Archive for September, 2009

Sunday, September 27th = RAIN and WIND and WAVES

September 27, 2009

No diving due to the rotten conditions.

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Bright and Bumpy

September 26, 2009

Today was very sunny with a southeasterly breeze (Jacki, you were right!).

We had Jacki K., Alex and Candace, Steve Gates and Chuck from ME for Candace’s last dive of her scuba course.  We drove around before they arrived to try and find a good spot.  It had been blowing from the northeast and was predicted to continue to do that, so we chose to go south.  Kettle Island looked good, so that’s where we planned to make the first dive.

As we left the harbor mouth, you could feel the swells surfing us along towards the southwest.  There were waves breaking all along Norman’s Woe and Popplestone Beach.  As we pulled behind Kettle, it looked glassy smooth.    The Captain directed traffic and we anchored in about 25 feet of water, well out of the reach of swells.  The tide was going out and there were no other boats around.

Chuck and I waited for the others to get in.  He was interested in getting acquainted with new gear he’d purchased and wanted some pointers on skills.  No problem.  That’s what we like to do.  Pete took Candace for a sojourn, with Alex following as best he could in the murky water.  Turns out it was only about 5 feet of visibility, although it was warm – 59 degrees with no thermocline.  There were lots of big comb jellies and some round gooseberry-sized ones too.  Peter says the big ones eat the little ones, but you couldn’t tell because they’re both transparent.  I think I believe him.

Chuck had mask trouble because of his mustache, we think.  His primary mask leaked as did his backup one.  He even tried one that Candace loaned him, but no luck.  It just filled up from the bottom as he descended the downline.

We decided to move for the next dive in the hopes of finding better visibility.  Divers’ Leap, across the channel, looked OK.  We all were set to go and I let out almost the whole of the anchor line for as much scope as we could get because we were stern to the rocks.  Peter and Candace were lobstering and she caught, measured, and bagged one all by herself under Pete’s guidance.  That one was going to be for her mother, Pam, who heard about it all right away on the dock as we unloaded gear.

Jacki found two lobsters at a standoff in the rocks.  One was huge and the other was pugnatious and/or stupid as it parried for that particular den.  She also found a scallop shell that had been left by a member of her dive club, Metrowest, as a token to redeem for a prize.  The water was clearer here, but not great, at about 10 feet of visibility.

I saw many sand dollars with tiny olive snails clustered on their tops.  They weren’t holding on very tight and I brushed some off by accident, but they were a strange sight I’d never seen before.  Imagine a cluster of sprinkles on a melting ice cream scoop.  That’s kinda what they looked like.  Pete thinks they were eating the sand dollar, but I think they were filtering the exudate from its central pore.

The ride home was even more bumpy than the ride out because the wind had picked up.  I skimmed under the Blynman Bridge with 11 feet of clearance, so they didn’t have to raise it for us.  We saw a seal heading outbound in the river, swimming into the current near the football field.  He didn’t seem shy at all and kept looking back at us as we passed.  He looked a lot like this one posted yesterday in Jay Albert’s blog:

Seal Photo by Jay Albert of Cape Ann Images

Seal Photo by Jay Albert of Cape Ann Images

It was a good Fall day.

Bright Light

September 20, 2009

It was going to be warmer than yesterday, but you certainly couldn’t tell that at 6 AM this morning.  There was a bite to the air that felt like fall.  We had Al and Candace, Linda and Myanna for the trip with Pete and Pat as crew.  The Captain was ensconced in his lawn chair for the duration. 

Pete wanted to go back to the Stone Garage in the hopes that the visibility would be as good as it was yesterday.  It was – almost.  Thirty feet in any direction when I anchored in 25 feet of water.   All the divers went together so there could be hunting as well as scuba skills on the agenda.  Both were successful.  The water was almost high tide and 59 degrees.

We stopped after one dive and returned to port to attend the MetroWest/Northshore Frogmen picnic at Stage Fort Park.  Good time, nice people.

Fall-ish

September 19, 2009

The boat was full today with Bethany, John and Rick from RI, along with Joe Finkhouse, Alan Hicks, and Peter’s student, Joe.  Pat Walsh was crew as was Peter Donahue.  The Captain’s back is improving, so he was in his chair on the stern. 

