VBTech Invitational Dive
Once again I am able to make a dive report that involves at least one dive were my first deco stop was at least 50ft deeper than Dr Blacks' deepest dive. So all you out there who even think Dr. Black has clue, trust me he is a fool, there are those that do the dives and those that CLAIM to know how to do them.
On Thursday Jarrod Jablonski gave a talk on Cave diving (WKPP) with video and diving the "Britannic", he also covered some deco discussion. Most of the 30 plus divers who were at this meeting were wreck divers, so they were a little slow to the cave diving, but really picked up to the wreck dive.
Several of our invited guest began showing up on Thursday so they could dive on Friday here. I was not on that dive, so it had to be uneventful ;-). On Friday those not diving began coming into town. Those who came were Al Marvelli, Mike Kane, Jarrod Jablonski, George Irvine, Pina, Mike Rodriguez, (MJB) Mike J Blitch, and Christina Young.
At 6am on Saturday the dive boat "Miss Lindsey" departed for the wreck "Mexicana" depth 140ft, 60 miles out. The forecast of 3-5 ft seas had a few concerned at the dock. But the weather man was wrong and I never saw anything bigger than 3ft. But Pina who stayed sick most of the trip, may disagree with me. Even as sick as she was, the girl did the dives and could even "puke" over the side wearing her doubles, she was a tough cookie.
Christina Young, a hardcore wreck diver from NJ, was the toughest female diver I have ever seen. A former body builder, she is in very good shape and pleasant to look at, I think most of the guys who were at the boat when she arrived were a bit taken to see her carry her doubles in front of her about 4 -6 inches off her chest, down the dock and onto the boat and place them on the bench. Most of the guys here take the easy way and carry them on our back, they are in poor shape next to her.
Al Marvelli, is a mate on a dive boat from NJ I think and also had no problems with the boat or seas. I think he is hooked on diving, as he made dives on Friday, Friday Night, and Saturday.
Mike Rodriguez, a ocean/wreckdiver from FL was very capable, he does some of the best wreck dives in FL and is becoming well known for being part of a small group in FL that are taking on the very deep wrecks there. He was very quiet and I wish we could have talked more.
MJB, is a diver from FL and was able to get on the trip at the last minute when Bill Cleary could not make it. He is a young man with a bright future in diving. A bit quiet also, but a very likable guy.
Mike Kane, George Irvine, and JJ are well known to diving.
On Saturdays dive those also on the boat were, Tom Evans & Debbie Adams ;-), Dave Widen, Brad Beskin, Todd & Allyson Clagett, Rick Atkins, Jim Cobb, Tim Hatfield, Neal Davis, Mike Scammon, mates Becky & Mike, and Capt Charlie.
Below is how I saw things and may not be how everyone else saw it.
When we arrived to the site I could see that the conditions on a resent dive there had gone, the blue warm surface had gone and had been replaced with a green one. Christina and I had planned to buddy up (Cobb was jealous) , I had also brought both my scooters, as Cobb was going to borrow one. MHK had his Gavin and Cobb used that, so Christina used my scooter. She also plan to video the wreck. With a bit of working I was able to get her to try my alum 02 forty as a stage instead of her tank. I was unable to get her to place it on her left side as she informed me that the 02 belongs on the right so one does not breath the wrong gas and that is were she is used to having it, WTF ???? This really confused me because she only had one stage. I do not want to see any unkind flames about this on the list, trust me when I tell you, she is a great diver and I would dive with her anytime.
I entered the water first and floated on the surface until she got in and was past down her camera. We scootered down to the wreck and these were the conditions, down to 20 ft/25ft of vis/ temp 70, 20 to around 40 ft down 60 degrees, below 40 ft 55 degrees vis gets better. On the bottom 49 degrees/ 35 ft vis /a dark 40 forty. It took a few minutes for her to learn to drive the scooter and work the video at the same time. In no time she had it under control.
