Diving the wreck of Alma E.A. Holmes

Wreck of Alma E.A. Holmes

It was a beautiful March day for diving. We finally had a nice break in bad New England weather.  Heather emailed everyone the night before reminding us that departure times had changed back to the summer schedule and that we were going to try to dive the Alma E.A. Holmes.

I had almost forgotten that I had booked a trip on the the Gauntlet which is a charter boat run by North Atlantic Dive Expeditions. They cater to mostly technical divers and run the boat year round. I believe this was the 4th or 5th charter I had scheduled with them this winter but all the rest had gotten blown out.  In any case I was very glad to get out; I always enjoy diving off their boat. My friend Aleksey was also on the charter along with several other acquaintances. The Gauntlet is almost always full, often months in advance.

Started loading up gear at 7am and off the dock by 730am.  This is NOT the charter you show up late for, you’ll get the evil eye or worse, left behind. 🙂

The Alma E. A. Holmes was a four-masted schooner that was used to transport coal. She sank on October 10, 1914 following a collision with the steamer Belfast. (Source: wikipedia)

She lies in approximately 160ft (49m) of water off the coast of Marblehead, Massachusetts. It is a very pretty wreck that is covered in lots of frilled anemones and northern red anemones similar to a lot of other deeper wrecks in the area.

While the wreck itself is mostly the skeletal ribs, what remains of gunnels and debris it is a somewhat easy wreck to navigate. It is however not without its dangers and is covered in rogue ghost traps, nets and monofilament line. This is the 3rd time that I have dove on her and first time diving her on my rebreather.

When we arrived at the dive site unfortunately there was no mooring.  Capt. Dave and Bob F. splashed in first and Dave installed a new mooring and sent bag up. When Dave returned he reported that the visibility was approximately 15-20ft so I decided to take my GoPro. The 2nd group splashed in and we started gearing up. Since Heather was not diving with Scott today me and Aleksey dove with her.  I was already geared up and ready so I jumped in first and met them on bottom after ~5-10 minutes later.Alma Holmes Wreck Profile

Max depth was 151ft (or 148ft depending on which Shearwater I looked at, weird.). I had a bottom time of about 28 minutes with a total runtime of 63 minutes. Visibility was a solid 15-20ft and water temperature was 39f.

I took a little video with my GoPro using the 4 video lights.  It works well but I think I need to experiment with longer arms and/or brighter lights. Heather knows the wreck well so I stayed with her and Aleksey and she was nice enough to show us around.


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