Cave Diving, Cave Exploration and Cave Mapping in Yucatan, Mexico
Cains Australia and the local staples.

Category — Wreck Diving

1000 Islands Water Temperatures

As many of you know the NOAA buoys have be been removed from the Saint Lawrence Sea Way.  This decision by the government to save money has left an information vacuum around the river’s status.  Well, a friend of the river and the technical diving community, Andrew Driver, has stepped in to record and publish the water temperature along with river conditions.  He is making Saint Lawrence River water temperature data available through his web site http://www.bluefootdiving.com.

Blue Foot Diving offers technical dive training and guided diving through the summer and into the fall from Alexandria Bay.  Andrew Driver is one of the most experienced instructors in the area and has the resources to manage the logistics for almost any group.  Blue Foot Diving offers shore diving, wreck diving, trimix diving and instruction from Alexandria Bay.

I did my training with Andrew and dive with him at least once a month in the spring, summer and fall.   One of my favorite aspects of diving with him is the speed of the dive boat.  We are able to get on station quickly and back for lunch quickly.  The groups are always very small and the diving is customized for the group.  He is committed to having fun while maintaining the safety of the group.

Hopefully, I will see you up there and we can do some diving together.

June 24, 2010   Comments Off on 1000 Islands Water Temperatures

Dive Report: Wreck of the Carolina

On Tuesday morning, 3:00 AM, August 11, 2009 the dive boat Gypsy Blood , skippered by Capt. Jim Wilson, left the Brielle Boat Basin in Brielle, NJ, for the 4 ½ hour run to the final resting place of the steamship S.S. Carolina. The S.S. Carolina was the last of 6 ships all sunk on Sunday, June 2, 1918, by the German U-boat U-151. The date has come to be known as “Black Sunday” and claimed the American ships:

  1. schooner Isabel B. Wiley, 776 tons – bombed, 7:50 AM
  2. freighter Winneconne, 1869 tons – bombed, 9:12 AM
  3. schooner Jacob M. Haskell, 1798 tons – bombed, 12:00 AM
  4. schooner Edward H. Cole, 1791 tons – bombed, 4:00 PM
  5. freighter Texel, 3220 tons – bombed, 5:20 PM
  6. passenger liner Carolina, 5017 tons – shelled, 7:20 PM

All 6 of these wrecks have been located over the years and they all lie within 6 to 10 miles of each other.

We left the dock on a sweltering evening following a very hot day that saw temperatures in the low 90’s with high humidity. As we left Manasquan Inlet we were greeted by a light south westerly breeze and 2 to 3 foot seas. The 6 divers aboard settled into their bunks to get some sleep. This would be the first dive on this particular wreck for all 6 of them. By 7:30 AM we were over the wreck site approximately 80 miles south east of the inlet and 65 miles off of Atlantic City, NJ, in 240 feet of water. The crew quickly located and tied into the wreck and we were ready to dive by 8:30 AM.

The first divers in the water were 3 men who made the trip from Mesa, Arizona for a week of diving “Wreck Valley”. Two were using Megalodon rebreathers and the 3rd was employing a Kiss. I was diving open circuit trimix. I had Tmx 17/45 as my bottom gas in a set of double steel 120 cu.ft tanks. I was using EAN 28 and 70 as my deco gases in steel 45 cu ft tanks slung from my chest. I splashed at 8:36 AM and began my decent down the anchor line. The visibility was excellent all the way down, being that we were in the deep blue waters of the open ocean. The temperature however began to decline from a pleasant 70 degrees at the surface to a chilly 46 degrees at the bottom 240 feet below. At about 200 feet the wreck started to come into view and I quickly realized that we were tied in right in the middle of the ship’s 4 massive boilers, which are the most prominent remains of the vessel. This was good news as it would make navigating the wreck that much easier. The rest of the wreck is a collapsed debris field, although the stern is still recognizable. I cruised in between the massive boilers at 230 feet and then moved toward the stern where I had been told there was still a good chance of finding recoverable artifacts. The vis was excellent at 35 to 40 feet. I could see the glow of the dive lights of the other divers all around me giving the scene a surreal quality. This was my first deep dive of the season and that, combined with the excitement of making my first dive on this wreck, was negatively affecting my gas consumption rate. I needed to relax. Also, there was a bit of a current if you allowed yourself to come up off the wreck. I saw several very large lobsters but I’ve never been much of a bug hunter so I passed them by. I found a spot towards the stern and began digging in the silt and sand. I quickly started to find pieces of brass piping and shards of broken pottery. I was hoping to find some intact pieces of china with the ship’s distinctive “New York to Porto Rico” logo on it. Unfortunately, this was not to be the case.

