The Gulf Trade on November 9

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The top of the wreck, covered with mussels and surrounded by fish

Sunday we headed out to the stern of the Gulf Trade. The ship was a 430 ft tanker owned by (who else) Gulf Oil. When she was torpedoed in 1942, she broke in two. The stern section sank in 85 ft of water about 10 miles off Island Beach. The bow section floated closer to shore before sinking near Barnegat inlet. As a hazard to navigation, it was leveled.

The superstructure of the wreck still has about 20 ft of relief. Brandon tied us into the top making it an easy point of reference. On the top deck cunners, tog and sea bass swim in and out of the holes in the deck, nibbling at the mussels that grow there. A few feet away are two large boilers, still standing up the sea’s destructive forces.

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Mooring bits and scup

Once off the superstructure, the debris field stretches out over a wide area. Here small pieces of debris provide hiding places for lobster and fish. Still within the shadow of the wreck, a pair of large mooring bits stand upright in the sand. A large school of scup surrounded the area. The school prevented my camera from focusing on them.

Over by the boiler was another visitor from out of town. A butterfly fish darting around the wreck, looking very out of place. This is the third one I’ve seen in as many days of diving.

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Engine

Before long Brandon showed up and we started taking pictures of the large engine and boilers. Along with other bits and pieces of the wreckage that caught our eyes. A large trigger fish swam by but was not waiting for his picture. However, the dog fish that swam by a few minutes later came within a few inches of the lens.

With the great conditions, it was hard to end to dive. I just have to figure out how to bring the camera and the pole spear on the same dive. No task loading there!

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2 Responses to “The Gulf Trade on November 9”

  1. Dave O says:

    I’ve seen them on each dive this month.

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