Back in the Saddle Again

"Better than predicted," that's how I'd characterize today.  We were expecting more downpours and only got drizzle, drips, and mist and a little cooler air.  Makes you wet, but doesn't cause you to sweat inside your foul weather gear, like yesterday did.

We had only one customer, Joe.  He wanted to practice catching lobsters since he'd just recently got his license.  We'd already driven around looking for a good dive site and decided to go south again.  The trip started for Bemo Ledge, but conditions looked bumpy there.  We cut west and headed to Manchester-by-the-Sea.

Coolidge Point has Saddle Rock as its southwesternmost feature.  The rock is awash at high tide with deeper water right next to it.  We anchored at 42 degrees 34.292' north and 70 degrees 43.729' west, right at the base of the shear wall next to Saddle Rock.  The tide was still coming in.

Pete and Joe went lobstering while The Captain (temporarily in his Mares semi-dry suit until his dry suit seals are repaired) and I videoed invading species for the Salem Sound Coastwatch report.  Pat minded the boat because her ear wasn't clearing very well. 

I saw beds of compound sea squirt (Diplosoma listerianum), orange and red sheath tunicate (Botrylloides violaceus), and green fleece (Codium fragile ssp. tomentosoides).  We videoed them all.

I also saw a moon snail eating (or smothering?) a razor clam.  The bottom was at about 35 feet and we got cold after about 25 minutes.

Our second dive was on the deep wall at Kettle because we could look over to it from Saddle.  The dive site looked calm and, with high tide, we hoped the visibility would be as good as the 15 feet we had at our first site.

The anchoring was easy at 42 degrees 33.973' north and 70 degrees 43.423' west.  Pete and Joe took off again on a lobster hunt.  I wanted to finish off the tank I'd started, so I just dropped down the anchor line into 55 feet of water and hung out.  A very curious cunner cavorted in front of my video camera as though he thought I might feed him.  His reddish, coppery color was clear and bright.  So was his white chin.  Only his snaggle teeth looked dull, off-white.

I found more compound sea squirts and small patches of orange sheath tunicates.  It was a good dive and the drizzle only kicked in heavily once or twice while we waited for Pete and Joe to return. 

Because the weather forecast had been so specific, there was no one out and the ocean was extremely calm.  No waves from passing powerboats.  Just the way I like it.

We powered back to the harbor and Matt opened the bridge for just us.  Even though it is Gloucester's Fiesta weekend, masses of powerboats were not out.

We had fun.

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