Diving the Jersey wrecks again!

Our intrepid group of pillaging wreck divers headed down to Belmar, NJ again today to visit some more of the thousands off wreck sites off the Jersey coast.  What a most beautiful day greeted us, blue skies, bright sunshine, flat seas, and of  course the great Venture III crew!  Today’s group consisted of Csaba Lorinczy, Donna Raleigh, Rob Lunny, Mike Noble, Jenna Murray, John Glodowski and myself.   We met a few other regulars on the boat and we (well at least six of us) prepared for our scheduled 8 a.m. departure.  Finally our group was intact and accounted for (no names mentioned on the sleeping beauty) and we headed out to sea.

Our first stop was the Cranford, a 200 ft. long x 44 ft. wide former ferry boat owned by the Central Railroad of New Jersey, and sunk in 1982 at a depth of 70 ft.  This was part of the very succesful NJ artificial reef program.  There was a bit of current running at the surface but not enough to cause any undue concern.  We splashed in, and headed down into the peasoup-ish like waters, expecting a nice improvement in visibilty once we got past the thermocline.  Well, good viz was clearly not in the cards for us today, and the dark green murky waters were the same from top to bottom.  Thank goodness for the quality wreck reels we had purchased from www.scubagearplus.com !  It was however, a very good first taste of Jersey wreck diving for Rob & Jenna, who came up smiles and laughing after the experience. 

Second on the list was the Spartan, a large steel hulled commercial tugboat, built in 1957 and sunk in 1986.  This 85 ft. long x 23 ft. wide intact wreck is covered with fish and life, and proved to be a nice dive, in spite of the continued poor viz.  Bottom temps of 54 degrees at 68 ft. were tolerable.  The gang managed to bring up copius amounts of fresh mussels from this wreck.

Finally, we hit dive number 3 for the day, an Indian Valley Scuba signature when out on the Venture III.  Todays stop was the Northeast Sailor, which essentially is remains of a large, unidentified sailing ship. The absence of towing bits is an indicator that this was probably not a schooner barge, while the presence of a boiler and steam machinery place the vessel in the mid to late nineteenth century.  No other information is known about this mystery wreck, sitting in 70 ft. of water.  It does, however, contain lots of holes for lobsters to hide in, and we managed to bring quite a few on board today!

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