Archive for August, 2014

It was a 10

August 24, 2014

On a scale of 1 to 10 for the perfect day of diving, it doesn’t get any better than today. We had a happy crew of folks: Jacky K. and Andy from Worcester, plus Charley Gaylord and his son, Brendan, from Newburyport and New Orleans, respectively. Veronica, John M., Alex Shurer, and Pete were aboard to fill out the roster.  We were bound north to get away from the groundswell that plagued us yesterday – and to hope for better visibility.

The Restaurant at Folly Cove looked great for the first site.  The tide had just turned and it was still very full over the jumble of huge boulders at the south edge of their “front yard.”  Lots of people were enjoying their boiled lobster while we cavorted in front of them getting suited up.  It was getting HOT!  We dunked The Captain’s Tilley Endurable in the ocean to cool him off.

Veronica and I were focused on achieving our shot sheet’s instructions.  Fred had drawn the image he wanted us to capture of Veronica swimming into the frame in her vintage gear and exiting to the right and me not moving the camera.  Click on the image below to see the details of the storyboard, including the startled fish on the dotted line:

Screen Shot Directions

Screen Shot Directions

We descended the downline and met a yellow fin coming up.  I caught it and put it on the swim platform.  When we descended again, we saw Brendan combing the bottom in one fin.  We motioned him up and he got the message.  He had been struggling to get a lobster and had lost the fin to the egger that he had to release anyway.  No harm, no foul.

Veronica and I swam away from the dusty, churned up bottom line area and found some relatively clear water to do our shot.  Relatively is the operative word here, because everywhere was about 10 feet of vis.  But was the water ever warm.  64 degrees according to divers with the appropriate gauges.

We practiced staying level and swimming in a line that allowed me to capture her whole body before she disappeared in the gloom.  Eight takes later we surfaced to compare notes.  A second session produced additional footage for Director Cecil B. DeCalhoun to choose among.

The second site was across the cove on the deep point of the western edge.  We anchored and it caught quickly.  Hum.  I took the camera and went to see the lay of it.  Wouldn’t you know?  It was down a deep hole and completely unmovable by me.  I surfaced to ask Andy to take a look and see if he could re-position it.  Later I noticed a huge cloud of kicked up silt over the area and the anchor lying perfectly in a sandy patch.  He’d fixed it for sure.

While this was going on, Veronica reported she had been practicing her scuba skills in shallow water, absorbed in locating her vest’s waist strap, when a cunner advanced on her and started pecking at her mask’s face plate.  I expect it saw its own image there and was establishing whose territory this place really was.  Veronica was shrugging her shoulders and moving her head to get it to go away, but it stayed in place persistently.  Where was I with the camera?

When Andy and Jacki returned from their dive, Andy was dragging a Danforth anchor, chain, and lots of line.  He’d found another anchor in Folly Cove.  It was very near the middle of the cove, so we couldn’t figure why anyone would have lost it over a sandy bottom.

As we surfaced with only fumes left in our tanks, we saw other folks lounging in the water in bathing suits and partial wetsuits.  It was that warm.  Veronica “blessed” us as true Hampton Beachers for braving the ocean with so little on.  “In the name of Howie Carr, Dunkin Donuts and …”  was all I remember of it but there was much laughing and carrying on.

What a fun time.

What great people.


Lobster Enters Stage Right!

August 10, 2014

We had a host of characters on board today. Most of them were engaged in videoing a rebreather-wearing guy interacting with a vintage equipment wearing gal. The gal was Veronica and the guy, Pat, was from Victor Worst‘s group in Gales Ferry, CT.  Victor runs Aqua Sports Diving Center and has been a Dive Patrol Instructor Trainer for a long while.  We also had Bob, John M., Linda and Myanna as well as Charlie Gaylord on board.  The crew was Andy J. and Pete.

As we motored up to Folly Cove for the shoot, it couldn’t have been a nicer day.  Warm, sunny, clear, with just a hint of a breeze from the east/northeast.  I anchored in 28 feet at almost high tide, near the steepest part of the wall on the west side of the cove.  We geared up for the video sequences and Director Cecil B. deCalhoun gave us our swimming orders.  The two divers were to come upon each other from opposite sides of the screen, stop and examine each others rig, then shake hands and depart in the same direction they were originally travelling.  Yeah, right. The visibility was about 10 feet side-to-side and the water temperature was in the low 60s.   V and Pat made eight passes and I think we got some footage that will serve.

On Veronica’s second dive, she encountered the biggest lobster she’d ever seen and declared it was so big, she could have ridden it.

