PDA

View Full Version : The Horse Ferry Lake Champlain VT



Rileybri
07-03-2008, 18:28
So yesterday was full of first for me aside from my post in the complaints forum, they were all very positive! I did my first boat dive/charter. I did my deepest dive to date (47' max depth). I did my first wreck dive. and I dove with my first insta buddy.

The dive was to the Wreck of the Horse Ferry (http://www.lcmm.org/shipwrecks_history/uhp/horse_ferry.htm) Part of the Lake Champlain Underwater Historic Preserve (http://www.lcmm.org/shipwrecks_history/uhp/uhp.htm). There are 9 wrecks in the preserve ranging from basic to technical, 20' deep to REALLY DEEP. In addition there are plenty of "other" wrecks that are not part of the preserve.

The Dive to the horse ferry was off a small boat with six clients (three buddy teams) a DM and the captain. Our combined experience (excluding the DM) levels ranged from 500+ dives to my buddy and I who had 10 logged dives between us. The ride out to the dive sight was a whopping 5 minutes on 1' seas. The air temp was a brisk 82*. Surface water temps was in the hight 60's with temps at our max. depth of 52*. The thermocline was at about 35'. My insta-buddy and I were the last team in the watter as we wanted to not hold up the more experienced divers on the boat with the little glitches us new divers sometimes face. After forming our diver plan (two laps clockwise around the wreck and and overpass from stern to bow. turn around psi was set at 1000psi so as far as we got in our tour then back up with a 3 at 15 on the way up) and reviewed our set ups and hand communications. The it was splash time. I have to say it was hard to go back to a basic vest BCD after using a BP/W set up on my last dive. I felt like I was all over the place with my set up. Part of that was probably the confined space of the boat as well.
We reached the bow line and went to the buoy to begin our decent when all of a sudden insta buddy #3 pops up on the surface right next to me! Now I'm thinking dam how deep was he when he shot to the surfice? I am not rescue certifyed or AOW but I knew enough to aproch #3 from his back. Grabbing his BCD and tank I asked him if he was ok. Although very winded, he told me how he had spent the last five minutes just 3 or 4 feet under the surface trying to pull himself down the line due to being very under weighted. He had blown through 1800psi trying to get down. Meanwhile his buddy is still waiting for him down at the anchor pad 47' down. #3 had cillled sufficiently for him to get back to the boat, as his day was done, on his own as my buddy and I watched to see that he made it. We then descended the line and signaled to #3's buddy that he was done. #4 ascended and we continued on from the pad to the wreck.
When you reach the wreck sight you are greeted to a sign reading Welcome to the Horse Ferry. Do not touch any part of the vessel as it is fragile and don't stir up the silt as visibility can get poor fast (they went kidding). side by side my buddy and I looked left then right then at each other as to say is this some kind of joke? Where is the wreck? then we both looked up!!!! WOW ok there it is. We were directly under the 10' tall spokes of the now eroded paddle weal. Avoiding fusing kicks I took a deep breath and free floated up so that I was hovering about 10' over the wreck. On the far side all I could see was a big silt cloud and the buddy #1 and #2 B-lining it to the guide line back to the boat. My buddy #6 was hovering two feet to my right. We looked at each other with another WTF look when the DM swam over to us from the silt cloud and flashed us the you OK signal. We both flashed the OK but WTF back to him. The DM told us to continue the dive with him as our 3rd.
So we have been on the wreck for about ten mins now and we are the only ones left! We dove our plan to a T. once our eyes adjusted to the dim light and the silt settled down a but from #3 and 4 we were treated to a rare dive on an amazing wreck. Vis was about 15-20'. the gears and paddle wheal spokes are just breath taking but I enjoyed just hovering over the wreck trying to envision it when she was still operational. For reference this is an artists rendition of what it looked like when she was operational.
http://www.shipwreckworld.com/images/story/2007/12/02/81-giant-horsepoweredferryboat.jpg
Granted this was my first just about everything but it was just a striking dive on a truly unique wreck. I would highly recommend it to anyone!
my buddy and headed back up the line pausing for the obligatory 3 at 15 photo shoot then back on the boat for a total dive time of 31 mins. Having the wreck all to our selves with such good vis was almost unheard of according to our DM and we were both very luck to experience it the way we did.
After returning to the LDS for a post dive beefing and tank/gear returning session the DM told me that #1 and #2 were a mess kept hitting the wreck with there fins potentially damaging it and silting up the sight so he sent them packing. He thanked me and #6 for doing a solid dive and working as great buddies. He wanted to know how many dives we had done together and was blown away to find out that we and never been diving together, and had ten logged dived between us! All in all I would say it was a great dive and an amazing learning experience. I cant wait to hit the O.J. Walker (http://www.lcmm.org/shipwrecks_history/uhp/oj_walker.htm) next week!

