Just how many times can one dive the same dive site before you get bored? Lots. It’s no secret that I’ve been diving Peirce Island practically every other weekend this winter. Unfortunately with most dive charters getting blown out or not enough people to run, boat diving can be challenging in New England winters.
Since one of my goals this year was so do more macro photography and practice with my camera I’ve been relegated to shore diving and Peirce Island provides endless subjects to photograph and is very rarely blown out. For me it makes it a very attractive place to dive.
My dive buddies today were my friend Greg and an acquaintance Mike R. from New York. Mike traveled up to Boston or more specifically Portsmouth, NH because I convinced him that Peirce Island was an epic dive for nudibranchs. I told him to come prepared with his macro lens and warm undergarments. He is here this weekend for the Boston Sea Rovers dive convention which I unfortunately will miss because I’ll be in Florida.
Anyway, we had a started a Facebook thread a month ago through a friend of a friend. What was originally planned for a dive with 6-8 people dwindled down to just me and just Mike as sometimes happens in New England. Not a problem because I really wanted to get a dive in before Florida to get more camera time in. Greg was a last minute addition since I sent him a text late last night. I do remember reading something silly about a diving before flying rule or something but I must have fallen asleep for that portion of my open water class. In all seriousness, I’ll have about a 14 hour surface interval before my flight tomorrow morning.
We dove this morning at high tide slack. The little-to-no accumulation of snow turned into about 2 inches on the ground. We some great dive conditions and perhaps the “best” visibility I’ve had at Peirce Island in the last couple months. A respectable 10-15ft (closer to 10ft..) if I was judging distance by how far away Mike/Greg were when I could see them in the distance. Dive #1 Max depth: 67ft Runtime: 50 minutes Water temp: 40f
Since Mike had not dove this site before and had gone through all the trouble to bring his dive gear I told him I would do another dive with him this afternoon at slow tide slack. Greg had to bail so I hung out in a coffee shop for a couple hours in downtown Portsmouth to get some work done.
It was an interesting test and comparison of low tide slack and high tide slack visibility. I usually always try to dive the site at high tide slack where I’ve usually encountered the best visibility. My run-ins with low tide slack this season at Peirce Island have been less than stellar, usually 3-5ft but occasionally you get pleasantly surprised. This was the first time that I’ve dove here at high tide slack and low tide slack on the same day.
We hit the low tide slack time almost perfect which I was a bit surprised about because as me and Mike showed up to the dive site just as Jerry S. and Diver Ed had finished their dive. They were happy (or unhappy) to pass along that the visibility was absolutely horrible. They caught me a bit off guard when they asked me why I was going in now but I was pretty sure I had timed the slack tides correctly. It seems like everyone has their own preference on when exactly is the best time to dive Peirce..
Since I’m a glutton for punishment and Mike had gone through all the trouble of bringing his gear I figured what do we have to lose… Unfortunately as stated by Jerry S., the visibility WAS horrible. Maybe a 1ft or so although it did clear up a bit a little deeper. I ended doing about a 23 minute dive before I called in and headed back to the car. Mike did slightly longer but we got separated and went our own ways withinin the first few minutes. Dive #2 Max depth: 43ft Runtime: 23 minutes Water temp: 40f Visibility: 1-2ft or so (6 inches in some shallows?)