The Froggies

Six members of the North Shore Frogmen were with us because two of their members won a free trip and others wanted to join them. They sure picked a great day. Weatherwise, the air had cleared. Heavy humidity was gone as were the threat of afternoon thunderstorms. There was full, bright sun – I have crispy shoulders to prove it. There was a noticeable southwesterly breeze of about 10-15 knots. Everyone and their cat were out and powering about to enjoy the day.

Because we had a person with very little experience, I suggested the wreck of the New Hampshire as the first dive site. Everyone seemed OK with that, so we powered south. As I neared Graves Island, we saw Cape Ann Divers‘ large boat with Captain Steve already on the site. They’d chosen a place inboard of the wreck, so I anchored outboard of it. That way, we were able to pinpoint its site for the divers as being between our two boats and below a particular lobster buoy. Arnie P., another Froggie, stopped by as we were getting suited up.

We were happy to get everyone in the water thanks to crew members Laurent, Veronica, Peter and Pat. I stayed topside to be sure we weren’t dragging anchor and The Captain was vigilant. He was on a video expedition, looking for divers doing interesting things, and found Mary H. taking photographs. I think there was some “in my face” time, according to Mary, but the results were usable and clear. Her camera setup looks unique and, of course, so does she. Ray was herding a lobster but looked like he was enjoying the effort. Peter, Doddie, Becca and Daryl were all doing fine too.

The water was about 62 at 25 feet with 10-15 feet of visibility, depending on whether anyone was excavating near where you were. There was a lot of banging and that indicated spikes were being sought.

For the second dive, I wanted a place with a little less rocking motion from passing boats. The cat and everyone else had been powering into Kettle Cove for a lunch-time gathering. That laid down wakes that just didn’t quit. Taking those rollers broadside, due to the wind’s direction, isn’t fun for anyone on the boat.

A picnic broke out on the bow as we looked for better conditions.

The choices were getting slim as we got closer to Gloucester Harbor, but Norman’s Woe looked good. There were several small fishing boats already anchored deeper into the cove and they were lying calmly. I picked a spot that looked like it would be good for the hunters aboard. Again, 25 feet of depth for Becca’s 11th dive with water temperature about 62 and the air in the high seventies. Visibility was better here at between 15-20 feet. The sandy bottom was littered with granite boulders in front of the boat, nearer the island. I staged a shot for the video to see if I could herd baby cunner around a rock simply by slowly circling their home. I rousted a lobster in the process, so the video is better than I thought it would be.

Everyone spent about 40 minutes hunting, exploring, and relaxing in some of the warmest conditions we’ve recently experienced.

The trip home was exciting because there were so many Boulevard cars trying to get near the Harborfest at Stage Fort Park. Matt and his bridge crew were opening the Blynman for many short periods rather than long ones like they usually do. The tide was still high enough that they had to open for most vessels. On our pass, there was a jet-skier right in the way, along with several small boats coming down river after the harborside boats had started to come in. Two of the river vessels were proceeding obliviously towards the opening. One guy was blabbling on his cell phone when we yelled to him to wait because five big guys had already started in. He got knocked around a bit by the wake of the 50 footer right behind me.

Unloading was not bad because the ramp was almost flat. Thanks to everyone for the food and the their upbeat attitudes.

Froggies are fun people.

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