Archive for July, 2012

Misty, Moisty, Foggy, Drippy

July 29, 2012



We decided it wasn’t going to be a good day for diving and cancelled the boat trip today.


Critters from Alex

July 28, 2012

We had Alex Shure with us today.

He got some interesting photos and was kind enough to share them with us for this trip report:

Foggy and Flat

July 28, 2012

We had a forecast that was mixed.  Cloudy, but no wind, and possible showers was expected.  Then the east wind picked up and the fog bank moved into Gloucester Harbor.

I wanted to try Salt Rock today because we had an experienced crowd: Alex Shure and LD, with Pete as crew.  The Captain was in charge.

Salt Rock is located nearer to Beverly than we usually go.  It’s just off Singing Beach, southwest of Graves Island that is usually our outer limit on the south shore.  As we were loading the boat, the fog started to burn off and we were in the clear with hot sun as we puttered through the Blynman Cut and into the now clear harbor.

Here’s an image of the locale we were in:

Salt Rock Environs

Salt Rock Environs

We saw the bottom rise to 25 feet on the north side of the rock.  LD dropped the anchor and we were quick to get into the water at this new place.  The Captain asked Alex and me to get some video of him aiming towards me while he was taking pictures or doing video.  Here’s a frame grab of some footage I got:

Alex Shure at Salt Rock

Alex Shure at Salt Rock

We decided the site was OK, but nothing special, at least on the shore side of the rock.  It was 61 degrees of warm all the way down to 35 feet or so.  That was great, but the visibility was less than great at about 10 feet.  Surge was moderate.  Warmth trumps vis as the most desirable condition, so I wasn’t complaining.

We went to the north side of Kettle Island for the second dive.  Again, the water was warm, but the vis was only OK.  The clouds had returned by this time, so it was dark on the bottom.  Surge was worse in the shallow part of the little cove, so I stayed near the boat in about 35 feet.  Big boulders were photogenic, but had lots of sea growth on them.  I don’t remember them being so grassy in previous years.

The tide had retreated by the time we were ready to lug our tanks back to the truck.  Low tide and empty tanks makes for a hard climb up the ramp.  Hey, that sounds like a Country Music title, doesn’t it?  Lo-o-o-w Tide and Empty Ta-a-aanks.

More fun tomorrow.

Another Take on Sunday’s Dive Adventures

July 24, 2012

Crew member Veronica Atlantis also blogs.

Here’s her version of our session last Sunday as well as what you have to go through to be a crew member on a charter boat:

Alex Shure’s Photos of the Rocky Jumble at Folly Cove

July 23, 2012

We had Alex Shure with us on Saturday, July 21st.  He took these beautiful pictures of the huge granite boulders and blocks at the jetty on the east side of Folly Cove:

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Adventures in Force

July 23, 2012

Today was a combination of good luck and wonderful friends.

We had a newbie, ZT, and her dad, IT, as well as LD and Sandy M.  with Pat, Pete and Veronica as crew.

Because it was predicted to be blowing strongly from the south, we went north.  I wanted “stand up water” for ZT’s first scuba experience.  Pat anchored in about 20 feet of water in the middle of Folly Cove.  I was surprised to see boats there already on either side of us.  Looks like other folk had heard the forecast.

After we got into our wetsuits, ZT and I swam the inflatable with all our gear into the rocky, rubble-y beach-type area.  Folly Cove at low tide is a mass of boulders and slippery rocks.  There is hardly any sand in sight.  We found some patches, however, where we could get situated and settled to begin the skills she needed to learn.

Pete swam over to see  how we were doing on his tow sub.  We waved and kept going.

It didn’t take very long at all.  She mastered regulator ditch and retrieval, two types of regulator purge, mask clearing, and weight belt ditching.  Then we scuba-ed in shallow water for a while.  As we stood up, I noticed that one of her see-through “Gummy Bear” gold-colored Force Fins was missing.  Dang.  That was going to be hard to spot on the bottom in all the weeds and rocks.

Two different sets of returning divers tried and failed to find it for us.  They were kind to even try since it was at the end of their dive and they were low on air already.  ZT and I continued with skills including removing and replacing the mask underwater and then clearing it.  There were tumblesaults included as well, just for fun.

Then Veronica swam up and I told her about our plight.  She took off with a mission.

Then Pat swam up on the tow sub and clambered into the inflatable to assist us with gear wrangling.

ZT and I did more scuba-ing in the shallows – back and forth across the shallowest part of the beach.  She was able to descend and clear her ears with no trouble.  We exchanged sign language for how much air was left in her little aluminum 50.   Two open palms towards me = 1000 psi.  Good.

