After a week of turbulent weather with huge seas, there wasn’t much hope for good visibility this weekend. There was a slight threat of long period swells from the remnants of Hurricane Florence, but by and large, high pressure kept the storm away and our messy conditions were mostly due to our own crummy local weather. We decided to cancel Saturday since a deep dive in very poor visibility excited no one. We also decided to get some condition reports from those venturing out on Saturday to inform our decision for Sunday. These sorts of situations are such a struggle. Beautiful topside weather is misleading especially when you know a week of heavy seas has turned the water into chocolate milk.
We decided to run on Sunday since it sounded like conditions inshore on Cape Ann were not terrible. However, we also knew that wrecks on muddy bottoms are quite different than places like Burnham Rock, so I set my expectations low nevertheless. The morning brought heavy fog, which appeared to dissipate quickly as the sun came up. It was a beautiful day for sure. We loaded up with the group and before too long, departed the dock bound for the Herbert. We had a nice ride out–the seas had flattened out and there was not much wind. We arrived on the Herbert and picked up the mooring. Dave and Eric F suited up to splash first, followed by the others. I was diving with Tim and Matt today.
When Dave returned we got the grim news on visibility–3-5 feet. Ugh. At least I felt better about bagging a deep dive in these kinds of conditions. Dave even ran a reel, which we never do since we know this wreck so well. However, with divers less familiar with the wreck, these conditions make for too much of a trust me dive, so I too decided I’d run a reel since Matt had never been on the wreck before.
We suited up and splashed. Visibility in the water column was not bad, but it grew cloudy and murky as we descended. When I reached the float ball, the bottom was no where in sight. It was bad. Anyway, we got down and I located the bottom, tied off my reel. We headed aft and I ran the reel straight through the wreck to the very end where I tied it off. This allowed us to swim around the stern section and easily intercept a line if we got a little disoriented. We did this for awhile and then I pulled the reel and we headed back to the mooring point. We decided that was enough in those crummy conditions and headed up.
We surfaced, climbed aboard and enjoyed the beautiful topside conditions as we headed in. The weather patterns have been frustrating and low visibility is disappointing. Hopefully we get some decent visibility as fall arrives. We shall see!