I was scheduled to crew for both the morning and afternoon charters this Saturday aboard the Daybreaker with Matt. The morning charter was scheduled to go to the Big Fantastic Wall (BFW) and Diver’s Choice and the afternoon charter was scheduled to go to Halfway Rock and then back to Big Fantastic Wall (BFW) again.
On the morning charter we had a full boat combined with an advanced nitrox/deco procedures class being taught in sidemount. Knowing full well the amount of gear and tanks that typically ends up on the boat in a sidemount class Matt opted to skip diving for the morning. I figured I would do at least one dive so I brought my rebreather and gear along. Matt’s new rebreather student Mark had just finished his MOD1 course so I figured I’d do a nice long dive with him.
I won’t go into a sidemount rant right now but let’s just say it typically takes sidemounters a little bit longer to gear up. You can double that number if there are any significant seas. They are all good divers but there is definitely a gearing up time penalty here that they don’t always like to admit. 🙂
We had decent topside conditions with about 10kts SW wind if I recall correctly. There was a little bit of a swell coming in but nothing too bad. We anchored on top of the Big Fantastic Wall. Ian jumped in first followed by Mark because he wanted to get a longer dive in. Mark ran a reel from anchor down to the bottom of the wall for reference (always a good thing in New England). Me and Matt helped sidemounters and other divers gear up.
Once everyone else got in or was almost ready I got geared up and followed Mark’s reel down the wall. The anchor was pretty much sitting at the top of the wall anyway so it was already “reel” easy navigation.
I spent half the dive tweaking my new video lights. I still need to work on getting some longer arms to eliminate backscatter or position them better. Even though the visibility was good I didn’t really get any great footage so my little video clip is kind of boring.
We had approximately 30ft of visibility at Big Fantastic Wall. The water temperature is still 44f at depth so it was a little chilly. I forgot my heated vest so I ended the dive around 50 minutes.
The sidemount brigade had a much easier time gearing up at the Middle Breakers but I opted to stay topside. I was going to dive in the afternoon since Annie was scheduled to be on the boat.
There was a bit of surge at Middle Breakers but some of the people lobstering pulled up some nice bugs.
For the afternoon charter the winds picked up quite a bit but we made best of it. We motored out to Halfway Rock and tucked into the lee side. Later we anchored up at Big Fantastic Wall again. Visibility was about 30-35ft at both dive sites and still ~44f water temp on bottom.
Han and Mark did pretty well for lobsters but I think Scott N. is still holding top of the score board for number of lobsters this season.
Because Matt did not bring his dive gear I did both dives in the afternoon with Annie. She is on a single tank so they weren’t super long anyway.
There was one lone harbor seal that seemed to be hanging out at Halfway Rock. He quickly disappeared when divers jumped in the water. We didn’t really feel like lobstering so me and Annie dropped down off the side of Halfway in about 105ft of water to grab some scallops. I wasn’t looking forward to dragging a scallop bag back up the wall from a 100ft so we didn’t really fill it to capacity.
Overall a fantastic day of New England diving. 30ft+ of visibility is great when it happens.