Archive for July, 2011

A Newbee, a Returnee, and Some New Folks

July 9, 2011

We had a great group today.  Will, Candie, Alex, Willis, Judith and Dianne were up for anywhere that was easy, clear, warm, shallow and calm.  Well, I had just the place: The Wreck of the USF New Hampshire at Graves Island.  We had 62 degree water in the shallows along with striped bass, according to Dianne.  The deeper water near the wreck had lines of small lobsters along the sand line, under the timbers.  Will felt the cold as a thermocline  after the tide turned and started back in.

Alan Hicks was along and stepped up for divemaster duties.  He helped Willis and Judith find the wreck and its scattered, assorted wreckage.  Will found pieces of copper from Paul Revere’s foundry and a small gold-flecked piece of metal the size of a cartridge casing.  But why was it so shiny?  We decided it was shiny because it was made from pure gold.  Yeah, right.  This was his third dive ever and he did great, according to his instructor, Peter.

Willis and Judith found lobsters that were too big to take and were happy to be able to interact with them.

The Captain got a sinus squeeze, so Dianne kept to the shallows and scuba-ed along the rocky shore to get back into the swing of things.

The day heated up and we decided to make both dives on the same spot.  Everyone had more time to explore and they did.

On our way home, we were stopped by waving from a boat anchored behind Kettle Island.  It was Sea Breeze and had good friend Barbara Bates aboard.  Dianne recognized her from a trip they had taken together to Bonaire.

We docked in a stiff NW breeze, using our special rig of ropes to spin the boat on the pivot point of the end of the finger dock.  It was good practice for when the wind is really howling from the NW later in the season.

Everyone did wonderfully well and we had fun.

That’s the best part.

A Painted Ship Upon a Painted Ocean

July 4, 2011

That was what Fred thought the day was like.  It’s a quote from “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Coleridge.  The ocean was oily-looking and silky smooth.  No wind at all.  It looked a little like this:

A Painted Ship upon a Painted Ocean

We had a great group with Kevin and Linsley Mordasky, Dianne Kelleher, Pete and Pat.  The Captain was Dianne’s dive buddy and I drove the boat.

We decided that going north looked best even though anywhere would have been good.  It was supposed to start blowing from the south later in the day, so Lanesville Shores it was.

I dropped the anchor pretty close to shore so that Dianne and Fred could get to stand-up water with the inflatable easily.

Pete and Pat were after more delicacies for his cookout later in the day.

Kevin and Linsley were exploring.  Linsley ended up changing the neck zip seal on her own DUI dry suit when she discovered a leak very early on.

I was videoing and looking for critters that would stand still long enough for me to get a rock-steady shot.  I drained two tanks in the effort.

We did both dives in the same place because the conditions were so excellent.  The water was in the high 50s at 40 feet.  Visibility was golden up in the shallows because of the floating matter in the water.  Deeper, it was 15-20 feet.

As I was getting out of my gear, Pat and Pete got us underway and back down the Annisquam River towards the marina.  Pat steered through dozens of little and big boats jockeying their way to a mooring next to Wingaersheek Beach.  The mass of moored boats was a world record, it seemed.

Again, a flat ramp had unloading over quickly.  We all had to get to Pete’s place for the feast ASAP.

The cookout was delicious and great fun too.

Dance of the Flounders

July 3, 2011

It was a cloudy morning, with a fog that was burning off.

We had Lars, Robert and Bill Low along with Veronica, Pete, and Pat as crew.  The Captain was in charge and I drove the boat.

Because neither Robert nor Lars had been diving in a while, and because Lars was in all rental gear, we decided to make the first dive in the relative calm and shallowest area of Folly Cove.

We were happy to see how comfortable both men were with the “special attention” they got from the crew.  Since no one was using an integrated weights vest and neither put their masks around their necks when they weren’t on their faces, there was no blood in the scuppers.  They made the first dive with Pete.

Meanwhile, The Captain and Veronica were wrangling flounders on the bottom in about 15 feet of water.  He was videoing the reaction of a herd of flounder as they cavorted in front of the camera where he had dug a trench.  They just keep circling him and coming through the trough again and again.  Veronica said their lips were moving, so we decided they were singing or smacking their lips over the tasty morsels Fred was uncovering.

For our second dive, we went across the cove to the wall outside the Lobster Pool restaurant.  The divers were quick to get back into the water even though it was deeper here and colder due to the high tide.  It was in the mid-fifties at the bottom in about 30 feet.

Bill Low was the subject of some photos taken by Veronica:

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I could see clearly at 40 feet and the light was even because of the cloud cover.  It was about 15-20 feet of visibility in the high tides’ cold water.

We were happy with the flat ramp for getting back up to the parking lot.

Nice day with good people.

Clear and Cool

July 2, 2011

Both were true underwater as well as above it.  We had Pete and Pat as crew.  I drove the boat with The Captain picking the spots.

We had a full boat today with Jacki, Sandy, Anna, Andy, Bill Low and Richard Brandolini.  They were up for anywhere, so that’s where we took them – anywhere that had flat water and clear conditions.  We thought it looked best at Salt Island, just off Brier Neck in Rockport.

I dropped the anchor in about 20 feet of water just inside the lee of the island.  The wind was shifting from North to Southeast and the island protected us from all of it.

We could hear the occasional shouts and general hubbub from the  beach to our left.  Named Good Harbor, it was one of the “sacred” beaches of Rockport.  Hundreds of sunbathers were chock-a-block on the remaining sand as the tide came in.

Bill got a great picture of Richard:

Richard Brandolini Underwater

Bill and Peter saw a big cod.  Others saw a school of pollack and smaller fish around the end of the rocky point.  The visibility was good at between 10 and 15 feet.

The water was in the high 40s on the bottom in the high 40s.  It was in the high 50s on the surface.

We moved closer to home for the second dive and chose the outer edge of Brace Cove.  Everyone went exploring here.  The water was shallow and warm.  There were skates and Pete saw a flounder scoot out of the way of the anchor as we dropped it.  It was clear too with 15 feet in the shallower areas and less as you got deeper.

The sun was unshielded all day and you could get really crispy if you didn’t use SPF30, at least.  But the breeze was cool and kept the heat from building.

I drove the boat into the river against a raging outbound tide and had huge standing waves to battle.  I won, with the help of Pete and Pat.

Great day.