Independence II trip out of Cape May to the liner Northern Pacific
The Northern Pacific was a 509′ passenger liner that caught fire and sank while being towed for a retrofit in 1922. Today she lies upside down in 145 fsw ~30 miles off of Cape May, NJ. We were tied into the wreck at the main break which is I believe about midships. The sand is about 140′ and it is possible to get a little deeper inside the wreck. The visibility was a very nice 40′ or so, and gave a great overview of the layout of this huge wreck. The bottom temp was about 50 degrees. The wreck rises 20-30′ off the bottom and access is easy at the break. I ran my reel inside and was able to penetrate ~150 feet into the wide open interior. I was scanning the bottom (formerly the ceiling) for artifacts but it was quite silty including several large mounds of mud. Caution was necessary to avoid siltout and my line even became buried at one point.
Outside the wreck again I did a little tour of debris field that is off one side of the wreck. I noticed a couple scallops and several big blackfish. I came across a nice fluke and as I reached for my knife I quickly remember I didn’t bring the big one. I remembered hearing that if you hold your open bag in front of the fish’s face and slap its tail it will swim into your bag. Well this big flattie must have seen that trick because he had no trouble sidestepping into open water, and my heart sank as I watched my dinner swimming away. My half hour was soon up and was not nearly enough time to see much of this huge wreck.
The seas held out and most everyone did 2 nice dives. Just goes to show you can’t listen to NOAA. Other divers were more successful in gathering dinner and a bunch of scallops and several lobsters were boated. I would have to say the Northern Pacific is another “don’t miss” wreck!