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This past weekend the 24th and 25th Myself and STSIDDALL Booked a 5 dive trip with the new owners of 4 fathoms dive shop in Port Sanilac. We were to meet, so we thought at the Port Sanilac marina at 8:00am on Saturday. Since this trip was booked through our local dive shop we didnt get all of the details. It seems John the captain of the boat doesnt keep his boat in the water full time. So after a 30 minute delay and wondering were the heck everyone was we found the rest of our party and realized we had to go to the public DNR boat luanch. So note to rest of wreckers. if you book through John you go to the public DNR boat luanch to start your trip. So after a quick hurry up and load were waiting on you guys we set off. We all decided we wanted to dive the Northstar. We arrive at the Northstar and got our breifing. The one thing we were told was 90% of divers get confused on this wreck so really pay attention were your at. Well we hit the water and descend. and the vis at the wreck was about 10 to 15 feet. water was 47 deg at depth. I was leading the dive. once hitting close to deco obligations and air limits it was time to come up. Well lets just say the 90% rule is still in effect because we had no idea where the line was so we just surfaced and did the surface swim to the boat. It was an ok wreck could have been better if the vis would have been better. The next dive was the Regina. We all have dove this wreck before. So this time we spent more time peeking in port holes and hatches this vis today was around 30 feet so it was a really good dive we dove the max time staying out of deco obligations and really saw more on this wreck then any other time diving this wreck. Dive three of Saturday was to be a night dive Since most of our party had scrubbed the dive myself and Scott were the only ones to go we decided lets just go now and make it an evening dive rather then wait until it gets dark. We decide on the sport. So about 7:30 we head out to the sport were going along at a pretty good clip when all of a sudden the Captain shuts down the boat. I thought wow the bouy must have snuck up on him. then all of a sudden he grabs the fire extingisher. and pulls the cover off of one of the motors smoke just comes a billowing out. The first reaction is OH %#@* . After we all have a look see we see that a seal is leaking from the transmission and the oil is just burning on the exhaust. The captain puts in some Tranny fluid and off to the sport we go. The sport was a good relaxing dive after the little motor problem delay it was now close to a night dive. the max depth on the sport is 50ft so we had lots of bottom time and really spent a lot of time looking around. Saw a new type of invasive species. Saw purple Gobies never have seen purple ones before. So on the way back we had to make a pit stop in Lexington so the captain can buy some more tranny fluid and had a nice ride back in the dark and watch fire works being shot up in Sarnia Ontario our whole trip back.
Sunday Moring we leave on time at 8am since we now now we meet at the DNR boat launch. We decide on the New York. The New York is Deep 118 to the sand. So our Plan was to try and get the most bottom time and see as much as we could on what we had figured since were both diving air is 19 minutes. We would do a fast free fall as fast as our ears would clear to get to the wreck as fast as possible. To use less air going down. So at the line we give the OK sign lets dive and I pointed my head down and my toes up and away I went. If you have never done this before this is as close to flying as you will ever get I had a grin on my face the whole way down. I reached the smoke stack of the New york with about 7ft vis at 89ft. I slow my descent and look for Scott. he is right behind me. We give the ok sign to each other and We had decided in pre plan to head north on the wreck once reaching it. I start to head north since the vis was only 7ft or less. I keep doing a buddy check I look around no Scott. so I turn back. I see scott snapping some pictures of the smoke stack. so I hang back waiting for him to get done. He gives me the ok sign and I head north again. a couple of kicks and I dont see Scott again. I turn back on my way back I look down into a cargo hold hatch and see a huge plume of silt rising up and I'm Thinking what in the heck just went through there. I see Scott hanging on the line. He points to his waist and I knew immediatly what the silt was his weight belt. I give him the OK sign and down I go I knew exactly where to look. Into the cargo hold I go and Reach into the silt cloud and find his weight belt. Now Wow It takes a half a tank of air to get myself enough bouyancy to get me and his weight belt off of the bottom. To get his weight belt to him. I hand off his weight belt he procceeds to put it on and we give the OK sign and head north again. Now short on Air and close to deco limits I reach the Stern of the ship. Look around and no Scott again so I head back to the line and decided to hang there as long as air and deco limits would allow. Once I couldnt wait anymore I look up to head up the line and in the limited vis I could see Scotts fins dangling on the line He wears Bright Yellow fins. So I relaxed and made a slow accent stopping at 50 feet and then again at 20 feet to off gas a bit. When we reach the surface Scott said he was just hyper ventelating a bit from all of the stress of losing his weight belt and trying to get it back on. I told him it was ok and lucky it happened near the line so you had something to grab a hold of instead of going up like a triton missile to the surface. So the New York I cant tell you much about it didnt see to much of it. It is on my list to see again. The last dive of the weekend was the Col Williams. This wreck is in 70 ft of water So after an hour surface interval we head down this vis here was much much better probably 30 ft or more. The temps was reading 51 on my computer the warmest of the 5 dives but for some reason it just seemed like it was the coldest. After Max time allowed before deco and enjoying this dive with Scott taking lots of pictures we head up. Hanging on the line doing our safety stop the vis was so good We just hung there looking down at the wreck and the bubbles coming up from the other divers it was the coolest thing. Scott snapped some pictures of that and it was time to head up. A great dive. Except for a few minor snafus it was a great weekend of wreck diving. Cant wait to do it again.
Thanks for the report Ted. Sounds like a pretty decent trip. Scary moment losing a weight belt at depth. That would certainly make my hyperventilate as well! Good thing you were there. Buddy diving at work! Once I gain some more experience I hope to begin doing some GL wreck diving.
Holy smokes, Ted. That is way too much excitement for me, glad I didn't go! I dived those same wrecks (except the Sport) about a month ago with Rec & Tec. The viz on the New York was way over 50 feet on the bottom. The water was a bit murky at the surface but when we hit 80 feet on the way down it was like dropping out of the clouds, and we could see almost the whole wreck from end to end. I want to do that one again, and have a better look at the engine(s). When I got home I started reading more about that wreck and one of the main highlights is the unusual oscillating steam engines -- the one thing I didn't pay a whole lot of attention to, there is so much other stuff to see there. I also read somewhere that one of the engines was recovered and put in the Smithsonian, so I want to see for myself if there's really one engine missing and have a look at the oscillating engine(s) that is still there. The viz was not nearly as good on the Col. Williams, and I know we've all done that wreck before. The cool thing on that wreck is the bowsprit is still standing proud. Then we went back out the next week & did the North Star & Regina. The North Star stern section is cool if you like big steam engines. It's a huge triple expansion engine just sitting upright on the bottom of Lake Huron, surrounded by a bunch of flattened-out wreckage. You can still see the red & white paint on the engine in the few spots not covered by zebras, and a few brass fittings, too. Viz was OK but wasn't fantastic there, either. Then we did the Regina, and Viz was a little better but still nothing like the New York the week before, except inside the wreck the water was crystal clear. There wasn't any excitement on those trips like you guys had. Sorry if my report on those wrecks isn't as exciting to read as yours!
That dive had a bit more excitement than I wanted. I'm a bit embarrassed to say that I didn't use the proper procedure for doning a weight belt under water, and as a result exerted myself too much and couldn't catch my breath. I ascended a bit and that helped.
Guess I'll have to try to dive it again some day...
Wow, that is a lot of excitement! Glad it worked out and you guys had fun. I am, as Ray said, putting together a Regina/Price trip this Sunday. Should be a good time. The Regina is a cool dive. Massive prop. Haven't been on the Price yet. Still have two spots if anyone is interested. Three if Ray can't make it.