I made another pass through the 4 massive boilers and easily located the anchor line, right on schedule for my planned 20 minutes of bottom time. I began my ascent and upon reaching 150 feet I made the switch to my EAN 28 deco gas. I settled in to the task of completing the 47 minutes of decompression I had ahead of me. All went smoothly except for a bit of a bounce on the anchorline as the Gypsy Blood above us danced on the waves. I deployed my Jon-line to make my hang a bit more comfortable and efficient. I completed an uneventful deco and climbed back aboard perfectly on my 67th minute of runtime, as planned. Once all divers were back on board we saw that one of us had struck the mother lode and returned with a goodie bag full of china plates, saucers, and even a delicate tea cup, all intact. Ironically, it turned out that I had been searching only about 20 feet away from where these pieces were found. Oh well, better luck next time.

At this point Capt Jim fired up the barbecue and we chowed down on sausages and hamburgers as we watched a pod of Mahi-mahi swimming under the boat. I had only planned one dive for the day, so my diving was over. I spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing as the 3 divers from Mesa completed a 2nd dive. The day just got better as the wind calmed and the seas dropped to 1 foot or below. At 3:00 PM we cut loose from the wreck and began the 4 ½ hour run back home. We had a great smooth ride back and reflected on the satisfaction of making our first dives on this historic wreck, The Gypsy is planning another trip to this wreck in 1 month. I think I just might have to be on it.

August 13, 2009   4 Comments

Graf Zeppelin Trip Report from the Unified Team Diving Guys

I don’t have a lot of time tonight to write, but I thought you would be interested in reading about a diving expidition to the Graf Zeppelin. The Graf Zeppelin was Germany’s only aircraft carrier during World War II.   It is located about 40 miles off shore in about 250ft of water.  The Unified Team Diving guys organized an awesome expidition in Poland.    The dive vessel is 200ft long and is equiped with a huge deck, hyperbaric chamber and crane.   I suggest checking out the link, the photos and story are awesome.  I am so jealous.

May 22, 2009   Comments Off on Graf Zeppelin Trip Report from the Unified Team Diving Guys

Hydro Atlantic and Lowrance Wrecks.

On Sunday, I flew up to Florida for a little diving vacation.  Andrew Driver had put together a wreck diving trip with plans to dive the Hydro Atlantic, Lowrance and the RB Johnson.  And if the team jelled nicely, we might get to dive some more interesting wrecks.  The cast of characters would include Eric Goldstein, Jim Moore and me.  Luckily, we all arrived on time with all our gear undamaged.  We would be diving on the Avid Diver captained by Oliver.

The first challenge was re-assembling my rebreather and finding the right amount of weight for saltwater and a bit more underwear then I would wear in Florida.  After some struggling to find the requisite lead, the rebreather came together.  The only other challenge was that there were no tanks with the valves in the correct position to de-invert the tanks.  So, once again I had to change my configuration and go valves down.  I find traveling with the rebreather very frustrating.   I loath changing my configuration, especially when I spent so much time dialing the unit in Mexico.  The addition of the weight for saltwater and the changing of the tanks really throws the whole thing out of balance and kills my trim.  I think when I go back to Mexico, I am going to return  to diving with inverted tanks and figure out how to balance the unit that way.  I need to find a way to mitigate this frustration and time spent changing my configuration around based on my location.  Enough of that, now on to the diving.

On Monday, we visited the Hydro Atlantic.  The Hydro Atlantic sits in 170ft of water.  It is a real wreck, not an artificial reef.  It was originally a cable laying ship.