We wanted to find calm water, but the wind was making that tough.  It was blowing and gusty at 15-20 from the NW by 8:30 AM.  The Captain and I had toured the south-facing coast with our breakfast in hand earlier and decided that the Stone Garage area would be best.

I set the anchor in 25 feet of water directly across from the rocky hollow that looks like an abandoned boat house.  The water was 59 degrees with about 30 feet of visibility according to Peter and Bethany.  There was a passel of curious pollack that pounced on Peter’s attempt to feed them.

We were so impressed with the great visibility that I only moved 1/4 mile west for the second dive.  This was just off the Silo nearer Bemo Ledge.  Joe and Alan were exploring and hunting as was Peter, but the visibility was only 10 feet here.  Quite a surprise.

Tomorrow is supposed to be warmer and calmer.

Let’s hope.

No Charters September 12 or 13th

September 13, 2009

Windy, rainy, blowy, gloomy and dreary, to boot.  That was Saturday.

Sunday, The Captain’s back was acting up.

Some friends went out each day, but there were no official charters.

Maybe next weekend.

And We Were Helpful Too

September 6, 2009

Anna helped this lobsterman from Magnolia by unwrapping his pot’s line from around a boulder.  He was very nice and had three little kids and a large, blond dog aboard.  The photo is of him trying to raise the pot and Anna on the left watching.  Photo by Jacki K.

Anna (on the left) Helped This Lobsterman

Anna (on the left) Helped This Lobsterman

Brisk

September 6, 2009

Coolish, but sunny.  We had a full boat of scubas who were interested in seeing the schooners leave Gloucester Harbor for their race this morning.  Then, Tom and Nancy Brand from Providence, Jacki K. and Andy and Anna plus Tom Finkhouse were open for anywhere that looked good.  We bumped our way south to Kettle and anchored in the area protected from the 15 knots of Northeast wind that the morning had brought.  We shared the general area with Fran Linnehan’s Down Under and Cape Ann Divers’ smaller boat. 

Veronica was crew as was Peter Donahue.  Pat Walsh was still relaxing on Martha’s Vineyard.  The Captain and I were passengers today.

The anchor hit in 25 feet of 63 degree ocean.  Visibility was about 10 feet in some places and a little better others, but nobody seemed to mind.  It was good enough.  Tom said they had been in 3 foot visibility at Ft. Wetherall in RI on Saturday, so this was an improvement.  Veronica reported a very big sea raven right under the boat.  Jacki K. saw a whole rock surface covered with what seemed to me to be limpits from her description of them.  There were some stripers up in the shallows too.  And, plenty of lobsters.

The second dive was over at Coolidge Point, a.k.a. Saddle Rock.  I turned the corner from the breeze and anchored in about 30 feet behind the bluff to stay warm.  The early afternoon sky had some puffy clouds that sometimes blocked the sun.  Then it got cold.  Happily, that only lasted a few minutes and then the sun returned.  But it was a foreshadowing of the months to come.  Dang.

Peter reported a large, square boulder under the boat that seemed unusual.  There was a school of pollack and cunner too.  The shallows were sunny and full of life. 

Everyone seemed to have fun and we were able to unload with almost a flat ramp.  Sure beats some of the Labor Day weekend conditions of the last few years.

More fun tomorrow.

South

September 5, 2009

The customers got ready quickly.  The Captain was even going to be on board.  Mike Russo, Linsley and Kevin Mordasky along with Pat and Karen Hatcher were old hands at the boarding process.  The only newbee was Matt Walsh.  He and Mike had rented everything from Ted Barnes’ Freedom Diving for Matt’s first cold water dive.  I stayed on shore for a Mental Health Day.

Kettle Island’s west side was diveable but the swells were still rocking the anchored boat from passing wakes.  Mike had been a student of Peter’s in a previous season, so he and Pete were Matt’s buddies.  The water was 63 degrees and about 25 feet deep.

The second dive was at Magnolia Harbor’s west side, under the bluff.  It was about 20 feet deep and had visibility of about 10 feet.  There were fewer swells here, but a striped bass fisherman was obnoxious.  Maybe they think the stripers hang out where divers bubbles are loud and there’s lots of diving activity.  Wrong!

Everyone professed to have had a wonderful time with the hot sun and warm ocean.

I know I did.