Posted by: mcjangles | July 26, 2011

Great day!

I haven’t really been writing reports lately so here goes… Last week we did a quick bounce on a set of numbers in 215 fsw that Capt Dan of the Independence II had received from some fisherman and had expected to find another one of the many derelict barges that litter the bottom of the Atlantic off the coast of New Jersey.We only had a couple feet of visibility and only spent a couple minutes so it was hard to draw any solid conclusions but by all accounts we thought it was indeed a real wreck!  So when I got the call asking if I wanted to take off work and head back today for a better look it was an easy “yes!”.

An excited group of four Independence crew members headed out today in calm seas to the new wreck.  Bill Trent and I headed in with the shot line to tie into the wreck.  Things got off to a rocky start as I turned to see if Bill was behind me I saw another line trailing off behind me.  “Shit.” I found the offending finger spool and quickly sent it off into the brine as an offering and continued down.  The shot line had some extra line which caused it to level off at about 190 and we began swimming horizontally about 25 feet off the bottom below.  One of the impressive things of the water in the Mud Hole is that the beam of the 35W Light Monkey HID I borrowed from Bill was completely swallowed in the dark 10 feet or so of visibility.  After a minute or so the line began going back up and I knew we were at the wreck.  My light finally caught a reflection off some wreckage and I looked up to see our approach brought us directly into the intact anemone carpeted bow of a huge wooden ship!  It was almost surreal watching it materialize out of the darkness and I immediately regretted leaving the camera on deck.

We headed up where we found our shot on the main deck at about 185 fsw with 1 tine of the grapple clinging for dear life onto a deteriorated deck plank threatening to fall through the spider web of monofiliment fishing line guarding the hole into the inky darkness down inside the wreck.  After securing the line we began exploring.  I did not get far when I found a “box” structure filled with china shards and what looked like brass hardware from cabinet remnants.  All the china shards were pretty mangled but digging around I found 2 brass railing ends.  I figured I would let that silt clear and see what Bill was up to.  I didn’t get far when I found a porthole swing plate with the glass perfectly intact just lying on the deck. Hmm, it was starting to look like this is, or should I say was, definitely a virgin wreck 😉

Back on board everyone compared notes and based on the artifacts and condition of the ship we think it is pretty old.  We still have not seen all of the wreck and I think it is safe to say we will be back again for some more exploration!  Stay tuned!

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