Adventures on-board the SEA LION
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says . . . Happy Holidays and have a GREAT New Year!
These Past Months
The SEA LION has been suspiciously missing from the diving scene for some time now and a brief explanation is in order.
It all started back at the end of July when I was contacted to provide a dive platform from which to conduct surface supplied diving operations. We were to investigate targets discovered during a survey preformed earlier in the year. Sounded like fun and didn't appear that it would interfere too badly with what I already had scheduled. The divers, dive supervisor and dive safety officer came on board and proceeded to load on two 300 foot umbilicals, 4 “K” bottles of compressed air, two hard hats (a KMB 27 and a Superlite 17) a 3” Honda powered water pump for both a “Hydro Probe” and a small dredge, along with assorted water hoses, a diver air control rack and the assorted high pressure air hoses to connect it to the “K” bottles , a comm. box (and a spare), a pair of miller harnesses two bail-out bottles wet suits, some extremely heavy weight belts, marker buoys and a plethora of assorted and miscellaneous stuff.
The day began with a dive safety briefing followed by the assembly of the air supply system, comms and helmets. And… We ran into the first snag. Seems there was a difference in air flow between the two umbilicals, the umbilical that had just been serviced by a shop certified to service commercial diving equipment screwed up the ends of the hose. This meant that they needed to find a shop certified and capable of repairing the umbilical, they did but we wound up with three days of down time while it was repaired. The umbilical was repaired, the air system was working perfectly and we headed out to investigate the first of several targets.
Honestly up until we ran out the inlet I had no idea exactly where we would be diving other than it would be about 10 miles north of the inlet. I asked for the GPS co-ordinates and when I plugged them into the plotter I couldn't help but notice they were on the beach. Actually all of the targets were in 20 feet of water or less and none of them proved to be anything of any interest. Oh well, it was interesting to watch and I did get paid, not a terrible way to spend a couple of days on the ocean.
The next two months were a series of blow-outs with only 8 of the scheduled dives making it out, good thing I had made some money with the commercial job.
Around the beginning of October I got a call from the same company asking if I'd be interested in 20 days of “Survey Work”. This time it was going to interfere with a couple of scheduled trips but after two months of blow-outs it was impossible to turn down an offer of steady work. Again I had no idea what “Survey Work” involved but they had seen my boat and they were pleased with my operation. This time the load-on consisted of a Sub Bottom Profiler that was to hang off the side of the boat on the davit, a high resolution Side Scan Sonar and a Magnetometer that would be towed behind the boat, three lap-tops, the Sub Bottom control box, the Magnetometer and Side Scan interfaces along with countless cables, wires and plugs. There would also be a need for numerous 12 volt DC connections and several 110 volt AC connections. The monitor by the helm would be disconnected from my lap-top and connected to the survey computer so the helmsman could more easily follow the survey lines.
I soon learned that we would be surveying three areas, one on the Manasquan Ridge, one off of Seaside and the last one off of Atlantic City. Atlantic City!, really hadn't planned on that but Kammerman's had a slip for me and I actually enjoy AC.
Area one included a wreck that although I had the numbers to I really wasn't sure was there. The Side Scan gave a beautiful picture of a very low lying wooden wreck just a few yards from where my numbers said it should be, now this was better. Unfortunately a week into the project the Magnetometer went down and we had a ten day period of down time while it was repaired. Area two also produced a few interesting targets that I need to go back and investigate, unfortunately I couldn't get them to let me swing over a few of the areas I've always wanted to explore, something about not getting paid to run all over the ocean, guess I'm going to need to get my own Side Scan. The area off of AC was just north of the inlet and had the “Dredge Wreck” almost dead center. We got some beautiful images of that and found a large piece of the wreck quite a distance from the main piece, this was actually starting to be fun.
Shortly before the end of the AC project I received another call from the same company asking if I'd be interested in additional work, this time off of Long Island. Now I've never been a big fan of Long Island, nothing against L.I. just that you have to go through the city to get there, it was getting late in the season and the weather was getting more and more iffy. I finally agreed to work out of L.I. but I needed a week to prep the boat, do a bit of maintenance (oil change etc.) and wait for a decent weather window to run the boat up there.
The Sea Lion arrived at Captree boat basin on November 20 th and for the next six days the weather kept me tied to the dock, actually we ran out twice but neither day was productive. Wednesday the day before Thanksgiving the weather looked great and we headed out hoping to finally get the project going unfortunately the Magnetometer that had been repaired again failed Arghh……
This time there was no time to get it repaired so a replacement was over-nighted in but since the next day was Thanksgiving it arrived Friday. As a side note the last time this same Canadian built Magnetometer failed it was Canadian Thanksgiving, kind of makes you wonder. Oh and for those of you that are keeping track of where I was, I ate my turkey dinner on-board the boat. Friday and Saturday the weather was perfect and we eventually managed to get quite a bit of surveying done. Sunday and Monday however the weather again turned sour, Tuesday was marginal so we got very little done and Wednesday was again a blow-out. Thursday, December 4 th we caught a break and ran 13 miles to the survey area but had to quit early so that the divers could load their gear on the boat. Now I would have stayed out but they insisted that the dive equipment needed to be loaded then. Oh, just to make things a bit more interesting the fuel dock at Captree was closing for the season and if the project continued I would have to find fuel somewhere on Long Island. At this point it was getting ridiculous, the weather forecast gave us one day of maybe weather and for the following week a Nor' Easter was scheduled to blow in. We did run out the next day only to find conditions that were too poor to put divers in the water. Finally on Monday the 8 th the company pulled the plug on the project for the year.
The Sea Lion is back in Brielle, took a week before we had decent enough weather to bring her home and even then it wasn't great.
The saga will continue…………………
NOTE: One thing to keep in mind is that OPEN destinations are really just suggestions on my part, unless the trip is scheduled as a “Special” but If you have somewhere you want to get to let me know and if we have the divers and the weather that’s where we’ll head.
For any of the OPEN boats or if you'd like to get out on any day not listed I can be reached at either 973-887-DEEP (3337) or my cell 201-401-4608 Keep in mind that although The 2015 schedule is on-line there are very often additions to the published schedule.
We are always looking to put together weekday trips. If you're intersted in diving during the week, let me know which day/days work for you and we will try to put a boat together.
We have established a divers e-mail list and if you'd like to be included send the message “ please add me to the SEA LION diver list ” to firstname.lastname@example.org . If you are also available for weekday dives please include the words “ weekdays also ”. If you are only available for weekday dives please include "weekdays only ".
You'll receive information about up-coming dives and trip reports.