The plan was to hot drop on the wreck.  It would be the first time that either Eric or I had done a hot drop and the current was really ripping.  The first attempt we missed the wreck. Visibility was about 25ft, I think we may have just drifted by the wreck as it lies south/north and the same direction of the current.  We surfaced and starting looking for the solo diver that went ahead of us. We he turned up we retrieved him.  Once we had him in the boat, we made a second drop and did a 25min BT.  It was a very cool dive.  RT was about 50 minutes.  Our max depth was 160ft on the second dive.

Today, the forecast was calling for 5-7 and building.  We elected to head out and try for the Lowrance.  It was questionable when we arrived, there were some 5-6 rollers though the chop wasn’t too bad.  After some discussion, we decided to dive but curtail our bottom time.

We hot dropped and landed right on the wreck, it was an awesome experience!  I felt like we really had done something pretty cool.  We did about 25min on the wreck.  Run time was about 70minutes.  Our max depth was 190ft.  We had planned on 40min but curtailed it due to weather.  The big bonus was the big, 5-6ft tall, sun fish hanging out on the wheel house at 140ft.  We were 2-3 feet away and he was just hanging out.  The deco went smoothly, Jim sent the bag.  The three of us hovered around him.  When we got out the seas had built a little, but not to anything unmanageable.

I guess that is all for today.  Tomorrow, we are planning to dive the Lowrance again.  I am looking forward to another dive on the wreck.

February 17, 2009   2 Comments

Wreck Diving and The Pit

Hello trusty readers!  This week I find myself in South Florida with Andrew Driver of Blue Foot Diving.  I am here for 5 days of wreck diving.   In about 20 minutes we will be leaving for the Lowarance.  It is in about 170ft of water.   The plan is to do a hot drop, swim around the wreck for 40 minutes and then deco out in the drift.  I think it is going to be a very cool dive.  I will write more about it later today.

In the mean time, while you are at work slaving away, enjoy this video by Pietro.  Pietro is a fabulous videographer and photographer in Playa del Carmen.  He is also a super nice guy!  The video is of a dive upstream from The Pit at Dos Ojos.  I think you might find the shots of the road and the gear setup interesting.  It think it provides a little perspective on the logistical challenges of diving at The Pit.  In any event, enjoy it is worth while!

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

February 16, 2009   1 Comment

Down Too Long Blog Launched.

Finally a post that is relevant to diving!  One of my favorite blogs, Down Too Long, has been redesigned and relaunched.  Brandon, the author, is a mate on the Independence II, a Meg diver, photographer and execellent diver.  You should go and check out the redesigned blog.  The photos are excellent and he does enough diving to entertain those of us who long for a nice cave dive.

The new blog can be found at: http://downtoolong.com.

And while I am pimping other people’s sites, Patrick and I both found Nick Toussaint’s site, http://www.nick-toussaint.com, a worthwhile read.  Those guys are doing some big dives in some cold water.

October 14, 2008   3 Comments

The Trimix Odyssey

Becoming a Trimix Rebreather Diver with Andrew Driver of Blue Foot Diving

On May 17, 2003, I was certified as an Advanced Open Water diver.  The following Christmas I got “The Last Dive” from my in-laws and I read it cover to cover on Christmas day.  My in-laws thought I was nuts, maybe I am.  I purchased every narrative I could find on deep diving.  Each story deepened my interest; the characters and the dives captured my imagination.  Allie noticed all the books and asked me if I was interested in diving the Andrea Doria?  She wanted to know where this was going.  I admitted was and I estimated it would take me five years to reach the that level.

When I made the decision to pursue deep diving, I had a couple of principles in mind:

  • Be safe and take it slow.
  • Maintain a positive mental attitude.
  • Be young enough to be fit to not hazard my health.
  • Do it using a rebreather.
  • Seek the best instruction possible from a range of instructors.
  • Ensure my wife understands what I was doing and the risks involved.
  • Surround myself with people who would guide me and help to pace me.

