Stone Garage and Kettle Island

The wind was from the northwest.  The sun was thin and the air was brisk as we got coffee and a corn muffin and began our tour around the cape.  It looked good south and it looked marginal north.  The tide was going out, so it would be a clean exit to the ocean without having to have the Blynman Bridge raised for us.  We decided to look up along the Back Shore for a likely place to make our first dive.

Our crew of Kathy Cardinale, Pat Walsh and Peter Donahue was joined by Laurent Dubois, Larry Finer, Jacki Kronenberg, John Buhlman, and Jerry Comeau for the day.  We were looking for lobsters and sight-seeing because we already have enough video footage for this year’s movie.  I felt that the best site along the Bemo Ledge shore for lobsters would be Stone Garage, so I anchored there in about 25 feet of water.  We could see large underwater boulders from the surface.  It looked very clear.

And clear it was.  40-50 feet of visibility, but the water temperature was 58 degrees on the surface.  At the bottom, it was in the low 50s.  There were salps and comb jellies in the first 15 feet of water.  These are  a sure sign of fall.  

We saw lots of big egg-bearing lobsters.  There was a large school of striped bass up near the shallows.  They circled me and my bubbles frightened them away again and again.  I wonder why they kept coming back.

I saw sheets of orange sheath tunicate that looked like tattered lace tablecloths hanging loosely over boulders.  This must be its end stage.  The sun was at a low angle aiming in towards shore so the rocks were bright against the dark background.  It was easy to navigate in the clear water.

We motored to Kettle Island for the second dive as the wind freshened from the southeast.  It looked good at the southwest corner of Kettle.  There were large flocks of birds swooping and dancing on the water very near the site.  This is where fishermen set up a fish weir during the early spring.  It must be a favorite of fish.  They were gathering in groups today.  Many were breaking the surface with the sides of their bodies and the gulls were squacking their excitement.

As we entered the water, I could tell it was going to be a completely different experience from the first site.  The water was dark and the visibility was only 5-10 feet.  It seemed colder too.  Pete said it was about 52 degrees at 40-50 feet where he and John were hunting.

I followed several trails of dusty, silty tracks kicked up by the guys in front of me.  There was a slight current on the surface and Pete said there was a large school of striped bass near the island.  This could have been the source of the birds’ attention earlier. 

The ride home was warmer because of the soup Pete cooked for everyone. 

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