Archive for May, 2008

May 25 trip to the Oil Wreck on the Indendence II

Sunday, May 25th, 2008

Sunday’s trip was an open boat to the Oil Wreck.  As one of the mud hole wrecks, the conditions can vary radically, and are often challenging.  Today an intrepid group of divers gathered for the trip aboard the Independence II.   We headed out under ideal conditions on lake Atlantic.  There was just enough breeze to keep from overheating while gearing up, but not enough to produce any significant wave action.
The conditions were ideal with 45 deg on the bottom, 48 on deco, and 55 on the surface.  Vis varied from 5 ft at the surface to 50 ft below 50 ft, and 10-20 ft  on the wreck.  With these conditions it was a great day of diving.  We tied in by the aft mast, next to the gun tub.   Everyone reported having a great dive under these conditions.

May 24 trip to the Gulf Trade on the Independence II

Saturday, May 24th, 2008

Saturday on the Gulf Trade we had calm conditions and good vis.

Most of the divers showed up early, ready for a great day. There was more of a breeze than expected, but the conditions were ideal, and by the time we headed home the ocean was mirror calm. Many good size lobsters came up along with seabass and one large monkfish.

Bill tied us into to a large piece of the wreck, and the rest of the divers were in quickly. The bottom temp was 48 and the surface 55. These were very comfortable conditions with visibility on the bottom at 20+. As this wreck is further south than most, many of the divers were on it for the first time.

The wreck consists of a large piece of the super structure, then a large debris field off to one side (the effects of wire dragging). The debris gives marine life lots of places to hide. I jumped in after Frankie, and ran into him on the bottom. As I was running a reel, he stayed with me, and we proceeded to investigate each nook and cranny for lobster. We coaxed a few out, but the bigger ones had large deep holes to hide in. We tag teamed a couple to no avail. While looking under the deck plates, we did see some large seabass hiding away.

The wreck has flattened out over the last couple of years. The superstructure used to stand up well off the bottom. Now it is not quite as prominent. However, the marine life is significant. On the second dive, I was on a mission to get a few seabass for dinner. I jumped well armed, and headed off in the direction of the hull plates were we saw them on the first dive. Instead of finding them still hiding, they were all out and about swimming in large schools. Now and then there were some large tog passing by laughing at the fact that they were not in season. Fluke were now in season, and I was keeping an eye out for them also.

After getting a few seabass, I noticed a shape in the sand off in the distance. Hoping for Fluke I headed over only to discover a large Monkfish. After a pass to size up the creature, I circled around again for a frontal assault. Soon the large creature was in my bag, and my bottom time was out. Dinner last night was a very tasty Monkfish chowder.

It was a great group of divers and a great day to be out!

Stolt Dagali, Independence II, May 17, 2008

Saturday, May 17th, 2008

Saturday the Independence II headed out to the Stolt. The ride out was a little rough, but the forecast was calling for the wind and waves to calm down, and then pick up again latter in the day. With the wind behind us, it was not a real issue. The report came up from wreck that there was 30 ft of vis, and large Flounder covering the bottom. Most of the divers were already in the water, but unfortunately their spear guns were still on the deck. By the time they returned the wind had dropped off, and the white caps were gone.

A couple lobster came up on the first dive, and a few scallops. Dive two was much more productive with more lobster, seabass, flounder, and a few dozen scallops.

On a personal note, I finally got into the water just for the fun of it. Most of the winter I’ve spent in training, or training others. My other dives have been blown out. I hit the water after the other divers were up. Most of the lobsters I saw were on the small side. The flounder were everywhere on the bottom. Some were so big you had to look twice to make sure they were not fluke. I was more content to poke around on the inside of the wreck. The vis here was still good, and I wanted to check out my new 35 watt HID. It did a great job, even though the wreck now has enough holes for light to penetrate.

As I was ascending over the hull of the ship, I noticed a huge claw laying among the anemones. On closer inspection, there was a hole in the wreck just big enough for this monster claw to fit through. The body of the beast was much too large to fit through. There was no other access to the inside anywhere in sight. I’m not sure if this monster was just torturing us, or if he was trying to get out, but apparently the bigger lobsters are inside the wreck. After a few moments of searching for access, I gave up and continued up for my deco. With the bottom around 48 and the surface around 50, the dive was quite comfortable. On the surface the conditions were down to 2-4 ft which made for a comfortable ride home.