Posted by: mcjangles | September 26, 2011

Kicking off fall in style

Well the summer may have officially ended this past weekend, but the diving season is still in full swing and the best it has been in a while!

Kendall and Bill Bedford on the STOLT DAGALI

Saturday the Independence II headed to the STOLT DAGALI with a group from the Scuba Connection.  Despite the gloomy forecast we headed east into some gentle swells and a smooth ride.  Visibility on the top of the wreck was easily 40-50 feet (maybe more?) but a bit dark due to the persistent muck layer on the surface.  Clear water was down all the way to about 100-110 feet where it turned to 10 or so.  It was also nice and warm, I didn’t look, but I think I heard low 60s.  I got to dive with Blaquaman and Blaquagirl on her 2nd ocean dive and had fun shooting some photos in the best conditions we’ve seen in a while.  After they departed,I took a quick look around and was pretty surprised by how much the wreck has changed since the recent storms.  Some of the deck levels have peeled off and the debris field in the sand off the wreck has gotten much bigger.  I peeked into the engine room and what used to be an imposing black void is now partially illuminated by columns of light pouring in from several areas where bulkheads used to reside.  I went in a little ways and was shocked to see how much it has opened up in there.  I didn’t hang out long as it was obvious the rust hasn’t yet settled as clouds of it were still pouring out of fresh holes in the overhead (and I’m on a rebreather).  Should be interesting to see what new artifacts can now be found.

Sunday the forecast was the same as Saturday, but it turned out to be even nicer on the water.  Heading out to the GULF TRADE with a full boat of divers from Treasure Cove, the only ripples to be seen in the glass like surface of the sea were the ones we were creating with our wake!  Sweet!  We weren’t sure how the visibility would be on the GULF TRADE (90 fsw)  but everyone wanted to give it a shot and Tom got us tied in pretty quick so we figured it couldn’t be too bad.  Turned out to be 20-30 feet on top of the wreck and a dark 10-15 on the bottom.  Nice and warm and everyone had some good dives.  A good haul of lobsters were boated along with a few blackfish.

Hopefully things will settle down even more in the coming weeks and the visibility will continue to improve and the winds will stay calm, because this truly is the best time of year to dive New Jersey!

Short video clip from the STOLT dive:

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