Captain’s Choice and USF New Hampshire

We had a week of rainy afternoons, with occasional spectacular thunderstorms.  The weather lady on Channel 5 said today would be better than that.  No rain (probably), with light winds and lots of sun.  Well, she got that right.  We were glad to have better weather with no fog because we had people coming from very far away – Rhode Island and Amherst, MA.  They deserve to have a good time after a long trip.

So – we powered south to see what looked good.  On the way, we were approached by the scuba charter boat, Daybreaker.  Its captain, Fran Marcoux, warned us that his people had just been hastled by a lobster boat at Kettle Island.  We thanked him for the heads up and took note of its name and home port for future reference.  As we motored between Coolidge Point and Kettle Island, Captain Fred decided we would anchor on the lee side of Egg Rock for the first dive.  With the gentle breeze from the southwest, that meant it would be the east, or shallower, side.  There was already a small dive boat anchored near the notch as we approached but they were finishing up.  I anchored at the bulge which was pretty much where I wanted to be. 

We had Pat Walsh, Kathy Cardinale, me, and Peter Donahue today as crew.  The customers were Tom and Kathleen Childress (their daughter, Catie, is at marine oceanographic camp in Maine for two weeks), Tim Maxwell, Deb Greenhalgh, and Joe Finkhouse.  Everyone was happy with the location, it seemed, and were quick to suit up and get wet.  Deb and I agreed to dive together to try to get some video for our next movie of people doing things underwater. 

The water was very warm on the surface and the time was going out until about 11:30 AM.  We saw lots of coppery-colored cunner in the thermocline at about 15 feet.  The water was 58 degrees at 35 feet.  It was warmer still in shallower water.  Deb and I saw several black sea bass, orange sponge fingers growing up out of bare pink rock, and some surgey conditions close to shore.  The visibility was 15-20 feet in the shallower water.  It was great fun to stage shots with a busted and smashed abandoned lobster trap.  Later, back at the condo, we saw that The Captain had managed to get some interesting angles on the same trap on the same dive.

We talked about where to make the second dive and the customers voted for the wreck of the US Frigate New Hampshire, just a few minutes away.  OK by me.

Pat Walsh anchored right over the wreck and everyone was thrilled to have it so accessible.  The glistening copper pins shone brightly as the divers investigated beams with frilly anemones and squishy sponges adorning them.  The water was in the low 60s on the bottom at 25 feet. 

Towards the end of the dive, we were approached by two different lobster boats who needed to have their traps dislodged from something that was snagging them on the bottom.  Pete got to log two additional dives in freeing each of them.  It was fun to be able to help these guys out.  We figured one got about $200 worth of stuff from the two traps, the line, the buoy and three legal-sized lobsters.  Both lobstermen were very careful about the potential for divers in the water when they came near us and we thanked them for that courtesy.

Funny how the same day could have two such different types of lobstermen show up.

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One Response to “Captain’s Choice and USF New Hampshire”

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