I had told Capt Charlie I would be sending up our wreck hook that was lost on our last trip to the wreck. I went inside the wreck, where it had become wedged and pulled it out to the side of the wreck. Christina video me as I correctly inflated my lift bang using my second stage exhaust gas as I breathed into it, to send it up. All this was a waste, because a boy, instead of man, was sent to get it and let it float away.:-(
Christina, tried to talk to me underwater, but I could not understand her. She gave up and wrote on her wrist slate how she loved the view of the "Engine". I am sure we will see several good photos of this on her site. As well as mine.Soon our dive was over,on my way up I began to notice that I never saw George , JJ, Pina, or Kane during my dive. At my 20ft stop, I saw all four enter the water, they had waited till we were all off the wreck to dive. Makes me wonder, did they do that because they don't dive with strokes or was it because they didn't want us to see them looking for the anchor line;-)
We arrived back at the dock around 8pm, a long day. Several of the quest remained (Mike Kane, Mike Rodriguez, and MJB) to go back out with us to dive the Battleship Washington depth 300ft and an unknown in 140ft. The boat departed the dock at midnight for the 60 mile run, the plan was to mark an unknown on the way out to ensure it was there and that would be our second dive of the day on the way in if it was there.
We marked the unknown wreck and moved on to dive the Washington, after several attempts to hook the wreck, Kane and I were going to scooter down behind the hook and tie in. He would use his Gavin and I would use my modified dacor.But during our analyzing of our gas the wreck was hooked.
So we went back to the first plan. Rick Atkins, Eric Deister, Gary Sanderson, and Rodney King went in as the first team and tie in. Allyson met them on the return and came back with a slate to report that we were hooked into the wreck, but a secure tie in could not be done.
Team 2 was sent in during the deco of team one, team 2 was lead by Dave Widen, with him was Todd Clagett, Mike Fantone, and Bill Ripley. They also could not do a secure tie in and chose not venture to far from the hook. Teams one and two went uneventful for the most part, some were treated to a visit by a large sunfish during their deco.
Team 3 had more than enough happen that should keep the list rolling for days. Team 3 went as follows ( COKE ALERT) MJB and Mike Rodriguez would go a few minutes ahead of Kane and myself at the end of our dive I would pull the hook. Kane and myself had planned to scooter as much of the wreck as we could, while the other 2 would do a small portion of the wreck, we all had plans for 15- 20 minutes BT. MJB and Mike went in about 5 minutes ahead of Kane and I.
I was scootering down the anchor line with Kane just behind me. As the bottom came into view all I could see was sand NO wreck, NO lights from MJB or Mike R., the hook was out of the wreck and they were on the wreck. I broke out my wreck reel with 540ft of line on it, clipped it to the anchor and scootered to were the wreck should be to get the others, MHK followed me on his Gavin, my scooter was now at 286ft and working, but someone had stepped on the trigger on the boat and cracked it before the dive. At that time even at depth it was OK.
The wreck is turtled and is 624 x 97 x 30 a very large site. It has up to 240ft of relief. The hook was about 80ft from the wreck and we found MJB&MIke R coming back from the rudder. I signaled them to follow my line and called the dive. I looked at my spool and could see we were about 250ft from the hook. I cut my line and placed the reel on my right chest D ring .
Just after leaving the wreck my scooter sucked up the dangling line from my reel and went into the prop. I did a controlled crash into the bottom to untangle it. I unwind the prop to get the line out and a short crank of the reel and I was ready to go, Kane watched as I undid the first CF. MJB & Mike R were still in hot pursuit of the anchor line as it was moving at a slow pace away from everyone.
I got my shit together and took off again, it was only a matter of a minute or so that my scooter sucked up the line again but this time when I let off the trigger it broke off with the scooter still running. I again crashed into the bottom, but this time the scooter also sucked up the loose line we were following back to the anchor line.GD I thought, this is how it happens, I was now having a CF after a CF, I whipped out my knife and started cutting line off the scooter and me, MHK kept a safe distance so he would not be caught in the CF of line his self. I knew he would help if I needed it, but he had to be laughing at this point. Keep in mind the GD scooter is still running, and I beat the handle till it stopped running. I still had line in the prop so I did not waste time getting it out as I had no trigger to operate the scooter.
I signal to MHK and I hung on to his crotch strap from behind him and he towed me, line, and broken scooter to the anchor line. This took about 2 minutes to get to the anchor line towing me. The deco portion was uneventful, I don't think I could have taken any more shit from that scooter. I past the scooter and reel to Brad Beskin who was working as support diver and he took it up to the boat.
After getting on the boat I was greeted by everyone to attend my own cookout this year, the sad part was both MJB and Mike Ridriguez saw the hook out of the wreck when they got there, it was no big deal to them, as that is how they do it in FL all the time.
The second dive produced a few lobsters, I did a 2 hr SI and then a 20 minute dive to see it max depth was 143ft.I will place a lot of photos of this past weekend on my site in a few days. You will love them I'm sure.