It just so happens that Tom let me know that Red from Giant Stride Dive Shop was putting together one last U853 charter of the season. I jumped on it since it was Capt Wayne’s last charter of season before he pulls his boat out and I haven’t been on the U853 at all this year.
I awoke at 4am to do the drive from Boston to Wakefield, RI for a 6:15am load time. It was me, Tom, Sang, Brie, and a couple guys from Virginia Beach that drove down. Red was crewing.
We had a pretty nice ride out to the U853. NOAA had predicted 2 to 4ft seas but it was closer to a few 2 footers. Not that bad. As predicted, the wind did pick up on the way back and we started to see some white caps on to the 2nd dive. I’d definitely say we beat the weather for once.
The mooring was already present so Red hooked us in. Myself, Brie and Sang splashed in together for an 80 minute runtime. The water in RI is absolutely balmy right now. We had 60f on the bottom and 63f on deco.
Unfortunately the visibility as is sometimes the case in Rhode Island left a lot to be desired. We had probably ~5ft of visibility on the bottom. There was a fine layer of particulate in the water. The funny thing was at the conning tower where the mooring is tied in we had maybe 20ft. There were basically two layers of visibility stratified in the water column. I find the average visibility on the U853 to be around 10-15ft. I don’t dive it that often but there was one time I had closer to 25-30ft on the bottom! That was spectacular but alas today was not one of those days.
Overall it was a still a very nice and relaxing dive. I didn’t bother going inside on either dive although Brie opted to explore the inside for a bit. Sometimes the lackluster visibility on the outside can translate to good visibility on the inside but not in this case. I peaked my head in maybe 5-6ft and it wasn’t much better inside. Besides, I find penetrating the U853 is often a one man job. I don’t like going inside when others are already there.
Me and Sang rounded the wreck slowly maybe 3-4 times. I was looking for lobsters for Tom. The entire hull is covered in Northern star coral.
We had a nice 46 minute bottom time before we started a slow ascent to the surface
During deco we greeted by two Atlantic bottlenose dolphins who stuck around for a little bit and swam circles around us. Tom and Red saw them first and pointed them out; I was glad that I didn’t miss them.
Always fun seeing seeing dolphins on the deco. It totally made up for the paltry visibility on the bottom.
We stuck around a little bit longer but the dolphins did not return.
After an hour and half surface interval me and Sang geared up again. The seas were getting worse and the visibility really did not improve so limited ourselves to a 45 minute runtime on the second dive.
Not much else to report. Same conditions as before. Still a very fun and relaxing dive especially when the entire water column is in the 60s!