Thursday, February 21, 2008

10 February 2008 Dive Report ~Tom Gormley~

On Sunday, February 10, 2008 the Pt Pleasant Dive Rescue Team when on a diving drill in spite of the weather forecast, which called for an arctic blast, snow, and gale force winds. Here is the dive report.

Chet N, Tom C, Eric, and Doug from the team along with invited visitor divers Tom G and Mike D went for a dive at the Manasquan Inlet on a nice sunny day in February. The air temp was in the low 40's and there was a 20 to 25 knot west wind. We checked the vis in the inlet before diving and it looked good. Even with the wind driven waves we could see the bottom. The wind was actually pushing 1 to 2 foot waves out of the inlet on an incoming tide. We all decided to dive, so we formed 3 buddy teams and got our gear ready. Chet provided the team and visitors with a dive briefing. We rolled over the wall into the inlet to look for sinkers to be cleaned and possibly sold at the upcoming Ocean Wreck Diver's Fisherman's Flea Market. The team had been accumulating sinkers and lures on several previous drill dives and this might be the final opportunity for this task. The marine life was long gone.

Mike D and Tom G met up with Chet and Eric and Chet advised everyone about the skill for sinker hunting by fanning the sand, which everyone did. Team members had special plastic tubes and lift bags for storing the sinkers and transporting them to the exit point. Tom G and Mike D were picking up a sinker here and there when suddenly a coin was found. It was a well roughened up copper penny. It went into Tom's goody bag. Any coin found underwater is considered a treasure, even a penny. Chet, Doug, Eric, and Tom C were busy stuffing their tubes with sinkers and lures. Tom G found a few more sinkers, and another penny, then a nickel. Seven cents found underwater is a good day!
Suddenly Tom spotted something very different. It was a round hollow shiny object the size of a bottle cap. Only it wasn't a bottle cap. It turned out to be a ring. Wow! Underwater it looked enormous! With heavy mitts on he couldn't try it on for size so it was clipped onto the camera dog clip and made secure. Chet's fanning tip worked very well. Back to the sinker scavenging, everyone was doing well too. After about 35 minutes some of us were getting cold so Tom, Mike and Tom started heading back. It was a long swim especially with lots of sinkers in the goody bag. The water temp was 41 degrees and the vis turned out to be 25 feet. Tom, Mike and Tom did 41 minutes, and some hardy others did over an hour.

Hauling the sinker filled plastic tubes over the rocks and back to the rescue truck is certainly good exercise. After everyone else was safely back on shore, Tom G showed everyone the prize find and got congratulated. The rest of the story goes like this. The dive team got the sinkers, Tom's wife got the ring, and Tom kept the 7 cents. Tom's wife was so happy, she bought coffee for everyone since Tom's 7 cents couldn't cover the bill. Still not a bad day for winter diving in New Jersey.

As far as the weather is concerned, as soon as we got back on dry land, we could see a wall of dark clouds coming rapidly towards us. It looked like sharks teeth in the sky. As soon as it got to us it started to blow and snow. We had gone from clear decent weather to a wicked snowstorm in the time it takes to do a Jersey dive in February.

All in all, we were happy we dove today and didn't listen to the weather man. Especially me.
Safe and fun diving!
Tom Gormley