On Saturday, we were again at Hathaway’s Pond teaching P2 CCR and Intro to Tech classes. But on Sunday we had our first trip of the season to the Poling on the books. It seems late in the year to be getting to the Poling for the first time, but it is what it is! We were all keen to see what changes have occurred over the winter.
We weren’t sure if there would be a mooring on the wreck, and had assumed there would not be actually, so we had one ready to go in. We got loaded up and off the dock about 15 minutes early – which was a good thing since we were going to be a bit pressed for time with a Mother’s Day commitment in the afternoon. A few little trip facts of potential interest – we had 3 new customers on the boat, which is probably the most new customers we’ve had in awhile. So it was nice to see some others checking out the boat. We also had 5 open circuit divers (!!) on the boat (including Dave and me)! I actually had to think about where to have people place their gear on deck to avoid creating a list with all those heavy doubles!
Anyway, we had a nice ride up to the Poling. The ocean was like glass with a mild swell. There was not much wind, but it was overcast. There was fog in the area, but we were clear of it. We got up on the Poling and lo and behold there were 2 moorings on the wreck! We picked up the stern end mooring, which posed a few challenges because the line was short and we couldn’t get the buoy up all the way. There was some current running, but it was fairly mild. Anyway, we managed to get the granny in the water and Dave and Dominique splashed.
The next groups of divers filed in and soon enough Dave and Dominique were back with a good visibility report – both reported visibility of “at least 40 feet, maybe more” and excellent bottom conditions. Dave said they could see the wreck from the 30 foot granny line weight, which means the visibility was definitely better than 40 feet. Anyway, with that, Matt and I began suiting up. Although we were approaching high tide, the current was picking up a bit on the surface. Dave had also mentioned that the surface visibility was becoming cloudy on his ascent. I was hoping we’d get that good vis. Anyway, we splashed and descended. It was becoming murky in the water column near the surface – I could just make out the wreck from the granny line ring at about 50 feet.
We continued down to the wreck where the visibility did indeed open up. How I wished I had my scooter… camera… haha. But I was looking forward to swimming around and enjoying the dive just the same. We headed out towards the break end. Dave and Dominique said there had been collapse on the deck near the break and I wanted to see this too. Indeed, the deck has collapsed in the area near the mooring. It has basically folded in and a diver can now access the oil hold from the deck. There have been a few other areas falling away and holes growing in size in the hull. With this rate of decay, I think the Poling is going to look pretty different in the next 2-3 years.
Anyway, we swam the whole the wreck and poked around the break. It would have been a perfect day to go to the Gannett but we stayed on the wreck. The water temperature is still pretty chilly too – my bottom timer said 41 and my Petrel said 39. I’ll call that “cold” in any case. When our bottom time was up at 32 minutes, we had a nice, easy ascent. We surfaced, pulled the lines and called it a day. Everyone was excited about the great dive and conditions, and headed over to the Anchor for a few cold ones after we got back. Dave and I, however, had to beat it for home to get into Boston for a Mother’s Day gathering. I love getting in a good dive before a family event – almost as good as sneaking in a dive ahead of storm!