Archive for June, 2011

Family Day

June 26, 2011

We stayed in stand-up water for the first dive.

Grandson, Erik, was just getting started, so we anchored off Niles Beach.

We had Pete as crew and assistant instructor while I had Erik in the water in scuba gear.

The Captain stayed with the ship, along with Erik’s mom, Laurie, and dad, Joe.

The water was a little murky, but warm.  Maybe 60-ish.  I didn’t wear gloves.

After Erik’s session, we puttered over to Old House Cove where Pete and I made a dive.  It was murky and with some surge from the waves that were breaking at the Dog Bar Breakwater from the south east.  It was warm here too and the visibility varied from 10 to 15 feet or so.

There were lobsters to be caught and abandoned traps to search for decorator crabs.

Warm sun greeted us as we surfaced.

Lots of  boats were gathering for the finals of the greasy pole competition.

The day was better than yesterday, but the fog didn’t ever really burn off.  It was cloudy with tiny glimpses of sun.

The surprise of the afternoon was seeing Dino Stamos at the dock.  He stopped by after leaving Lynn and the kids at the fiesta festival at Saint Peter’s square.  Good to see he’s still kicking and everyone is doing great.

Fun end to the weekend.

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Not Today

June 25, 2011

Two new players entered the field – thunder and lightning.  They were joined by our old friends torrential downpour and a snapping wind from the northwest.

We decided to forfeit the game.

Photos by Anna

June 22, 2011

These were taken on Sunday, June 19th, by Anna.

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Sad News

June 21, 2011

We just learned of the death of a dear friend – Paul Sauvageau.

All we know is that he was diving on a wreck in North Carolina with friends from around here and his body was found on the bottom in about 90 feet of water.  The cause of death is not known at this time.

He will be missed.

Wind vs. Waves

June 19, 2011

They weren’t playing nicely together today.

The weather was warm with a brisk wind to eliminate any unsightly sweating.  I think 74 degrees was reported by Harvey Leonard of Channel 5.

We drove around to find the best site and decided going south would afford us the most protection from a whipping wind from the NW.  Unfortunately, long low swells were sliding up the rocks from the SE.  Hum.

I put the anchor in about 25 feet at the Stone Garage on the Back Shore.  This site has beautiful gouges running east to west and lots of lobsters.  We had Anna, Andy, Jacki, and Sandy along with Bill Low and Diane Kelleher on board today.  Peter and Pat were crew, I drove the boat, and The Captain was diving in his Mares semi-wet/dry suit.

The water was 56 degrees and visibility was about 15-20 feet.  The tide was coming in, but there was no current to speak of.  We rode the swells without too much discomfort because the wind kept our stern facing almost directly into them.  No rolling or pitching, thank goodness.

For the second dive, we opted for flatter conditions at Brace Cove.  Here the water was only 18 feet deep, but it was warmer (58 degrees) and clearer (20 feet).  Everyone went back in for the second dive and Bill broke an hour (his goal).  There were flounders and skates and crabs and some small lobsters.

Although it had been dead low tide as we loaded the boat, we were relieved and happy to see that it was a brimming high tide as we schlepped the gear back up the ramp.

I like it when that happens.

Nice time with good people.

Glassy Seas

June 18, 2011

Oh, boy.  What GREAT conditions.

The trip today was extraordinary because the sea, the air and the wind all cooperated.  The sea was flat.  The air was 75 degrees and the wind stayed in bed for an extra 40 winks.

We had a full boat with Kevin & Linsley Mordasky, Linda & Kerry Hurd (recent EMMY winners – again), and Deb and Steve. Pete and Pat were crew, while The Captain maintained order.

Our drive around showed that everywhere was good, but the north shore was perfect.  We decided that Lanesville Shores would be the most fun for the most people.  I anchored in about 25 feet of water just off the cemeteries, near Tide Rock.

We suited up under mostly cloudy skies, but they were brightening. There were photographers and videographers and we all needed decent visibility.

I knew my Atlan dry suit wouldn’t be, but donned it anyway.  The neck seal has an often-Aquasealed tear and the zipper is thready with tendrils that cause leakage too.  Let’s hope the water isn’t any colder than last weekend.

It wasn’t.  We logged 56 degrees at 30 feet with visibility of 25-30 feet there and deeper.  The tide was coming in and you could see its swirls on the surface just offshore of our anchorage.  No current at all.

I saw fish everywhere.  I think it’s spring down there too.  Two cunner were faced off with open mouths to declare, “I’m the Man.”  I found decorator crabs on every abandoned lobster trap.  Two were in soft, flowing, kelpy growths while another had smooth, pale yellow sponge on every surface of his (I’m guessing here) shell.