Five years later, I have executed just shy of 500 safe dives. 350 of those dives have been technical dives, either North East Wreck Diving or Cave Diving.  Eighty of those dives have been with my Megalodon rebreather.   In January, I moved to Mexico for diving. I started running 3.5 miles three times a week and going to the gym.  And I have continually sought training from some of the top instructor in the world.  All this culminated in a trip to the United States to take my Rebreather Trimix Diver course with Andrew Diver of Blue Foot Diving.

Book One.  Incomplete Normoxic Trimix.

Completing the CCR (Rebreather) Trimix course has been an odyssey.  In fall of 2007 I met Joe Z., Fabrice, Eric Goldstein and Andrew in Alexandria Bay.  Our plan was to do some DPV diving and start the Normoxic Rebreather Trimix course.  I started class with 50 hours on my Meg.  We did a handful of Normoxic Trimix dives and lots of drills: High PO2, Low PO2, Solenoid Stuck Open, and deploying a lift bag.  We had a ton of fun and laughed a lot.  We visited the Islander, the America, the Key Storm, the Vickery and the bow of the Jodrey.  Max depth on that trip was 197ffw.  Of course we got to spend time with Mo Hunt.  Mo is a local legend who has been diving for 55 years.  They were all awesome dives and I learned a ton.  Hanging around with people like Eric, Joe Z. and Fabrice is amazing.

Andrew’s style of teaching is to teach as you do.  Consequently, most of the lessons are very practical and are derived straight from experience.  He has two philosophies that really struck me, I am paraphrasing:

“People come to dive not sit in a classroom.  So, I get them out diving as fast as possible.  It gives me a chance to assess where they are at and it gives them a chance to dive.  It helps me to structure the course and helps to focus on the student’s needs.”

“If the basics are solid, the rest will follow.  With a solid grasp of the basics, situations which might have posed a substantial hazard will become second nature to identify, troubleshoot and resolve.”

These ideas are reflected in his teaching methods.  The three times I have been to Alex Bay, as the locals call it; we dived on the first day.  We hit the water, did some basic drills and started the process of getting comfortable.  I could see Andrew watching us as we did the drills; his debriefs were short and never belittling.  On the days that I looked like a spasm in the water, he told me I looked like a spasm.  We would laugh a little and then talk about what I could do better and how I could develop processes to deal with each task.  On the days I did what I was told, he didn’t tell me I look like a spasm.  I guess part of his British nature is not to celebrate when you do what you are told.   We spent a lot of time on the basics and by nailing them, the rest of the diving became easier.

Unfortunately, we didn’t plan to finish the class that weekend.  I walked away certified; which was fine, because the rest of that fall I didn’t do any diving.  Work had gotten out of control and I was preparing for my move.  I wanted to put some more medium depth dives together before moving on.

Book Two: False Starts

Before moving to Mexico, I met a fellow name Patrick Widmann.  Patrick is skinny (way skinny), a cave instructor, a deep diver, my mentor, my dive buddy and the motivating force!  Once I arrived, I learned Patrick had designs on exploring The Pit.  If you are a regular reader of this blog you will have seen his posts.  One day Patrick and I got to talking and he told me about his plans.  I thought they sounded interesting and wanted to participate.  The problem was that I was not Trimix certified and I only planned to be in Mexico for one year.  I needed a solution for both.  I went home and declared to Allie, “We need to stay for two years at minimum.  I want to explore The Pit and I estimate it would take me year to work up to it.”  Luckily, Allie agreed.

I was anxious to complete my Hypoxic Trimix Rebreather Course.  As luck would have it, there are not many instructors who are qualified to teach it on the Yucatan.  To be exact there is one, Steve Bogaerts.  Luckily, Steve is already my instructor so we scheduled the course for the end of July.  Steve did a lot of the deep exploration at The Pit on double redundant Inspiration rebreathers; I thought his practical experience made him an excellent candidate.

July started with my parents in town for 10 days.  The trip was stressful, my bed frame broke and my back went out in a BIG way.  It required acupuncture and three shots in the ass.  We elected to cancel the course because we agreed it would be a terrible idea to do deep mix diving with an inflamed back.  I guess that is where the health hazard principle comes in.  I was totally bummed, because Patrick and I had a bunch of dives to do during low season and I lost my chance to get qualified.  Luckily, Patrick and I were able to work around it and he made significant progress.

