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Miracle of Life and Hydro Atlantic Dives 3/26 and 3/27

Discussion in 'Tech Trip Reports' started by ScubaFeenD, Apr 1, 2011.

  1. ScubaFeenD

    ScubaFeenD Contributor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Baltimore, MD
    My friend Eric and I decided to skip BTS this weekend and go do some diving instead of just talking about diving. We headed down to Boca Raton on Thursday and started diving on Friday.

    Since it had been a few weeks since we last dove and we are still relatively new at tech diving, we decided some workup dives were in order. We started friday afternoon with two shallow (80-95 fsw) wrecks (first wreck was the Jim Atria) and reefs to get all out gear sorted and and to just get in the water. We got to see two sea turtles fight/mating and a lemon shark, so that was pretty sweet, and of course the reef life was pretty nice otherwise. Everything went as planned and we got to try out some new gear (particularly my fancy new LV Xen, which is super sweet). After those relaxing dives we were ready for something a bit deeper the next day.

    Saturday morning we planned a dive to the Miracle of life. Mix was 25/25 with 50% deco gas. Planned avg depth was 130fsw with 30 minutes deco time. We descended onto the wreck and immediately passed through a thermocline at 120'. It went from 68F to 59F within a span of 3'--pretty cold for a wetsuit. The wreck had spent some time as a drug running ship and was sunk as part of the artificial reef program. It was upright and had a bunch of fun penetration points, which really helped the 40 minutes of BT go by pretty quickly. There was almost no life on the ship and everything was pretty sterile. Perhaps it just needs a few more years to gather some growth. We did our deco based on RD, and ended up pleasing my buddies X1 as well.

    After getting fills and some lunch we returned to the ocean to do a moderately deep dive (120') on the Rodeo 25, which had some spectacular life on it. We did a little penetration of the rear compartment looking for groupers ( a fav site of my buddy), but failed to see anything like that. We did get to see the engine though, which was pretty spectacular. We returned to the bow, shot a bag, and decoed at 20' on 100%. We did one more dive that afternoon, but the current had picked up to ~2.5 knots so we missed the wreck after a failed hotdrop and called the dive after 15minutes.

    After a good night sleep and some 21/35 fills, we were ready to take on the Hydro Atlantic wreck the next morning. We were concerned the current would pick up overnight, and it did. When we arrived on site in the morning the current was estimated at 3-3.5 knots. We planned to hot drop onto the wreck, so the captain gave us a 500ft lead and we jumped in. We ok'ed on the surface and dropped (while maintaining team contact) at ~115ft/minute, which is the fastest I have ever descended. As we broke 125' we saw the bow come into view, and it was absolutely beautiful monolith of wreck in the middle of desert. It was super cold at depth (54F), which was a bit less than comfy in a wetsuit, but the vis picked way up below the thermocline at ~120' to ~80ft of vis. We planned for a 30 minute bottom time and started moving from the bow to the back of the ship.

    Firt stop was one of the huge cargo holds, which was broken open. Swimming through was amazing! Huge 8ft sea fans were all along the side and it felt much like swimming through a huge cave (reminded me of this videos of Wakulla). At the other end we came ou on top of the deck and the view of the life there was just purely amazing. All types of corals and sponges lined the deck, and the evidence that this was an unplanned sinking was everywhere-so beautiful.

    We worked our way from the cargo hold down into the engine room, which was available from the deck. It was the coldest in this room, and the eery silence and dark made me all tingly (could have been the cold too). The engines are massive and really cool areas to explore are everywhere.

    After we had our fill of that we continued back up to the deck to work our ways back further and just enjoyed the scenery of this goliath wreck. It felt like it was abs big as the Spiegel Grove while maintaining that eery ghost ship appearance and feel while supporting grouper and huge schools of fish everywhere. We finished the dive along the back of the ship and were greeted by a huge Mula mula about 8 ft away before we hit 29 minutes, teamed up, and began our ascent. Deco on 50 % was uneventful and we hit the surface about 3 miles from the wreck.

    We finished the day with two shallow dives (60-80ft) and cleaned up with 100% on both dives. On of the dives was a relaxing jaunt to the Ancient Mariner, which is an amazingly fun shallow wreck with lots of penetration opportunities and life. That afternoon we began our drive from florida to maryland.

    The dives were spectacular and the wrecks were just amazing. I am really happy I have had the chance to dive in the West Palm/Boca area twice lately, and I cant wait to go back and visit more of the deep Wrecks there.
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2011
  2. HenrikBP

    HenrikBP Contributor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: New Mexico
    Nice write-up Tim. Sounds like some really good diving. You'll need to start bringing a camera :wink:

    Thanks for sharing,

  3. ScubaFeenD

    ScubaFeenD Contributor

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Baltimore, MD

    I'd be happy to take a ton of pictures in a few months when i go back if you are willing to donate one :shocked2::D
  4. Tug

    Tug ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    Sounds like you got some good dives in. What boat did you go out with?
  5. gsk3

    gsk3 Contributor

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: PA, USA
    Sounds like some really awesome dives! Glad you are putting all that training to use and diving safely.

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