Posted by: mcjangles | May 27, 2008

Ayuruoca – May 25, 2008

The pinch of gas prices was evident Sunday as the Independence II was the lone boat leaving the inlet in calm flat seas on a holiday weekend. This made a leisurely 14 mile cruise to the Mudhole where we hooked into the stern section of the Ayuruoca also known locally as the “Oil Wreck”. The Ayuruoca sits perfectly upright on the muddy bottom 170 feet below the Atlantic and if it weren’t for the prevailing poor conditions of the mudhole would be one (if not THE) best wrecks off the Jersey coast. The hook was thrown and Dave and Bill wasted no time getting us tied into a boom right next to the aft mast.

Hitting the water I was tempted to reach for my knife to help getting through the sludge on top which was thick as molasses and limited the visibility to a couple feet. Further down the visibility opened up and was quite clear which gave a nice view as I passed the top of the mast at 80 feet and the crow’s nest at 90 feet. Following the anemone carpeted mast down to the tie in at 140 feet about 10 feet off the main deck where the water was 45oF. Down on the wreck the visibility dropped again depending on how close you got to the silty deck. High off the wreck it was probably a solid 20 feet but closer to the deck it was a very dark 10 feet. Still not bad for this wreck.

It took me a couple minutes to figure out we were at the aft mast and not the forward mast. I tied off my reel and headed off (turned out I was going forward) and found the dog house on deck and got oriented. I swam back along the port rail at around 150 feet to pay a visit to the beautiful helm at the aft steering station. As the rail started to round off at the fantail, I cut in to the steering station under the gun tub. I was confused for a minute thinking I went the wrong way somehow, but I finally realized I was indeed staring at the 7 foot teak and bronze helm. It has become nearly completely overgrown with colorful anemones with only hints of teak peaking through and the spokes barely discernable through the growth. I popped up to check out the deck gun and was pleased to find it still standing intact and picturesque as ever. I quickly swam over the decaying live shells and headed forward to the main break in the wreck. I took my time heading back and took some time poking my light into some rust holes that have opened up in the deck and noted some spots for future exploration. I got to play Jack and the bean stalk on the ascent as the anchor had wrapped around the mast which made for a cool way to end the dive. After a final goodbye to the lone bergall peeking out of the top of the mast at 80 feet I finished my deco in the pea soup which at least was ~10 degrees warmer than the bottom at a comfortable 55oF.

The Oil Wreck

Ayuruoca pictures including the helm when it wasn’t so covered

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