Book Three.  Don’t Change Your Configuration.

As the gods would have it, my back didn’t get better for a couple of weeks.   When we attempted to reschedule my Trimix class in September, it conflicted with the arrival of Steve’s new baby.  The next opportunity wouldn’t be until October.

I couldn’t wait any longer!  Fortunately, I had a wedding the first week in September in NJ.  I contacted Andrew and asked if he could arrange a course.  Bingo!  Andrew put a course together for three of us.  With some skepticism I packed the Megalodon in my hand luggage and a 120lbs worth of dive gear and cloths in my checked luggage and headed for the states.  Luckily, I am a frequent flier and was allowed more then one heavy bag.  I got home with zero charges or difficulties.  The only real challenge was at security in Cancun.  They closely examined the Meg, but let it pass.  Promptly, I removed the red and yellow warning labels.

When I went to my storage unit in NJ to fetch my dry suit, I discovered the neck seal had melted and the edge was dry rotted.  I put some duct tape on the seal and used it the whole week.  Amazingly, it was dry and didn’t rip.  I am eternally grateful.

When I arrived at Andrew’s house, I learned the third man had bailed out.  It was down to two of us.  Andrew loaned me some steel tanks.  I decided to invert my tanks this time.  I thought it would be easier to reach the valves, normally I dive de-inverted.  This was the first mistake, changing my gear configuration.

We went for a shore dive on the Islander.  I was super wonky!  I hadn’t been in a dry suit for more then a year and it showed.  I was over weighted and out of trim.  My feet were down and I looked like a stroke!  Luckily, I survived.  We finished the dive and my classmate quit; he hit his limit.  This was his second attempt at Hypoxic and he just didn’t have the juice.  Andrew and I did another dive and that ended day one.

Day two arrived and Eric Goldstein showed up.  I was grateful to see him.  I really like diving with Eric because he is an excellent diver, very knowledgeable and funny.  We planned to go out on the boat, but with so few people it didn’t make economic sense.   We did another shore dive, this time to 140ffw.  This dive Andrew gave me two Al80’s to manage, which shouldn’t have been an issue.  I was closer to trim head to toe, but my lateral trim was shit.  Normally, I side mount my tanks balancing them.  I decided to emulate Andrew and Eric and wear them on the left.  This was the second big mistake.

I know what works for me, but I elected to do something different.  I assumed I could adapt.  That was a lapse in judgment and the dive was shit.  There was a decent current and we had to pull and glide.  My gloves had holes in them and my fingers got sliced to shreds.  I could see the blood in the water.  Plus, I was swimming with a 45 degree list.  I looked like a COMPLE STROKE.  It took me until the next dive to sort out my lateral trim.  I needed to make changes in the placement of weight and the way I clipped the tanks in.  I was still over weighted.  Luckily, I get through all the skills.

For the next two days we dove the Jodrey.  There was a lot of drilling on High PO2, Low PO2 and bailing out.  We completed a partial ascent off the loop.  I spent a lot time on my Golem BOV, and I convinced.  I didn’t notice any WOB issues on it at 220ffw. Throughout class, I tried the drills in a couple of ways: faster, slower, and blundered.  The conclusion was that I need to take my time when I perform the drills and think it through.  I had a tendency to go on autopilot and do the flush too fast.  I need to spend more time verifying the cells.

The last day was spent in the class room talking about gas selection and other technical issues.  Andrew’s lectures are factual and to the point.  As a bonus, I had examples from The Pit.  Andrew and I worked through the gas selections and the deciding factors.

The course was challenging and a lot of fun.  I learned a substantial amount and I got a chance to tune up my skills again.  Upon reflection, I would have liked to have had a day or two more in my dry suit diving before starting class.  It would have given me an opportunity to perfect my trim and buoyancy, thereby allowing me to concentrate on the skills rather then basic issues.  The expectation is buoyancy and trim should be in the bag on arrival, however, the change in environment really through me for a loop.

