Sunday, May 15, 2011

Season Opener 2011

To start of my Northeast wreck diving season I joined Atlantic Divers dive 30+ miles off Virginia Beach on two World War II liberty ships.  We arrived Saturday late afternoon/early evening and load our gear on the Miss Lindsey.  After a speedy run out on flat seas to the Luckenback, two other divers and I decided to do a night dive.  We were greeted on the bottom with numerous bugs running around and about 25-30' of vis.  After a nice twenty minutes on the bottom I put a hole in my new dry glove and it was time to head back to the anchor line.  The hang was pretty short and uneventful, even with my suit slowly flooding due to the 1" opening in my glove.

The next morning I woke up with the sun and
began getting my drysuit undergarments on.  The seas were motionless and I was eager to start diving.  My buddy Sanford and I were the first to splash on Sunday morning but soon after all the others were immersed in the flat calm seas exploring and photographing the Lillian Luckenback.  On this dive my plan was to swim as much as the wreck as I could and head back up to the boilers to scout any potential digging areas.  As we were tied in to the stern of the wreck, it was going to require some swimming to get to the bow.  I did not make it all the way to the bow, but did manage to grab another legal size lobster to add to my three the night before.

For the second dive we choose to stay on the Luckenback and John Copland deicide to follow me up to the boilers and blow some holes.  John managed to find a nice brass lever and I pulled up a single dog from a porthole.  After surfacing from our dive the crew on the Miss Lindsey had lunch waiting for us.  While munching on all the good eats from lunch the crew moved us over to the John Morgan.

This was new wreck number two for me in less then 24 hours and I heard great things about the Morgan.  My goal jumping in on this dive was to recover some ammunition and I did accomplish some stuff on this dive but not what I set out to.  I hit the wreck went about 15', caught a lobster, went another 15' and pulled up another lobster.  Then looking up from were I had just pulled out the second lobster I see a perfect circle in the middle of a steel hull plate.  I scraped the circle with my knife and I was greeted with a nice brass shine aka porthole.  Immediately grabbing my hammer I started knocking the steel away, which went well for about half of the perimeter of the porthole.  The steel started to be a PITA, so I tried bending the whole steel hull plate but no go.  After I little more maneuvering I was able to free the entire plate, attached a 200lb lift bag and shot it to the surface.  Then I swam my line back to the anchor line and started my ascent.

When I reached the surface the crew had secured my porthole to a safety line to keep it from falling back down to the depths.  My dive buddy Sanford had recovered an intact coffee mug but I had not realized until back on the dive boat.  All in all it was a great weekend of diving and great way to start off my Northeast dive season.

On board we were privileged to have world class photographer and author Brad Sheard as well as veteran diver Mike Boring.  Many thanks to the crew of the Miss Lindsey for their great job.

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