Posted by: mcjangles | December 30, 2007

San Jose 12-30-2007

Today the Tuna Seazure sailed with a full boat to one of my favorite southern Jersey wrecks the San Jose. This 330’ passenger freighter sank in a collision with the Santa Elisa in January 1942 in the very early days of “Operation Drumbeat”. Today she sits in 110 fsw off Atlantic City. The wreck has been blown up and dragged and although the term “steel junkyard” definitely applies, the outline of this old banana boat can still be found and followed by the careful eye. Also there are some spots that survived intact allowing some minor penetrations. My favorite spot on this big wreck site is the huge steering quadrant in the stern, which is picturesque even on the poorest days. You can get underneath and looking up at the silhouetted “wheel” with fish swarming it is really cool. Unfortunately it can be hard to get divers to fill a trip to this wreck as the bottom in this area is silty mud which gives this wreck a bad rap based on the potential for lousy bottom conditions.

The day started off brisk and required nimble footing on the frosty dock but we got loaded up a little early (or late depending on who you ask…) to try and beat feet to the weather that was supposed to pick up later, and headed out just as the sun was rising.

Meg vs. Optima

The Atlantic cooperated and was nearly flat as we cleared the inlet and only picked up slightly as we got further out. Dan Martinez got us tied in pretty quickly and we wasted no time heading in. I was excited as this was the first taste of salt for my new Meg. Conditions on the bottom were dark but the visibility was decent in the 10’ range and I could make out other divers lights from much further away. Water was about 44oF from top to bottom. We were tied into a high spot on the starboard side of the wreck. I followed the hull forward for a bit and examined a row of empty portholes hoping one had been missed by previous divers to no avail. I turned back to the tie in when I reached the end of the section and tied off my reel before heading aft. I managed to find the steering quadrant which never seems to get old. There are also some rooms you can penetrate in this area. Proving the old “different day, different wreck” adage, I rounded a corner and in the dark conditions found what I thought was a large opening into the wreck which turned out to be a very cool swim through between the rudder and hull that I had never noticed/done before. I took my time poking around back to the anchor and headed up at the 60 minute mark for a chilly deco. Everyone opted for 1 dive which made the sweetest part of the trip… back at the dock by 12:30!

Not a bad day

More info on the San Jose

Operation Drumbeat (copies currently $0.34!!)

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