Balaena, Independence II, June 18, 2005

Trip Report Balaena, June 18

What a great day to dive! Riding the Independence II we reached the wreck in no time. Coming out of the inlet there were 2-3ft waves, but by the time we hit the wreck, the surface was nearly flat. There was perhaps a 5 kt wind, and the waves were less than one ft. Skies were clear, allowing lots of light onto the wreck. Captains Dan and Jay kept adding up surcharges as time went by ( flat seas, clear skies, clear water… )

This was a shallow Trimix training dive for four of us, with some friends along. (Yes, we’ve all done one on air.) Our instructors, Corey and Lee, gave us last minutes instructions, and we split up into teams. Gene was on board sharing some great sea stories, as well as history on many or the wrecks in the area. He set the hook as the rest of us suited up.

Bill and I went in last giving us lots of room to gear up. By the time we went in there were divers hanging on the line. The vis today was around 30 ft. which is incredible for the mud hole. Winter flounder were all over, unfortunately they are out of season. There were a few seabass, and tog. Eel pouts were in every crevice. There were a few lobster, but they were safe from me (I’m not good at getting them). Dave and Joe did get some lobster. The bottom was 48 degrees which continued up to about 50 ft. The real change in temp was at the 20 ft stop. This made the intermediate stops a little cold on mix. Hitting 20ft and 60 deg water was quite a relief.

During the surface interval Cptn Dan fired up the new grill. Both hot and sweet sausage sandwiches. There was talk of throwing one of the lobsters on the grill, but no one volunteered their catch. Jay came back from his dive with reports of sharks on the hang line. There we had two more surcharges, shark sighting, and grilling. This was setting up to be an expensive trip!

Rolling in on the second dive, there were a few dog fish under the boat checking out the hanging divers. On the bottom, there was a large Monkfish caught in a net right under the anchor. While I was tempted to grab him, I was not sure what the boat’s policy was on them. (Some boats do not want them aboard do to the slime.) Dog fish stayed at the edge of vis as we swam around. Again flounder and eel pout were everywhere. There were a few nice Pollock, but I did not bring my spear. Corey came up with a lobster on this dive and a large piece of drift wood with a brass spike.

Headed back in, the racks filled up quickly. I think Lee was out before the engines started. We were quickly back at the dock logging yet another great dive.

Thanks all for a great day !!!!

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