Archive for August, 2009

Just Friends

August 30, 2009

Since The Captain’s back is still hurtin’, Pete and Veronica took the boat out just for fun today.

No Charter on Saturday, August 29th

August 29, 2009

Due to Hurricane Danny rain/waves/cold.

Sheesh.

No Charters on Saturday, August 22 or Sunday, August 23

August 23, 2009

Because of The Captain’s bad back and Hurricane Bill, respectively.

No Charters on Saturday or Sunday, August 15th and 16th

August 17, 2009

Due to family reunion/birthday party and then bad-back syndrome.  Maybe next weekend.

“They’re Everywhere – They’re Everywhere!!”

August 9, 2009

That was Veronica’s call from the port side as she surfaced.  She was talking about dogfish, a small shark that is a bane of fishermen but a treat for us divers.  Veronica is especially thrilled to see them because she has a relative of theirs tattooed on her hip.  Yup, she’s a shark hugger.

We had decided to make the run to the Rockport Breakwater because of a request from one of our regular customers – Jim Castelli.  He and Alan Hicks were with us along with Peter, Pat, and Veronica.  The Captain was the lookout.  I drove the boat.

The anchor was in 50 feet and the water temp was in the low 50s on the bottom, with a surface temperature of 61.  The thermocline was visible from the side as a greyish black line at about 20 feet.  I’d never seen it appear like that.  I thought I was looking at one of the lobster trap lines extending left to right, parallel with the breakwater’s structure.  Below the boundary, the water was clearer until you descended to the bottom.  Then the light was dimmed by the suspended material at the temperature boundary.  Strange.  And it made seeing the sharks eerier than it would have been normally.

They were skittish of groups of divers, but surrounded individuals.  Veronica was especially blessed with sightings that made her migraine ebb.  I guess they know a friend when they sense one.

The surface was a little choppy from the southwest wind, but it was OK.  The sky was alternating clouds and sun with the temperature in the middle 70s.

We decided to make a second dive in the same place to be able to dive with the sharks again.  Peter and Pat descended away from the wall and landed on the silty mud amidst a school of several hundred of them.  Veronica went down the anchor line and returned to encourage me to get in the water with the video camera because they were swarming down there.  Alan and I joined her for a guided tour.  I think our combined bubbles scared them because we only got to see two.  They were big ones however.

The water was not as cold as last Sunday’s dive, even on the bottom.  Last week’s analogy from Veronica was being hit in the face with a cup of slush.  It wasn’t that bad today.

We ended at The Gull with an early birthday celebration for Pete.

Stone Garage and The Silo

August 8, 2009

Two different sites near Bemo Ledge on the south side of Cape Ann were our choices for today.  The first one, which we call Stone Garage, is between Bass Rocks and Brace Cove, but closer to the former.  The shore landmark is a regularly shaped hole in the rocks on shore that is just about the size of a garage.  It’s square-ish and has reinforcing beams for a deck criss-crossing it these days.  I imagine it was designed as a boat house of some sort  many years ago.  The water was warm at 61 degrees on the surface and in the mid-fifties at the bottom at 25 feet.  Visibility was good at about 15-20 feet.  And there were lobsters.  They hide in the deep crevasses and notches that run along shore.  Dense kelp is beautiful to see and a safe hiding place for critters.

We had Darron Burke, Jacki K., John Morrissey and Paul S. along with Peter and Pat as crew.  The Captain was maintaining order on the deck.  I helped get everyone into and out of the water.  It was sunny and warm with a gentle northeast breeze even though the weatherman had predicted a southwest one.  The only bumpiness was from the wakes of passing power boats.

For the second dive, we moved closer to Brace Cove and a site we call The Silo.  It’s an onshore structure that is tall and round and resembles a farm’s silo.  It think it is used as a studio and/or observatory by the property owners.  Here the underwater terrain is more open and there are patches of rocks in a sandy plain.  Hunting is easier.

We finished the day with an easy climb up an almost flat ramp at the marina.

Crystal Clear

August 2, 2009

On the bottom, that is.  Hazy, muggy, breezy, cloudy on the surface.  Maybe 69 degrees up top.

There was a request for The Breakwater and we decided to go.  It’s a super dive site off Rockport, MA and with the wind direction from the southwest, it might be do-able.   Crew was Pat Walsh and Veronica Atlantis.

We had John Morrissey, Peter’s beginner student, Jacki K. and Andy, and Dianne Kelleher with us.  Peter and John were planning on staying above 30 feet, but everyone else was in the muddy silt at 50 feet watching the dogfish congregate.  It’s very early for us to see them in groups.

You can imagine the excitement Veronica expressed when she surfaced and reported those small sharks were in.  She was thrilled to have been able to see them and thought there were about 100 milling about in the frigid depths.  She said she had been ready to turn around when she saw what she thought was Jacki’s fin.  Nope.  It was a dogfish.  Then more came and she realized it was a group that had herded small fish against the rocks and were having lunch.

The second dive was at Hoop Pole Cove on the very northeast corner of the island.  We saw two people spear-fishing with a little red float but stayed well away from their trajectory.  We anchored in about 20 feet and settled in for a more comfortable session than had been the case out at the breakwater.  Peter and John practiced scuba and self-rescue skills while Jacki and Andy explored.

I’m happy to relate that John Morrissey of Belmont is now the newest NAUI-certified Scuba Diver and plans to leave for 10 days in Abaco with his family in a few weeks.  Humph.

The raindrops started to fall just as we pulled into the slip at the marina.

So much for sunny August.

Glorious August

August 1, 2009

Summer started to shine brightly and warmly today.  It began foggy, but cleared up by 11AM.

We had Peter’s beginner student, John Morrissey, Tim Maxwell (on his final trip before going diving in The Galapagos islands), Joe Finkhouse, Jim Castelli, John and Andrew on board.  Because of the student, Peter chose behind Kettle Island for the first dive.  Everyone disbursed quickly and pronounced the water clear and warm.   Huh?  Now you know I had to get in.  Sure enough, it was clearer than it’s been in several trips – 15-20 feet.  Warm is a personal perspective, don’t you think?  61 on the surface.  In the high 50s on the bottom.

Kathy Cardinale was tossing stale crackers for the gulls, but I couldn’t locate them for a video shot of  gull ‘tocks that I thought would go well with the clammoring for crackers shot we already have in the computer at home.  I was huddled under the boat, hoping it would mask my bubbles, but the gulls never came close enough to see.

Pat Walsh was crewing too and she helped everyone getting ready.  I don’t know what we’d do without all the fine work we get for free from our weekend dive team.

The second dive was at the wreck of the USF New Hampshire.  I think Pete was trying to hook John with treasure hunting right off the bat.  He succeeded because I heard John was fanning sand and groveling for goodies right away.  He got a hunk of sheathing that still had a nail embedded in the folded copper.  Lucky guy.

Everyone said they had fun, but lugging gear up a steep, low tide ramp after diving twice wasn’t.  The price we have to pay for our hobby is sometimes a  high one – especially when it comes to ramps.