Stage Fort Rocks and Niles Rocks

It had been blowing out of the northeast for two days.  We saw the wavy results on the south side of the cape as we drove around looking for the best dive sites.  There must have been some southeasterly blowing too because the waves were cresting from that direction into Magnolia harbor.  Not good.

As we circumnavigated with our Dunkin and corn muffins, we found the near north side would be do-able, although not great.  Maybe Hodgkins Cove or maybe outside Plum Cove would be good enough.

It was only after we boarded the customers and headed up the river that the wind freshened and was blowing into our teeth.  The conditions were going downhill fast.  We decided to turn around and go into the harbor instead.   At least it wouldn’t be too bouncy there.  Cathy and Bill Myers, Laurent Dubois, Joe Finkhouse, Kevin and Linsley Mordasky were mellow about it all.  I put the boat in about 25 feet of water in the most protected part of the cove.  The water was 55 degrees. 

They suited up under the bellowing announcer for the bicycle race at Stage Fort Park which was up wind of our anchorage near the three big rocks off the popple beach there.  The wind continued to build.  It was sunny, but cold.

We saw a seal near the biggest of the rocks the top of which was still underwater.   We made soup and waited for the hunters to return.   They came back with full bags and surprised looks on their faces.  The visibility was about 15-20 feet.  The pickings had been very good for this time of year and this place.   The Captain decided we’d find a second spot with more protection for the non-divers.  He picked Niles Beach’s rocky western edge.

This time we anchored using a mooring ball whose owner’s sailboat was gone for the winter.  It would make tying up easy and leaving even easier.  Everyone made a second dive.   Kevin said there were “…me-e-e-elions and me-e-e-e-e-lions of salps” in the water.   Linsley said it was like diving in a wet snowstorm.  These critters are gelatinous and transparent.  They look a little like jellyfish but have no sting. 

Bill said he saw a very large decorator crab and three skates.  The visibility had been less at about 10-15 feet.   Again the hunters had unseasonable success.  I made another pot of soup and it was consumed by the returning divers.  Chicken noodle tastes like ambrosia when you’re cold.  Peter, Pat and Kathy Cardinale were crew today.   We were glad to have the help.

Tomorrow is supposed to be warmer.  Let’s hope it’s calmer as well.


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