Then, just as we were attempting to get ZT’s foot into one of Pat’s ML Force Fins, Veronica surfaced with a triumphant, “Woo Hoo!”  She found our missing Force Fin.  It looked like this, only in Gold:

Tan Delta Force Fin

Tan Delta Force Fin

ZT quickly fitted it back on and we took off, underwater, for the scuba swim back to Easy Diver.  Pat stayed on the surface, finning along, towing the inflatable with our dive flag, keeping right over us.  I used her shadow and the white bubbles of her kick to stay on course over the featureless, sandy bottom.  ZT and I saw lots of hermit crabs, little cunner, and crabs on our foray.  She easily kicked down to the anchor in 25 feet of rising tide and then swam up to the swim platform to take off her scuba tank and hand it up to the crew.  What a great start to her diving fun!

We then helped IT back into the boat with a hunter’s bag that held a lobster from each of his two dives while we were in training mode.

I think a good time was had by all.



July 21, 2012

It doesn’t get any better than this.  Pure sun, low humidity, clear air and warmth that isn’t blasting – 78 degrees on the surface.

We had Dean M. and two pals as well as Alex Shure and LD on board with Pat and Pete as crew.  The Captain was diving today too.

Since they wanted to try to get lobsters, we went north to the area next to the Seaside Cemetery in Lanesville.  Everyone was in the water quickly and it proved to be warm – 61 degrees all the way to the bottom at 25 feet.  Visibility was good at 15-20 feet.

I found a little wall with a small cunner that was patrolling it.  As I set up my camera, he dislodged a rock gunnel that swam right at the lens.  Then I went around the rock to get into the shot myself.  Here’s a frame grab:

Fish Tracking

Fish Tracking

He let me do that twice and still always returned to his post.

The hunters were successful and we decided to go for “scenic” at the second dive site.

I chose the rocky jumble outside the jetty on the east side of Folly Cove.  It’s got massive blocks of carved granite that merge into a well defined block wall as you go toward the cove.  There were frilled anemone under an overhand, including a rocky portion that was covered with many baby ones.

Here the water was deeper and colder as the tide came in.  However, as you swam along the wall, it got shallower and warmer and brighter.  The photographer was happy with the conditions.

As we powered back into the Annisquam River, the breeze had shifted to the south west and I was able to dock the boat with hardly a vocal cue from any of my helpers.

The ramp was even flat for the gear schlepping back to our cars.

A definite “10” with nice people.

Evidence of a Good Day

July 17, 2012

Thanks to Diane and Mike, we have photographic proof that fun was had by all last Sunday:

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So Big

July 15, 2012

Today we had LD plus four Neas family members for a fun day on the ocean.  Veronica was crew along with Pete.  The Captain directed.  The kids have gotten SO BIG.

Because we expected 90 degree heat and there was a breeze predicted to come from the south, we headed up to Folly Cove.  Maybe someone would go swimming if they saw others in the water as well.

We geared up after handing out extra fins, a snorkel and a mask to Mikey.  We pointed out the freshwater shower to the ocean averse so everyone would stay cool.  I descended to see if I could capture any flounders on video after digging a hole to attract them.  Instead I found a big clam:

So Big

So Big

This fellow was quite content to just exhale into a shallow depression as I approached.  He didn’t dive for cover under the sand or clamp shut when I stroked his mantle.

There were flounders as well.  I could almost hear them as they circled the photo shoot, “Whatcha doin?”  “Got anything to eat?”

I surfaced to see Krissy and Mikey jumping off the flying bridge into 66 degree water.  It was much colder than that on the bottom, I can tell you.  Sam had already dangled her feet into the water from the swim platform.  I think she got in but had trouble getting back out so the dangling sufficed.

LD brought back several large clams to show.  They he let them go.  He also was shooting video.

We decided to call it at one dive and adjourn to Five Guys for burgers and fries.


Fun day with wonderful family and friends.


Clouds of Cunner

July 14, 2012

From having seen few fish yesterday, we spun the dial to MAX today.  Crew was Pat and Pete.  The Captain explained our options.

With good friends Linsley and Kevin Mordasky, Alan Hicks, and LD, we started at Fisherman’s Canyon south of Cathedral Rocks.  It is much more kelp-covered than it had been last year.  Maybe that ‘s why there were so many fish:

Cloud of Cunner

Cloud of Cunner

The visibility was much better than yesterday at 15-20 feet.  The water was in the low 60s in the shallows and in the upper 50s on the bottom at 35 feet.

My wetsuit has so many holes in it that I was feeling every cold degree as I lay videoing a brittle sea star.  I wasn’t exactly shivering, but I am glad that my Atlan has its new zipper.  I’ll be checking it out next weekend unless the weather gets even hotter.

We’d had cloudy skies and coolness for the first dive.  The second one was going to be somewhere even clearer and warmer if I could manage it.  I headed for the ocean side of the rocky point at the Lobster Pool restaurant.  It was COLD on the bottom as the tide came in but warm enough in the shallows to finish off the remainder of the tank I’d started on the first dive.

I found our old friend the (at least) four year old Northern Red Anemone at the base of the rock pile.  It looked healthy.

Again there were clouds of cunner up in the warmth.

Visibility ranged from 15-20 feet all the way down.

As we picked up the anchor to head for home, the sun came out.  We baked on our trip back down the Annisquam to the Cape Ann Marina.

And we get to do it all again tomorrow.