Archive for July, 2014

Still Cold on the Bottom

July 26, 2014

Easy, high tide ramp for loading gear for our trip today. It was John Marren, Peter and The Captain with me at the helm.

I chose Folly Cove because of the predicted 10-20 knots from the southwest that was forecast. It was hot and relatively calm in the cove and we were joined by 17 other boats at anchor by the time we were ready to leave.

John jumped in with just his dive skin and boots and clambered out quickly.  I knew it was going to be cold, but I didn’t expect my face to feel so numb.  Diving wet isn’t all that bad if you keep swimming.  Stopping for a video moment leads to chilly shivers when the critters won’t cooperate.

The water was murky and yellowish on the top with visibility of only about 5 feet.  Deeper, the visibility improved to 10-15 feet, but the cold water made staying there a problem.  I made two dives with my little bomb of a tank and saw curious flounder, two skates, and two hermit crabs – one dragging the other by the claw.  Was he inviting her to dinner…or to be dinner?  Maybe she wanted his shell and he just wanted to hold hands.

Hermit Crab Cartoon


The fun of Folly Cove is observing the little animals that live there as well as the big ones.  The flounder were circling me and the camera, seeming to say, “When are you going to dig a hole?”  They expect to get something to eat from divers.  I found several tracing the track our plow anchor made as we settled in at the start of the day.  They were lined up along the track like cows at a feeding trough.  There must have been little worms or small sea snails on that buffet table.

The day was fun and the diving was better than being home and doing chores, that’s for sure.

A Lot of Laughs

July 20, 2014

It’s never dull when we have Linda Giles and Myanna on board.  Andy and his wife, Ann, got to meet them as well as Liz (The Captain’s oldest daughter) and her husband, Mike.  Veronica was crewing as well as feeding everyone.  Pete was regaling us with tales of Linda’s Easy Diver trips of the past 32 years.  Fred brought her gift of the framed first trip’s log page to prove it.

We had a little breeze from the northeast, so decided to head south.  There’s a big fish weir on the corner of Kettle Island where we normally anchor, so we started at Diver’s Leap in Manchester-by-the-Sea.  It’s a big bluff of granite holding a funky, many glass windowed mansion overlooking the gap between Kettle Island and Magnolia Harbor.  The water was cold, but not as freezing as yesterday.  The weather was cloudy, but more humid and there were tiny glimpses of sun.  There were almost no other boats out.

I videoed a crab munching on a slab of something who didn’t mind the attention at all.  There was also a small moon jelly that was tumbling along on the bottom’s surge.

White moon jellyfish

White moon jellyfish

For the second dive, I moved us to Saddle Rock at the corner of the Coolidge Reservation.  It turned out to be deeper and darker as a result.  Veronica was game to try another series of passes by my video camera, wearing the double-hose regulator, a backpack, Cressi full foot fins, and her little bomb of a tank.  I think we got at least one good sequence from our dive.

She said she wasn’t cold, but I think it was because of all the swimming she had to do to accommodate the director, Cecil B. DeCalhoun’s, directions to me, the videographer.  “Have her make two passes over your right shoulder – don’t move the camera to follow her.  Then have her return and swim towards you and go over your right shoulder – don’t move the camera to follow her.  And don’t forget not to move the camera.”  Got it, sir.  Got it.

We sailed through a low tide Blynman Cut bridge on our way home and had to struggle up a steep ramp to the parking lot.  But, thanks to Andy’s Polish donuts, Veronica’s spinach sandwiches, Myanna’s Oreo’s, and Liz’ grapes, I was up for it.

Good fun with great people.


All Around the Cape

July 19, 2014

Today was coolish, cloudy-ish, and calm-ish.  We decided to go to Thacher Island for the first dive with Linsley and Kevin Mordasky, Linda and Kerry Hurd, and Pete.  On the way, we saw lots of folks in every kind of human-powered watercraft participating in the around Cape Ann race called the Blackburn Challenge.  It’s featured on the GoodMorningGloucester blog.

Here’s a picture of the island by another contributor to GMG, Manny Simoes:

Grey day at the Dead Light at Thacher Island.

Grey day at the Dead Light at Thacher Island.

