Stone Garage and Bemo Ledge

What glorious weather!  Sunny, breezy, no fog, just perfect.  We left the marina a little early to go south with a full charter.  Pat and Karen Hatcher, Jim Castelli, Richard Brandolini, Paul Comerford and Alice were ready to go lobstering and sight-seeing – heavy on the lobstering.  We turned the corner at the Dog Bar Breakwater and didn’t encounter the conditions that had turned us back in the past.  Clear sailing along the coast northward past Brace Cove to Stone Garage.  It is 42 degrees 40.768′ north and 70 degrees 37.252′ west.

The divers suited up quickly because there was almost no breeze and full sun.  Looking down from the bridge, I could see Peter on the bottom, checking the anchor.  He reported that there was about 30 feet of visibility.  That’s wonderfull and unusual.  Everyone jumped in to see for themselves.

The downside was that the water was cold.  50 degrees on the bottom.  The site has lots of boulders and crevasses to explore, plus sea ravens and pollack.  Pat reported lots of Didemnum – the pancake batter stuff we’re tracking for Salem Sound Coastwatch – on the sides of rocks.  Not much kelp.  Good lobster country.

After about 45 minutes, everyone was up and ready to try another good lobster site with similar clear water, if possible.  I decided to move closer to Bemo Ledge in the hopes of finding just such conditions.  The tide was low and turning.

We anchored quickly and no one wanted to be last.  Then all the lobsters would have been caught by others.  I jumped in with a full tank and videoed Pat and Karen Hatcher with Salem Sound Coastwatch prompt cards searching for the non-native species on them.  There may be credits for them in the final film.

Pete and Richard buddied again and had a strange encounter with an ocean pout.  As Pete gently lifted it onto his palm, it reacted.  Richard shot photos of it lunging at Pete’s head, but stopping inches short of his face.  He promised to let us use the shots if they come out.  Should be an interesting composition. 

The tide started returning in force by the end of the dive.  It was all I could do to churn back to the boat’s dive platform with the camera in my hand when I surfaced a few yards behind it.  The current was only on the surface, so others could drop below it and return easier. 

We all managed to return to the boat at about the same time, with Laurent and Jim Castelli bringing back an as-large-as-you-can-take lobasaurous.  They were happy with the hunting.

We passed out cold cut sandwiches and drinks on the ride back into the marina.  We were lucky in that we could still squeak under the Blynman Bridge without it having to be raised. 

Everyone said they had fun. 

We certainly did. 

 Alice, Richard Brandolini, and Pat Walsh on board Easy Diver.  Photo by Paul Comerford, using Richard’s camera.

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