I saw Deb and Steve with an extremely bright light that looks very good on my video download.  Kerry motored by and I worked hard to keep the camera level and still pace him with no bumps or jiggles.

Kevin and Linsley swam closer to shore and found out first hand why we sometimes call this place N*ked M*n Beach.  Someone was posing on the shore in a Poseidon Throwing the Javelin stance and in exactly the same costume as the statue.  See below:

Or Maybe He Was Doing Tai Chi?

Because the conditions were so great, we decided to do the second dive in the same place.  It was just as much fun.

Everyone agreed that the trip was memorable and among the best we’ve experienced in New England.

Certainly makes up for the rotten weekends we’ve been having until now.

More March-like Weather

June 12, 2011

It’s 55 degrees and dribbling rain.

So we decided to scrap today’s dive.

Even dusting seems like it would be more fun than diving on a day like today.

And that’s saying a lot.

Rainy

June 11, 2011

But no wind.  And there were no waves.

We had LD, Al, Pam, Candi and Will for a trip that would introduce Will to scuba.

I picked Folly Cove for the site to be sure we could get Will into standup water.  He was with Pete for the day, while Pat and The Captain played scuba sherpa.  They helped people get suited  and set while Will and Pete started with the basics.

I was with Al and Candi for a getting reacquainted dive.  We saw moon snails, both big and little.  A horseshoe crab with no tail and flounders plus a skate.  Laurent found us underwater and produced two sea ravens from his lobster bag like a magician.  First he gently pulled out a medium-sized one and handed it to me to inspect.  I then passed it to Candi.  She held it and looked into its shiny eye.  Then out came an even bigger one for us to examine.  Again it was willing to be passed hand to hand for our amazement.  Not too scared of us at all.

The water was 57 degrees on the surface and there was about 20 feet of visibility.

Laurent saw a medium sized ball of pollack being knifed through again and again by striped bass.

We both saw large tautog under the rocks at the point where we turned around.

As we surfaced, the rain was steady.  Non-divers were huddled in the cabin and Pat was directing traffic at the back of the boat in a bright yellow rainproof poncho with yellow rain gear pants – and her sandals.  Al and I stayed in the ocean and waited for Will and Pete to finish their skills session before getting back on the boat.  It was that comfortable.

Since the newbees were cold in their wetsuits, we called it a day and headed for home.

I drove the boat in my wetish drysuit with Laurent’s company.  We were fed turkey sandwiches and cookies by Pam.

It was still dribbling as we docked.

I rode all the way home in my suit to avoid having to take it off in the cold.

The day was fun because we had nice people.

The diving was fine, even though I’d have preferred less water above water.

Pictures from Anna

June 6, 2011

Anna and Jacki K. were with us the weekend before last.

Pat took some photos with Anna’s camera:

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Finally – Good Visibility

June 5, 2011

But at a price: 45 degree water.

I felt the ice cream headache as I descended the down line.  The medium-sized hood should have helped keep me warm.  Maybe it did.  But the part that was exposed to the ocean – my brow area – was shreaking, “COLD ALERT.”  After a few moments, the area got numb and I forgot about it in the excitement of being in the midst of a school of pollack.

This was happening at one of our favorite dive sites off the cemetery in Lanesville.  We’d anchored a little north of where we usually go because a fisherman was in the way.  It turned out to be a good decision because we were over the end of the mountain range that trims that coast underwater.  It was 38 feet to the chasm that housed the best visibility of the season: 20 feet or so.

We had LD, Peter, Pat and me on board.  Of course, The Captain was in charge.

After delaying the departure for heavy duty cleaning and sanitary engineering work, the sun was higher that it usually is for our trip up the river.  That could have meant it was hot, but it wasn’t.  Warmer that yesterday, sure, but definitely not hot.  Again the wind was from the east.  This is an ocean breeze for sure.

Anchoring was easy because the rocky bottom holds well.

Pete tried another of his newly acquired alternate DUI dry suits and it didn’t leak.  That’s the first time in three weekends that he’s emerged from the dive dry.  A milestone for sure.  He found a large yellow cod and was th-i-i-s-s close to catching in his lobster bag when it bolted for freedom.  It could have looked like this:

A Picture from the Internet of a Yellow Cod's Face

I used the video to do some set up shots and was encircled by the pollack on the last one.  I only had 1000 lbs in my little bomb of a tank, so I didn’t go on any long treks and there they were.  Right under the boat.  I was struck by their beauty as I looked up from 40 feet and they circled above me while I held my breath.  When I exhaled, they split formation and surged for cover.  When I stopped making those terrifying bubbles, they reformed their loose ball.  It was wonderfully real and totally consuming to watch them surge above me.

The gauge read 200 lbs too soon.  I wasn’t even really cold yet.

Oh well,  there’s always next weekend.

Good time with good friends.