We anchored in front of the lighthouse on the left – the dead light.  The water was murky and cold with lots of particulate matter in the way of my video camera.  Kevin had 57 on the surface 54 on the bottom and 45 on the sand at the bottom’s bottom.  Diving wet wasn’t the best way to go today.

For the second site, we moved north to the shadow of protection afforded by Gap Cove in Rockport.  Kevin was smart and changed into his drysuit for this session.  Again it was dark on the bottom because the sun wasn’t out.  Maybe it was a little warmer because I didn’t go as deep, but no country for videographers.

We still had fun circumnavigating the island with good people.

Adventures in Vintage Scuba Land Plus a Sha-a-ahk!

July 14, 2014

Where should I start? How about with the wind? It was whipping out of the southwest at 16-20 knots. We and about 10 other boats headed for shelter in Folly Cove on the north side of the island. I anchored near the east side in a bouldery field to be sure the plow anchor didn’t drag. Andy did a great job of setting it underwater to be double-sure we could go diving and expect to see the boat upon surfacing.

Ilya was taking his first dives with a new DiveRite dry suit, Alan Hicks was diving wet, John M. was snorkeling, Veronica and I were working on a project of The Captain’s (more on that later), Andy was crew along with Pete, and Bob B. was visiting on Dive Patrol stuff.  There was no rush to get dressed because we were going to do both dives in this place, due to the conditions.

We had received a vintage double-hosed regulator as a gift and Alan brought a pair of full foot Cressi fins for the project to video Veronica wearing as much of it as we could manage.  She had on only her wetsuit, a backpack holding her “little bomb” of a tank, the new (old) regulator and the Cressi fins plus her weightbelt and mask.  She certainly looked the part.  I recorded her tentatively descending the down line while inhaling from a constantly flowing mouthpiece.  Her only instructions?  Just don’t take it out of your mouth.

Here’s her take on the day:

We surfaced and excitedly exchanged perceptions about the experience.  Later, after viewing the video, The Captain gave me instructions about how to improve the images I captured next time.  Wha-a-a?  Look like this is going to be an ongoing endeavor.

Then Andy surfaced with news that he had seen a shark in the little cove, in about 15 feet of water.  He noticed that the fish suddenly scooted and then a shark appeared.  It wasn’t a dogfish, he was sure.  Cooooool!

Maybe it was a juvenile sand tiger like the one that was caught in Gloucester Harbor earlier in the week.  See the GoodMorningGloucester blog entry here:

Maybe we’ll see this next week




Yellow, Fuzzy Warmth or Clear But Freezin’

July 12, 2014

We had three guys for their first dive of the season – Bob, Al and Will. We went north to the restaurant at Folly Cove. I anchored facing the Lobster Pool’s yard and picnic benches with a little breeze keeping us steady. Today, we were helped by John M. and Pete.

As I gathered myself for a descent, I noticed how golden the first few feet were. Maybe pollen or some sea weedy stuff had been blown to this part of the cove. The deeper I went, the clearer and colder it got. By the time I hit the bottom at about 40 feet, it was seeping icily into my boots, mitts, and hood. I later learned it was 45 degrees down here. The tide was full and I saw many places with a thermocline’s wivery, oily traces.

My 2500 pounds was used up quickly, it seemed. The little bomb of a tank is perfect for shallower places, but goes fast on deeper dives.

We moved over to the other side of the cove for the second dive and, thanks to Bob and John, there were refreshing snacks.

Watermelon from Bob

Watermelon from Bob

This dive was over rocks with lots of Irish Moss covering them.  I had a hard time getting the camera to stay put for any swim by shots.  I checked the anchor and found it dragging on the sand, so I reset it by burying it up to its shoulders and straightening its chain.  This made it easier for Will to pull when we were done.

As we waited for Al and Will to finish their tour, I noticed more than 20 boats had chosen this cove for their Saturday afternoon picnic.  The wind was cool and refreshing.  The water was still cold, but not as as clear  here.

Oh, well.   We got wet.   We had fun.  We snarfed down pieces of Al’s “In-Vince-able” sandwich from Big Y and John’s orange slices.

Good times with great people.