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Advanced penetration of the Spiegel Grove Wreck

Discussion in 'Wreck Diving' started by norwhal, Nov 19, 2020.

  1. norwhal

    norwhal Banned

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: on SI
    50
    17
    Hello,

    My 2 dive buddies and myself will be diving in Key Largo next month and I plan to do some advanced penetration of the Spiegel Grove wreck. What follows is my intended plan written as instructions to my dive buddies, and I'd appreciate feedback and tips and possible drawbacks if any.

    I am solo certified with close to 500 dives including many on wrecks using a reel. I carry a 30cf pony bottle with redundant cutting tools, signalling devices, second reel and smb for deployment at depth if necessary. My buddies are experienced AOW Nitrox certified divers but no experience with a reel. I will show them how to use the reel and probably even do a practice run through a building prior to our dive. I have dived the Spiegel Grove about a dozen times over the past few years, more recently with a divemaster who knows the wreck well and took us on a personal tour down a few of the internal corridors of the wreck.

    Ideally we will tie off to one of the cranes amidships. If we tie off near the stern we will have a long swim and it will deplete our gas supply but we should still be able to do a significant penetration if conditions allow (meaning not too much current and reasonable visibility).

    Should we tie off near the bow we will have to modify our penetration and do it in reverse from what is described below.

    We will enter just forward of amidships on the port side lowest level just above the expansive open bay area that originally housed the amphibious landing vehicles when the Spiegel Grove was in operation.

    Just prior to entering the ship I will tie off the reel and deploy it as I swim down the first corridor which as I recall is the longest stretch and there will be no visible light at the end. If memory serves me correctly we make a right turn and will find the Snoopy Mascot. As you follow me you use the line as a guide and you can even make a circle around it with your fingers but do not pull or put too much strain on it! Keep your fins clear of the bottom, it can easily silt out.

    After the first long corridor there are a few more turns and we should end up in a very open area that has several large windows with egress to the outside of the ship.

    At this point we don't need the reel, and if gas remaining allows us to do so, rather than us ultimately retracing our steps, I will hand the reel off to someone and rapidly go back along the path we just took, untie the reel and wind it around my hand as I swim back. You can continue deploying the line and exit the wreck. As soon as you see me coming down the final stretch you can begin reeling in the line. It won't be possible to do it any sooner because the reel line will probably be tied off in a few places to avoid slack and avoid it cutting into a corner which gives the illusion that the line has disappeared into a side wall of the wreck and can result in disorientation when returning along the line.

    At any time when two divers are handling the reel and line, one quick pull means "STOP" and 2 quick pulls means "Continue Reeling".

    At that point we have the option of returning through a different corridor using the same technique or heading back to the mooring line swimming outside the ship.

    If we should run low on gas we can ascend on any of the other mooring lines on the wreck.

    There are some interior stairs to lower darker levels of the wreck, if possible I'd like to check those out, if only for a quick look around.
     
  2. Jim Lapenta

    Jim Lapenta Contributor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Canonsburg, Pa
    17,260
    9,419
    I see a real possibility of someone dying on this. Non-overhead trained divers in a wreck this size making multiple changes in course with dubious sounding tie-offs.
    How much gas will this require?
    Who has the highest SAC rate?
    How many cylinders are required for the non-overhead trained guys whose breathing rate starts to go up when they realize they have no idea what the hell they are doing?
    Why would two people be handling the reel?
    How much deco is planned as a contingency?
    What irresponsible dive boat is going to agree to take this planned dive out?

    "At this point we don't need the reel, and if gas remaining allows us to do so, rather than us ultimately retracing our steps, I will hand the reel off to someone and rapidly go back along the path we just took, untie the reel and wind it around my hand as I swim back. You can continue deploying the line and exit the wreck. As soon as you see me coming down the final stretch you can begin reeling in the line. It won't be possible to do it any sooner because the reel line will probably be tied off in a few places to avoid slack and avoid it cutting into a corner which gives the illusion that the line has disappeared into a side wall of the wreck and can result in disorientation when returning along the line."
    What in the Sam Hill kind of plan is this? Crazy dangerous.
     
    Pweintz, Scraps, Hoyden and 17 others like this.
  3. BrackaFish

    BrackaFish Contributor

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Port Orange Fl
    431
    722
    +1 for what @Jim Lapenta says. Taking two untrained divers on basically what is a “trust me” Dive is recipe for trouble. You might get away with it or the rest of us might be reading about it in the Accident forum. Way too much upside risk IMHO
     
    Hoyden and BlueTrin like this.
  4. johndiver999

    johndiver999 Contributor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Gainesville FL
    1,858
    1,949
    I think it is a great idea that you are soliciting input on your dive plan.

    My grandfather occasionally used to refer to Sam Hill, never knew what that meant, but he only said it when he was mad.
     
    laikabear and OTF like this.
  5. tursiops

    tursiops Marine Scientist and Master Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: U.S. East Coast
    12,163
    10,102
    The plan is a great intro to a novel about lost divers and the family grief that ensues.
    It would f***ing stupid to actually dive the plan.
     
    Coztick likes this.
  6. norwhal

    norwhal Banned

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: on SI
    50
    17
    Last time we did the penetration when we followed the DM we swam all the way from the stern and were able to penetrate from amidships to where the superstructure ends near the bow and return along a different corridor and return to the stern tie off with gas to spare.

    I have the highest SAC rate but have the 30cf pony bottle as redundancy/reserve, the other 2 divers are quite good on gas consumption.

    They have experience being inside wrecks just no experience with a reel.

    There is no planned DECO we are not certified tech divers.

    No other cylinders besides the AL80's on our backs and my 30cf pony bottle.

    I was not planning on discussing this with the Dive Op.
     
  7. tursiops

    tursiops Marine Scientist and Master Instructor ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: U.S. East Coast
    12,163
    10,102
    The novel gets better and better!
     
  8. norwhal

    norwhal Banned

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: on SI
    50
    17
    This thread was not started for your amusement, if you've got nothing positive to contribute please consider posting elsewhere.
     
  9. Manatee Diver

    Manatee Diver Stop throwing lettuce at me! ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: None - Not Certified
    Location: Tampa Bay, FL
    2,537
    2,490
    The fact that you are talking about running a line means that you aren't confident in your skills or that of your buddies. That dive is routinely done by guides without a line, but they know the wreck and how to herd cats well enough to get people through relatively safely. So I would suggest just hiring a guide, split between three people I would imagine it would be fairly inexpensive.

    Also the way you are talking about running a reel, isn't how reels are run. Trust me on this.

    Finally cave line is cheap, you don't reel it up. You tie it off, cut it, and put a line arrow with the name of someone you don't like on it like Cyrill Figgis. :rofl3: ETA2: This is a joke don't leave line on the SG.

    ETA: When I read the title I was expecting someone talking about going to the engine room.
     
  10. norwhal

    norwhal Banned

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: on SI
    50
    17
    I'm running a reel because neither I nor my buddies are all that familiar with the layout of the wreck. Just like experienced wreck divers do quite often.

    Yes I know a reel is run as a way in, and a way out. My plan to go back and retrieve the line so we can explore a different passageway on the way back is what makes this plan different from a typical penetration.

    I'm liking your idea of requesting a guide, I will ask if one is available.

    *An earlier question pertained to how will two divers handle the reel at the same time. To clarify- When we get to the end of the corridor and have a clear egress point, I will hand off the reel to another diver, swim back along the route just taken, unclip the reel from the starting point and return to the diver holding the reel. They are free to continue deploying the reel until they are outside the wreck.
     

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