With the democratic presidential debate taking place at Drexel I decided it would be in my best interests to avoid the zoo and take a break (plus my parking lot was closed) and take the opportunity to sneak out on a late season trip to the U-869 on the Independence with some friends.
I’m sure most wreck divers are familiar with the story of U-869 which lies in 230 fsw off the coast of New Jersey, but in case you have been stuck in space for the past 10 years be sure to check out the links below. Bill Trent and I were tasked with tying in which was a snap since Capt Dan dropped the shot literally right next to the gun mount which is just aft of the blast damage at the control room. The conditions on the wreck were pretty nice with at least 20-25 feet of dark visibility. We headed forward and poked around looking for some of the monster lobsters known to reside on this wreck. I watched as Bill reached for a lobster practically in the open next to a life boat canister when I realized he was about to grab a decent sized monkfish by the tail. For a second I almost let him land on it because I’m sure it would have been entertaining, but I had a change of heart and flashed him with my light, and he was able to take an alternate route to the bug and bag it. I moved forward and grabbed 2 “smaller” bugs in the 3-4 lb range. Coming back I spotted a huge claw through a hole in the top of a pipe. I managed to get my hand on the beast. I thought I had it by the carapace but it turned out it was its knuckle! After an epic battle, I extracted the 8.5 pound sea monster from the pipe and into the bag it went with the other 2. Now that I had dinner (for a while) covered I poked around the conning tower and control room area (which appears to have collapsed a bit since last year) before heading up. I really need to upgrade my camera system so I can take it on these deeper wrecks because there are some really spectacular shots to be had.
Hitler’s Lost Sub (highly recommended)