Posted by: mcjangles | August 26, 2009

U869

Bill_U869-3

It’s hard to explain the feeling you get when you are 60 miles offshore in the open Atlantic, 230 feet underwater in the total dark on top of an iron coffin containing the remains of 55 German sailors, and your sense of touch is your most valuable asset. However I wasn’t alone as my hand was wedged under a massive compressed air cylinder feeling for the end of the chain that Bill Trent was passing me as we tied into the U-869. Presently we were in a few feet of visibility, barely enough to discern with a little prodding around that we were on top of the bow section near the blast area, but 25 minutes ago we had merrily splashed into cobalt blue 79 degree surface water with 60+ feet of visibility… that warm fuzzy feeling did not last long. Dropping down the line we had passed through several layers of plankton blooms, the ambient light and temperature dimming a bit with each layer. At 100 feet the chilling 46 degree bottom water felt like a slap in the face, and at 160 feet it was lights out. The shot was in a bunch of mono so I had fun cutting that out as Bill hauled the chain to the top of the wreck and began looking for a place to tie in. I went to shoot the shop to the surface but as my lift bag started to rise I found out I missed a strand, and that nearly invisible fishing line was now holding the weight and grapple precariously above my head and threatening to entangle me and take me with it. With one last slash of the z-knife it was on its way up. I saw a dim spot of light and found Bill. His 35 W HID was a couple feet from me. Yes, this IS what I call fun 😉

Having drug my camera around for all this, I went through the motions of snapping a couple shots on the wreck but I figured deco was the only place it would do me any good and I got shots of all the other guys coming down. Deco was relaxing as it was very warm and absolutely no current. The surface conditions were also beautiful and it was like a lake. Really a great day to be on the water. It was the first trip to the U-869 for some and they were just glad to be out here diving New Jersey’s most famous wreck. Some lobsters were rescued, and most of the guys even had a visitor for deco entertainment… a 20 foot basking shark came by to say hello.

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