I should have stuck to a configuration that was similar to the one I use in Mexico; even if I had to explain it to the team.  The addition of the dry suit, the tanks on the left and the inverted tanks added a noticeable level of task loading, which robbed me of cycles to use on performing the tasks on the dives.  The lesson is, don’t change things before class! I should have learned that lesson already.  Ironically, I had a similar issue during my Advanced Sidemount Course.  I got a new 9MM wet suit the day before class and it killed my buoyancy and trim, creating a terrible problem on the first day of class.

The joy is in the journey.  The truth is that the experience of diving and spending time with friends is so much more fulfilling then getting a Trimix Card.  I am glad I passed, it is important to me to do well.  But more important is the opportunity to dive with people I like.  People I can share the joy with.  Diving is a supremely social activity for me.  I like to solo dive, but I really like to dive with a good buddy.   Luckily, I have that buddy and we have some big dives planned.  In the coming months I look forward to opportunity to put my training to use as we dive The Pit, The Blue Abyss, the cenotes near Merida and the local walls.  I will keep you in the loop.

September 24, 2008   6 Comments

I am a Trimix CCR Diver.

Well, it is official! I received my certification in the mail today from IANTD! I am now a CCR Trimix Diver qualified to 330FSW. I finished my class on Friday last week. I got a 48/50 and a 49/50 on my written examinations. I was bummed, I would have gotten a 50 on the Hypoxic test but I transposed a number in one calculation. I did it right except for the simple math error. Dur!

The only down side to class was that I came away from it sick. I have some sort of strange head/chest cold. Fortunately, it is resolving. However, it is now being replaced by an ear infection on the right side. I am pretty sure I just got too run down last week and I am paying the price now.

Jose, the cable is just off the bow of the Islander. We did a 109 minute dive with a max depth of 134ffw. I was told you can find 140 out there.

We didn’t go all the way to Canada. I believe Bonnie Castle and the islands around it are still in the US. However, Andrew and Eric are planning on scootering the cable and surfacing on the other side to confirm where it ends.

Now on to the question, “Whats down there?” Well, lots and lots and lots of snail shells and current. If you do this dive, have full fingered gloves with no holes in the fingers! The shells sliced my fingers apart and I have been suffering all week. There are also bottles, and I would bet if you swim off the cable, you can find some cool ones. Eric did on our dive.

I am glad I don’t have to ice dive anymore! It is too cold and miserable. Living in Mexico means I get to dive in 77f water everyday if I like. And the truth is, that is what I like.

I miss wreck diving, but not enough to be really really cold all the time.

Keep your eyes peeled, I will be writing about my Trimix CCR training with Andrew Driver from Blue Foot Diving. It was a serious challenge and I am glad I got to do it.

September 15, 2008   Comments Off on I am a Trimix CCR Diver.

Trimix class is underway.

bonnie-castle-ship-sm.jpg

I finally made it into a Hypoxic CCR Trimix class! I am totally stoked. On Sunday, I went to a wedding. I got into bed around 2AM. Two and a half hours later, I got up and drove 6 hours up to Alexandria Bay, NY USA to meet with Andrew Driver and two other students. We were scheduled to start class around noon. When I arrived I found out one of the divers had already bailed. So it was down to two.

That afternoon we scheduled a dive. I hadn’t been in my dry suit in almost a year and I had to get situated. We made a dive on the Islander. It went ok.  I was completely wonky.  My trim was horrible and my weighting was out of wack.   I just didn’t account for how different it would be in my dry suit and thick underwear.  I should have known consdiering that fact that I had spent three years diving with a dry suit and thick undies.

After that dive the other student dropped out of the course. This was his second attempt at this class and he came to the reality that he just didn’t have it. So he made the right decision and walked away. So that left me alone! The sole focus of Andrew’s ever watchful eye.  Luckily,  a friend of ours, Eric Goldstien, came down from Canada to join us.  Eric is a super great guy and a fabolous diver.  He is great to take the piss out of and a lot of fun to spend time with.  So we had a team of three, Andrew, Eric and me.