Lady Riding a Lobster

Lady Riding a Lobster

Folly Cove never disappoints us.  There’s always something neat to see.

Danforth Day

August 9, 2014

There was anchor salvaging along with crab encounters and critters to be wrangled today. It was warm, sunny, almost cloud-free and hardly breezy in Folly Cove.  We had John Marren, Alan Hicks, Kevin and Linsley Mordasky, as well as Pete on board for a relaxing day of diving.

As John was entering the water, I scooted past him to get to the bottom first.  Kevin and Linsley had reported that there was an interesting crab hierarchy episode being played out on our downline’s mushroom anchor.  A crab had claimed it and was being challenged by a bigger one for ownership.  The original owner then ascended Linsley’s arm to escape and/or reconnoiter.   It scampered down again when it saw who owned the arm.  They were charmed by the closeness of the interaction, but I missed the chance to video it.

As I moved towards the west wall, I saw a shiny chain in the sand.  It was attached to a brand new Danforth anchor which looked like this, only newer and without the extra line:

Danforth Anchor and Chain

Danforth Anchor and Chain

I tried to move it, but it was too heavy to carry when I had the camera too.  I surfaced to see a small, green skiff with a young family on board.  I asked if they’d lost an anchor and they replied they hadn’t, but their friends had.  As the younger members continued snorkeling, the father swam with me to just over the thing.  He then dived down, grasped the end of the chain, and pulled it up – using only a mask and fins.  After dragging it into the boat, they all cheered and thanked me and continued snorkeling as I continued videoing.  Salvage Masters Are Us!

As the dive progressed, I began to notice LOTS of young lobsters in shallow depressions in the sand.  I decided to video them because five were in a line.  Passing over the biggest of the lot, I was pinched in the belly by one that leaped up to challenge me.  I felt the movement, but my suit was thick enough that it didn’t really register until I viewed what I’d shot.  It looked like an ant attacking the Graf Zeppelin.

Later, we moved to the east side of the cove and found colder water on the bottom.  In the mid 50s I’d guess.  Visibility wasn’t great, but the surface was warm enough for swimmers and I tried it out in just my swimming suit.  It’s getting there, but the ocean still seems much colder this year than it was last year.

The ride home was uneventful, but the climb up the super steep ramp was a trek.

Good day with friends.



Fun in the Shallows

August 3, 2014

We had Veronica’s nephew, Richard, on board today to try scuba. He’s 17. It was going to be breezing from the north and east, so I chose the shallow, stand-up water off Niles Beach for our dive site. We anchored in about 18 feet of water.

Niles Beach Art

Elaine Wing, Niles Beach, 1995. Oil on canvas. from the Cape Ann Museum’s collection


We also had Jacki K., Andy J., John M. and Pete along. They had all been fore-warned that this would be a day for Richard. His comfort and safety was the most important aspect of where and how we would be diving. Jacki and Andy rigged a float and flag and took off on their own.

Veronica, Richie, and I swam into the beach in our wetsuits, fins, and masks.  The weights and tanks were in the Zodiac that Richie and Veronica towed.  We later learned that the water was 61 degrees.  It was dead low tide.  The teenager took to the skills like he’d been doing them all his life.  No hesitation, no excuses.  He just did them.  He was even able to breathe from the regulator, underwater, and put on his mask and clear it while submerged.  That’s a skill in itself.  The cold water makes you want to inhale through your nose and that would be bad.

After about an hour and 1/2 or so, they swam back to the boat, in full scuba gear on the surface, with V and Richie holding hands.  I towed the inflatable.  The next skill would be to practice dropping the weight belt with Peter in charge.

After a little warm up, we proceeded to explain clearing the ears and descending a downline.  He got it right away.  With V’s assistance, we slowly submerged and cleared our ears while looking at each other.  On the sandy bottom, it was murky and about 5 feet of visibility.  I took his hand and we left the downline for a look-see.  He was pointing out skates and hermit crabs to me.  And I’m pretty sure he was having fun.

After a little while, I decided that his 800 psi must be running out so we returned to the downline and ascended slowly, looking up and with an arm overhead to avoid hitting the boat.  Success!

And then the sun broke through the mist and clouds.

To the sound of loud claps and hurrahs from the assembled crew, he climbed out of his tank and backpack, handed them up to Andy and clambered aboard with everything else still in place.   What a trooper!

With V’s sandwiches and Andy’s ponchkis , we were having a picnic as we toweled dry and got dressed.

Richie pulled the anchor and we were off, back to the marina, to contend with the crowds that were gathering for the weigh-in of the Bluefin Blowout tuna contest.  I think we had more fun than they did.