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MSilvia
06-24-2008, 10:32
As I was heading out the door to go pick up all the stuff my wife opened at our baby shower on Sunday, I got a call from my father, who had apparently spent the morning dragging a grappeling hook around the area where his mooring line was supposed to be. He had used a partially-filled milk jug as a float, so it would float just below the surface and not get torn apart by the ice during the winter, but he wasn't able to find it, and was hoping I could come by with some dive gear and try to locate it for him. I told him I'd give him a call when I got back, and meet him down there in the early evening.

I met him as promised, with what for me is pretty minimal dive gear... a single tank BP/W rig with a lightweight wetsuit and "standard" yoke regulator. I also had what I was hoping were the right tools for the job: a 150' reel, a 10lb weight with a double ended bolt snap tied to it, a 50lb lift bag and spool, a UK HID100 light, and a backup light. I also had a flag with me, as I'd be diving near potential "no wake" boat traffic. My plan was to use the weight and reel to run a spiral search pattern centered on his best guess about where the mooring SHOULD be.

I had a short surface swim from the dock... maybe 150 feet or so, and then he signalled that I was in the right spot. I fired up my light, dropped to the bottom, and clipped the weight to my flag reel so I wouldn't have to drag it around with me. I dumped some gas from my wing as I let the weight go, and was glad I had connected it to the flag line as the weight vanished into the silty bottom. I had a nice line to tie off to though, so I looped my reel's line around it and backed away from the black silt cloud that the weight's impact created. It looked like the visibility was about 5 feet, but I only needed to see about half of that distance.

I held the line taught, and began to swim a circular course, checking the bottom for any sign of the lost mooring line. I saw the criss-cross scars where his grappling hook had been dragged, but little else aside from a few scurrying hermit crabs. When I got back to the original heading, I let the line out a few feet and made another pass, then another.

About halfway through the third pass, I saw a few inches of silt-blackened rope sticking out of the muck, and figured I better see what it was. As I pulled it out, a dark silt cloud erupted around me, reducing vis to about a foot. No problem though... I didn't need to see much to tell when I got to a loop spliced into the end of the rope, and started working my way in the other direction. It wasn't long before I came across a flooded milk jug with "MOORING" written on it in my dad's hand writing.

I purged my octo into the open bottom of the jug, and it shot to the surface, taking about 20 feet of rope with it. I followed the end of the rope a bit further, and gave it up when I found it securely connected to the mooring chain. I followed my reel back to the flag, untied, got my weight, and headed for the surface. After a quick swim back to the dock, I unloaded all my toys (I never did need the bag and spool) and grabbed a styrofoam surface buoy which I then swam back and attached in place of the presumably leaky jug.

It was a short dive, but still challenging and productive. It was also a personal triumph, as some couple of hundred dives ago that same dive was my first in the ocean. Solo, in low-vis, without any idea how to search, it didn't work out nearly as well ten years ago. It was nice to feel like I've come such a long way, and was a very satisfying dive.

It was also fun knowing I was putting on a good show for the folks eating outside at the fancy dining restaurant overlooking the harbor. :smiley20:

scubaculture
06-24-2008, 10:37
Great write up, thanks for sharing

bassplayer
06-24-2008, 10:41
I find its a fun diversion to do a little "work" underwater. Sounds like a very slick operation :smiley20:

mwhities
06-24-2008, 10:42
Very nice. I'd love to do something like that around here but, I have zero viz as it is and I would never see a silt cloud. :)

Martin2
06-24-2008, 11:26
Impressive. Thanks for sharing.

crgjpg
06-24-2008, 11:41
Nice. Thanks for sharing an acutal incident of the technique which is taught.

MSilvia
06-24-2008, 11:44
Thanks for sharing.
My pleasure. It was a nice change of pace to have it go so smoothly.

LRDWILDER
06-24-2008, 12:13
Great job, how what's the water temp like on the South Shore this time of year?