if ya made it this far thanks for reading, #6 emails me the photos I will post them up.

cheers,

Brian D.

Vercingetorix
07-03-2008, 18:45
Great review!!!! You made the dive come alive.

It's cool that you two, the least experienced divers, made the best dives of the lot. Quite an ego boost, there.

I look forward to the photos.

And, thanks for providing the artist rendering. I've never heard of the horse ferry.

MSilvia
07-04-2008, 11:08
Sounds like a great dive Bri! I'll be looking forward to a tour of the wreck when I'm up there.

harb99
07-04-2008, 11:15
cool sounding wreck - thanks for sharing :)

Rileybri
07-04-2008, 11:20
Ya Matt you are going to love it! Just remember to bring your vidio rig....

Vercingetorix I am glad you liked my write up, I like to try to out you there with me on the dive! As for ego boost? Well I can say it did feel good at the end of the dive I have to say, but I by no means feel like I am anything more than a new diver just doing what my instructor and MSilvia taught me. Plan my dive, dive my plan and dont die. once I master those skills I can move onto more advanced skills like scuba and the art of inflated egos (ha that would make a great name for a wing or BCD. The Zeagle XL max inflate Ego!:smilie39:

Sansho
07-04-2008, 11:34
Thanks for the great write-up. I also had not heard of a horse ferry, and appreciate the drawing.

Rileybri
07-04-2008, 11:49
Thanks for the great write-up. I also had not heard of a horse ferry, and appreciate the drawing.

Ya neither had they till they found this one doing sonar work in the early 90's. As far as they know this is the only known example of one.

character157
07-06-2008, 09:31
Sounds like a great dive...Who was your charter with? I would like to get up to Champlain for a couple wreck dives.

texdiveguy
07-06-2008, 09:39
Thanks for your nice informative trip report.

Rileybri
07-06-2008, 10:02
Sounds like a great dive...Who was your charter with? I would like to get up to Champlain for a couple wreck dives.

Well there is my personal favorite Waterfront Diving Center (http://www.waterfrontdiving.com/) They are right down on the waterfront across from the King Street Ferry. They do trips all the during the summer. In addition I have access to a boat about twenty mins. south of Burlington, and am always looking to get out and dive!

cheers,


Brian D

Monkeylemon
07-07-2008, 12:08
This sounds great--I'm interested in seeing the photos.

Rileybri
07-07-2008, 12:35
So unfortunatly the phots that my buddy email me were to be kind blurry at best. I will be doing another of the LCUHP wrecks The GeneraButler (http://www.lcmm.org/shipwrecks_history/uhp/general_butler.htm)On this dive I will have the camera, so hopefully I will have more to show you after Thursday!! Thanks for the intrest in my TR and hope to see you all up North in the lake some time soon!


cheers,

Brian D.

Joe L
07-10-2008, 14:13
Thanks, very well writen story, enjoyedit.

maddhadder
07-24-2008, 22:28
Great story, I don't have much to add, other than I used to live in Underhill, (about 20 minutes from Stowe) my dad got his cert in Lake Champlain. I think onece I get my cert, need to take a trip back home and get some hometown diving in. Stories like this just make me want to get going even sooner.-K

Rileybri
07-24-2008, 23:07
Great story, I don't have much to add, other than I used to live in Underhill, (about 20 minutes from Stowe) my dad got his cert in Lake Champlain. I think onece I get my cert, need to take a trip back home and get some hometown diving in. Stories like this just make me want to get going even sooner.-K

Let me know when you will be up I am always looking to dive!

maddhadder
07-25-2008, 07:09
Sounds good, no idea when that will be, but I'll let you know for sure.