As of this writing, we have made three dives on the Jodrey and one across the channel following an undersea cable.  The dives have been getting progressively better. I really strugled on the first two dives, while I looked for my trim and bouyancy.  The last two dives have been pretty good.

I think that is all I will tell you for now.  I will do a full write up when I get home.  Here are some photos for your enjoyment!

September 10, 2008   8 Comments

Wreck of the Stolt Dagali

Every once in a while I get nostalgic for wreck diving.  I have been trying to organize a trip to the Puerto Morelos wreck for weeks and no one wants to go with me.

I learned to technical dive by diving the wrecks off of New Jersey.   If you haven’t dove the North East, by which I mean Long Island and New Jersey, you are really missing out.  Let me describe some of the finer facets of wreck diving in the North East:

  • Get up at 3:30AM to drive 1.5-2 hours to the boat followed by a 1.5-2 hour boat ride to the wreck.  50% of the time I find out the trip is called at the dock, 25% of the time divert to tug or the Mohawk in 50ft of water, 25% get to the planned dive site.
  • Heavy seas make me sea sick.  I am chronically sea sick.  I have been since I was a mate on my Dad’s offshore boat.  One summer, I went to Gloucester, Mass to chase giant tuna.  All I was able to chase for a month was my ass to the gunnel.   Now, I take Dramamine and live with medicine head.  I have  a pretty good solution, one the night before and half of one in the morning.  Controls the sickness and the medicine head.
  •  Pull on drysuit with enough under-garments for a two hour dive in 54’F water while sitting in the 90’F summer sun.  Forget to attach the pee valve correctly.  Bath in my own sweat before I get off the boat.
  • Roll off the boat into a heaving sea.  Drag myself down the anchor and only realize I am on the wreck when my hand touches it.  Navigate like a blind guy in the muck for 2 hours looking for 2 lobsters I don’t eat.  Bag em and give em away.
  • On the ride home help Rob Infante shell a couple of dozen scallops.  Sleep for a while.  Start to plan next week’s expition.
  • Upon arrival, drive 2 hours in the hot traffic home.  Rise my Meg in a 33 gallon garbage pail.  Dry the gear on the lawn and in the yard.  Spend the next two days recovering.
  • Calculate the cost for the weekend:  $50 Car Fuel, $125 Boat, $20 Tip, $10Food, Plus Rebreather Costs.
  • Schedule it again for the next weekend.

And just for comparison, typical day of cave diving:

  • Stop working at 2PM and assemble/pack Meglodon or side-mount gear.
  • Dive 25-40 minutes to  dive site.
  • Pay $8.00 USD to land manager.
  • Pull on wet suit and pee in it.
  • Dive for 2-3 hours.
  • Drive to Puerto Aventarous and buy a Magna Classic ice cream bar.  They have the best chocolate shell.
  • Arrive home and dump scrubber, clean loop, and deposit dive gear in the living room to dry.  It all lives in a laundry basket from Walmart.
  • Calculate costs: $10USD Fuel, $8USD Entrance, $1USD Icecream, plus rebreath costs.
  • Schedule it again for the next day.

Even with all the insanity of wreck diving, I still love it.  And if I lived in NJ, I would be going almost every weekend year round!  I am one of those crazy guys who goes out in Decemeber, January and February.

My favorite wreck is the USS San Diego.  I can spend hours inside that wreck.  I think my second favorite is the USS Algol and third might be the Northern Pacific.  Unfortunately, I only got on the Northern once, but it looks like it offers tons of opportunities.  I know this is a cave diving blog, however, I think most of us have a soft spot for some challenging wreck diving.  Which brings me to the reason for this post.  My friend Brandon recently got a new camera and published a very nice dive report of a dive on the Stolt Dagali.   A very cool wreck that is just a couple of miles from the USS Algol.  His photos really fired my nostalgia.   And from my recount, I am sure you can see why I misss it!

Your turn:

  • Do you wreck dive?
  • What is it like for you?
  • What is your favorite wreck?
  • What boat do you dive from?
  • Know any wrecks here in the Yucatan I can go dive?  Must be something out there!

July 10, 2008   7 Comments