind and tide running against each other we managed to be sitting beam-to, which made things annoying. There wasn’t too much current though. I got a few photos on the Poling, which were a challenge. Although I’d give the visibility 10-15′, it was murky and the camera didn’t like it. There has been still more collapse at the break end with more deck sagging and a piece of the bulkhead peeling off. I hate to say it, but I think the Poling is really going. In another year or two there will be some dramatic changes.

Sunday’s weather was perfect with glass-like seas and warm sun. It almost felt like summer. Unfortunately, visibility has been quite disappointing with only about 10′ of visibility on the Snetind. If we got that clear springtime visibility while the water was still cold, well, I missed it because it’s been nothing but murky water all along. Even when it has been “good” it isn’t really that good. Hopefully we’ll get a surprise burst of good vis soon!

 

May 20-21, 2017

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A round of nice, although cool, weather arrived in time for the weekend allowing for not one, but two day of diving. This has been a rare occurrence so far this year, as a rough winter continued into a rough spring. It’s hard to believe official summer is only about 1 month away. While the weather certainly was not “shorts weather” the conditions were good enough for a trip to the Poling on Saturday and the Snetind on Sunday.

Saturday brought more wind than expected and it was a bit sloppy with NNE wind, which lead us to opt for the mooring we recently installed on the Poling vs trying to get on the Nina T. Although the wind was blustery, conditions were otherwise decent with not much current and decent visibility. Sunday’s weather was markedly better with lighter wind, although cool enough that I wore some extra layers to keep warm topside. We had a nice ride out to the wreck and got a mooring installed, which will hopefully allow for several trips there before it’s broken or obstructed by gill netters. If you haven’t had the chance, check out our year-end newsletter for an article about the Snetind!

John looking good in his new drysuit.

Dave strikes a pose.

Other than that, there’s been various drysuit modeling going on as everyone receives their new drysuits from DUI. While a few of us are still waiting on our suits (including me), Dave and John are looking good in their new DUI FLX Extreme. After many years, we decided to part ways with the trusty CF200 for a lighter, more flexible drysuit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 29-30, 2017

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Finally, after a very long stretch of bad weather and not having a dive scheduled on the few nice days we did experience on the weekends, we got off the dock for not one, but two charters! The weather leading up to the weekend was far from good and so we decided to keep it simple for our first trip of the year with a dive on the Herbert on Saturday, followed by what ended up being the Poling on Sunday due to blustery north wind. All in all, it was a great weekend of diving.

Scott and TIm exploring around the engine and boilers on the wreck of the Herbert.

Saturday we loaded up and headed to the Herbert. Conditions were better than predicted with light winds and no fog, which had been in the marine forecast. Part of the reason for selecting the Herbert was that it’s a short ride for us, and there was a reasonable chance there would be a mooring there. Indeed, we were right. When we arrived the mooring (albeit rather crusty and slimy) was present. We picked up, tied off and got to diving.

Dave and Josh headed in first and the rest of the divers following as is usually the case. When Dave returned, we were shocked to hear the visibility was pretty good at about 10-15’ with some ambient light—this is very good for the Herbert. Scott, Tim and I suited up and splashed. We dropped down to the wreck, got situated and then did the usual tour of the wreck beginning with the stern, followed by poking around the bow, with a visit to the clam dredge last. The water is still pretty chilly at 39-40 degrees, so when we were beginning to feel the chill, we wrapped it up and headed up. There was a decent current running in the water column, which is less common on this wreck.

We surfaced and enjoyed a nice ride back. The sun even came out a bit, with warm temperatures to go with it. However, we knew it wouldn’t last, as Sunday was to bring markedly different weather. With blustery north wind coming, it was going to be cold again. We decided to make a go of it (with an early AM weather check to be sure) and aim for the Poling. Sunday rolled around and in the early morning it looked nice with light NW wind. However by the time we were leaving the house there was around 20 knots of north wind. Hmm.

Dave wearing his new DUI FLX drysuit. Nice!

We gathered at the boat, loaded up, got rebreather checks done with students and headed to Gloucester. It was a fairly smooth ride, but for sure, it was choppy up at the Poling. For sure, we wouldn’t have been able to make it to the City of Salisbury. Scott and I were diving first with Vitaliy so we suited up to get ready. We were tied into the sole mooring on the wreck. We splashed in and kicked hard back to the boat—the current was running hard and the seas were a bit bumpy. Immediately I knew something was not right though. The lines were pulling sideways and the granny line was bowed out. I swam back over the ladder and shouted out. At the same time, Dave realized we had broken out of the wreck and we were drifting. So, we dragged ourselves out of the water, back aboard while the crew got a new mooring shot line dropped in for us to tie in. Never fun when that happens!

With the new line in, we dropped back in. I decided to leave the camera behind since it looked pretty murky from when I first jumped in. We dropped down, Scott moved the line over the stern and chained it in. In a few minutes, we shot the bag and continued our dive. Visibility was OK on the wreck, maybe 10-15’—not terrible, but not great for photos so I didn’t feel too bad about leaving it behind. We did a tour through the inside and a lap around the wreck before heading up. The water temperature was about the same as the day before at 39-40 F. The current was screaming from about 30 feet up and it was definitely some effort to get out of the water. The next groups of divers had to splash holding a line and be pulled over to the downline.
When the next groups were done diving, we pulled the lines and headed home. We left a new mooring, this one with chain, which will hopefully hold up better. Overall, a great weekend getting back at it, although we sure did have to work for it Sunday.