MSilvia
06-24-2008, 12:33
59 degrees at sandy beach on saturday. 61 in Cohasset's inner harbor sunday. It's okay if you want to call me nuts for diving that with a 1.5mm suit, but I've found it's not bad on shallow dives at 60+ degrees so long as I keep my 5mm hood, boots, and gloves on. For me, the convenience of a thin suit makes it worth diving in the summer (instead of a 2-piece 7mm suit or drysuit) if I don't expect to get deep enough for a thermocline.

LRDWILDER
06-24-2008, 12:46
Yeah I understand that, but I still like the dry suit no matter the time of year around here.

cgvmer
06-24-2008, 15:06
Practical practice the best kind.

MConnelly2
06-24-2008, 15:16
Around 68 in Nantucket Harbor the other day. Second dive, on the way home from a fruitless lobster hunt, was under a boat to take a look at a dinged prop - didn't even wear the jacket for my 7MM 2-piece it was so warm.

thor
06-24-2008, 15:54
Nice story

Last year my father also called me to tell me he was putting in the docks and lost one of the mooring lines that was secured by a cinder block and also had a milk jug buoy. I was all ready to strap on the gear and try to find the line, only to find that their neighbor had beat me to it, using only a mask and snorkel. Nice to read your story to see that I wasn't crazy to want to do it scuba style.

character157
06-24-2008, 20:06
Its always nice to hear success stories...I hope I can make a recovery like that one day.

matt151617
06-24-2008, 20:45
59 degrees at sandy beach on saturday. 61 in Cohasset's inner harbor sunday. It's okay if you want to call me nuts for diving that with a 1.5mm suit, but I've found it's not bad on shallow dives at 60+ degrees so long as I keep my 5mm hood, boots, and gloves on. For me, the convenience of a thin suit makes it worth diving in the summer (instead of a 2-piece 7mm suit or drysuit) if I don't expect to get deep enough for a thermocline.


You're nuts. You must have a pretty high cold tolerance. 7mm for me.

reactive
06-24-2008, 22:55
Cool story Msilvia. I always appreciate your posts.

Rileybri
06-24-2008, 23:11
59 degrees at sandy beach on saturday. 61 in Cohasset's inner harbor sunday. It's okay if you want to call me nuts for diving that with a 1.5mm suit, but I've found it's not bad on shallow dives at 60+ degrees so long as I keep my 5mm hood, boots, and gloves on. For me, the convenience of a thin suit makes it worth diving in the summer (instead of a 2-piece 7mm suit or drysuit) if I don't expect to get deep enough for a thermocline.


You're nuts. You must have a pretty high cold tolerance. 7mm for me.

No, Matt may be many things, nuts is not one of them! I was with him on the Sandy Beach dive in a 5/7 mil and defiantly could have cone 3 mill if not lighter. The water was surprisingly warm.

The bigger question is How does your dads boat look/run? Glad you found the chain. Nice to temper manly things like scuba SAR and your baby shower in the same day!:smiley2:

mm2002
06-25-2008, 07:12
Great story! I think that doing a dive to accomplish a task is a bit more rewarding than just swimming around aimlessly looking at rocks.

MSilvia
06-25-2008, 11:44
You must have a pretty high cold tolerance. 7mm for me.
That I do. Well observed. I grew up swimming around here without a wetsuit of any sort though, so even a minimal suit at the surface is warm by comparison to what I used to tolerate.

Also, when I lived in Maine, I woke up one day to -50F temperatures (with wind chill). My perception of what's cold was forever changed.

cowgirldiver
06-25-2008, 12:36
Makes me think of the story I always tell my son when he thinks its cold outside. When I was a kid and we lived Canada and had to wait for the bus, the little kids would get so cold they cried and then the tears froze on their cheeks......You know you're getting old when you start telling the "when I was a kid stories"!

MSilvia
06-25-2008, 12:46
the little kids would get so cold they cried and then the tears froze on their cheeks
Yup... if there isn't ice in my beard, it's not really cold yet. :snowflake: