Frickin’ Freezin’

Oh, well.  It’s only Cinco de Mayo (May 5th for those north of the border), 50 degrees in the air and the water’s still 45 degrees up here on the north shore of Boston.  The problem was really with the wind — 25-30 knots.   It was blowing out of the northwest, so we decided on The Wreck of the New Hampshire for the first charter trip of the season.  Northwest wind comes out of the cove in front of the house with seven chimneys.  That is relatively comfortable for anchoring right over the wreck site at the edge of Graves Island in Manchester-by-the-Sea.  Clouds scudded across the sun periodically and reminded us that spring was just a promise, so far.

We had Kevin and Linsley Mordasky, Pat and Karen Hatcher, and their friend Julius with us.  Pete, Pat, and I rounded out the crew with The Captain in charge.  Chicken soup was bubbling in the big silver pot even before everyone suited up for the dive.  Pete was slavering for a chance to see what the winter’s storms had uncovered on the site.  He wasn’t to be disappointed.  He managed to drain two aluminum 80’s on the site while the customers were still getting ready for and making their first foray. 

Here’s his take on it:

“I was sailing up a crevasse that I’ve had success digging up spikes in before.  I was only armed with a soft piece of aluminum when at the top of the rock, about 10 feet deep, I spotted the edge of a spike.  Hammering the burnt wood around the spike started to loosen it, but my  aluminum was too soft to be of help.  I shot around the corner to where I knew there were pieces of steel left over from the wreckage and lo and behold I found a crowbar I lost there five years ago – the spike didn’t stand a chance.  Two quick blows, a gently pry with the crowbar, and the prize was mine.  I shot to the surface and signaled the boat with the cry of a successful spike hunter – MANGO!

I couldn’t get a fresh tank fast enough because there was another spike six inches from the one I’d just brought up.  I brought in a five pound sledge and a screw hammer and started chiseling burnt wood away from the spike.  It took several twists and turns and went straight down, so I banged and hammered and sucked down air and eventually the spike started to move.  A quick glance at my gauge revealed I had less than 200 pounds and I was breathing heavily from all the exertion.  I calmly continued my assault on the spike realizing each breath could be my last.   Suddenly, the spike broke free and I raced to the surface in jubilation bellowing MANGO!!!!! at yet another successful spike recovery.”

Here’s the evidence:

Pete and two spikes

He said the water was incredibly clear, at least 80 feet, but I think it was more like 20.  He saw a couple of short lobsters, like in the 3 to 4 oz. range, but they’re in and more are on the way.  The kelps are starting to grow as are most of the sea weeks, but they’re very small right now.

The clouds had covered the sky by the time we were ready for the second site.  I saw that Diver’s Leap looked relatively calm so we anchored under the bluff with the modern, glass house on it.  Julius, Kevin and Linsley jumped in for more fun while I ladeled myself a second cup of chicken noodles.  The customers said visibility wasn’t outstanding but was OK.  Maybe 10 feet.

Back to the marina with teeth chattering.

Our second trip was for Ted Barnes, a NAUI instructor candidate, and owner of Freedom Diving in Gloucester, MA.  He needed to do some more water work and bail out.  I picked the corner of Gloucester Harbor up by Stage Fort Park.  The DUI Dog Days were going on so there were lots of scuba flags in the water by the three big rocks.  It made us feel right at home.  No other boats were nearby or came through while we were anchored there.  AND THEN THE SUN CAME OUT!!  The temperature climbed by at least 10 degrees.  Everyone had more chicken soup in honor of Ted’s excellent adventure.

Back to the marina with diminishing winds and blazing sun.

Spring in New England.

One Response to “Frickin’ Freezin’”

  1. Kathy Says:

    ‘Ahhhhrrrgggghhhh!!! I missed it! The New Hampshire…. and I wasn’t there!….. And Pete got my spikes!

    That’s it! I’m quitting school! Who needs a dumb old degree from Harvard any way? And…. and…..Pete got my spikes!


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