PDA

View Full Version : Trip Report - Alabama Point and Whiskey Wreck



paulwall
07-30-2007, 08:30
Met up with a coworker who is staying in Orange Beach with his family this week on vacation. He kindly put me up on the sofa of the family condo Saturday night, so I didn't have to trek from NO to OB and back in one day.

Hit the jetties a little after 8:15 am and took the last available parking spot at the time. My buddy wanted to borrow tanks, so I brought him my "new" doubled 72's, that I haven't even dived yet. Since he hadn't been diving in quite a while, we took some time to examine and assemble his gear, and go over the dive plan. I expected Shagman and Tom Wicker to show up, but I didn't see them.

Around 9am we headed for the entry point, as we were roasting in the parking lot. Spent a few minutes in the shallows getting acclimated, cooling off and doing final equipment checks. The water on top was very clear (15-25'), and the dive looked promising. There was a slight incoming current, consistent with the expected High tide time.

Descended and started heading South along the rocks. It was pretty clear that the excellent vis on top was not going to last when we got to depth. Vis dropped to a soupy 10-15, and lots of Plant life floating in the water. The jellyfish were out in force, as well, making parts of the dive a dodge-em course. In some places there were groups of 5-10, in other places 1-2 and others, none at all. There were also (apparently) the invisible stinging nematocysts which were responsible for most of my discomfort during this dive. The currents were strange, going from incoming on one section, slack on another, then incoming, slack, outgoing, slack, incoming, and outgoing. We turned the dive near the end of the jetties, due to a strengthening outgoing current, that disappeared after about 20 ft of our turn.

Fish Life: Jellies (duh!), schools of pinfish, blues, a small barracuda, butterflyfish, damsels, blennies, spades, mangrove (or vermillion) snapper, small grouper, soapfish, etc. We came across a HUGE octopus dining on a catfish, and another smaller one, hanging out in a hole. I put my finger outside of his hole, and he shook "tentacle" with it briefly.

Dive time: 70 mins, max depth 30ft, temps in the 80's.

Upon returning to the parking lot, we came across a Rescue class from Downunder whose instructor chatted with ups a while about how she prefers to do the wall to the rocks, and described the debris pile and what she likes to see. Definitely a must-do in the future.

Dive 2 coming up...

paulwall
07-30-2007, 10:12
Dive 2 - Whiskey Wreck.

Arrived onsite at the Whiskey Wreck and luckily was able to find a spot next to the boardwalk. We were basically going to burn the rest of our first tanks, so planned a surface swim out, and back, and putz around on the wreck for as long as we wanted.

Another group was already geared up and heading to the water when we got out of the truck. We geared up and began the walk (BTW, my buddy constantly complained about the weight of the double 72's, I thought about Bugman's double 130's and snickered). Because we were only starting with 1/2 tanks, I strapped on my pony, JIC.

The other group were dawdling at the beach, and asked if we were diving the Whiskey, as well. I told them "No, we're going to salvage the Spanish Galleon that recently uncovered just East of the Whiskey". Not really. They told me they hadn't dived the site before, and could I help them get to it.

Now, generally, this is a dive I do with Mat, and let him find the wreck, and generally dawdle on my way out until he ties in. So, I told them the general directions and distance, and told them they should be able to see parts of the wreck from the surface. They started out, and my buddy and I followed. I must be the world's slowest surface swimmer, or I reverted to my bad habits, because I turned off my back and my buddy had left me behind, and the other group was almost on site, but they couldn't find it. Thinking my Buddy was closer, I asked him to dip down and see if he could find it. No soap.

I went under, and swam south, and came upon a large section of wreck that I hadn't seen previously, as it had been covered. 10' further and I was on the main section. I tied the flag off, surfaced and told them where it was. They were close, but I found it first.

Vis was 5-10', the jellies (at first) were not nearly as thick as at the jetties. Huge schools of spadefish, a puffer, flounder, blennies, small snapper, octopus, etc. I tried to find the western section of wreck, but couldn't. The stern (eastern end) and Port (southern side) of the wreck were really sanded in, but the North side was exposing more wreckage which is very interesting. On the west side, I started getting stung really badly with those "no see-ums", including one electric shock under my left arm inside the wetsuit. I got aggravated, and turned the dive.

Obligatory 3mile wings at hooters. I dropped a wing and poured some of my beer out for the absent bugman!

Max depth: 15', time ~45mins, temps: 80's .

ReefHound
07-30-2007, 10:25
That's my kind of diving - free and easy. I can't wait to get back to the area for those dives. When we were returning from offshore there last month, the DM mentioned the jetty wall as a good dive. Sounds like it would make a good second dive, as the tide turns just ride it back to entry. The DM also said they stopped allowing parking at the little lot in front of Grand Pointe, is this true?

paulwall
07-30-2007, 10:31
That's my kind of diving - free and easy. I can't wait to get back to the area for those dives. When we were returning from offshore there last month, the DM mentioned the jetty wall as a good dive. Sounds like it would make a good second dive, as the tide turns just ride it back to entry. The DM also said they stopped allowing parking at the little lot in front of Grand Pointe, is this true?

Well, Downunder doesn't know anything about that, and people were parked there. If we're talking about the same lot. Where is Grand Pointe?

ReefHound
07-30-2007, 10:43
That's my kind of diving - free and easy. I can't wait to get back to the area for those dives. When we were returning from offshore there last month, the DM mentioned the jetty wall as a good dive. Sounds like it would make a good second dive, as the tide turns just ride it back to entry. The DM also said they stopped allowing parking at the little lot in front of Grand Pointe, is this true?

Well, Downunder doesn't know anything about that, and people were parked there. If we're talking about the same lot. Where is Grand Pointe?

Grand Pointe, if I'm remembering the name correctly, is the big condo building directly adjacent to the jetty rocks. You're talking about the west Alabama Point jetties, right?

I'm talking about the little lot to your right as you go in Gulf Rd and reach a 90 degree turn to the condo parking entrance. I had parked there on Memorial weekend. After we got back to the dock on that July 4th trip, we drove to the parking lot to check it out and didn't see any new signs or barricades. I don't think they could ticket or tow without at least a warning sign. Maybe he meant parking inside the gates of the condo itself, which should be rather obvious since it is gated and clearly marked for residents only.

paulwall
07-30-2007, 11:16
That's my kind of diving - free and easy. I can't wait to get back to the area for those dives. When we were returning from offshore there last month, the DM mentioned the jetty wall as a good dive. Sounds like it would make a good second dive, as the tide turns just ride it back to entry. The DM also said they stopped allowing parking at the little lot in front of Grand Pointe, is this true?

Well, Downunder doesn't know anything about that, and people were parked there. If we're talking about the same lot. Where is Grand Pointe?

Grand Pointe, if I'm remembering the name correctly, is the big condo building directly adjacent to the jetty rocks. You're talking about the west Alabama Point jetties, right?

I'm talking about the little lot to your right as you go in Gulf Rd and reach a 90 degree turn to the condo parking entrance. I had parked there on Memorial weekend. After we got back to the dock on that July 4th trip, we drove to the parking lot to check it out and didn't see any new signs or barricades. I don't think they could ticket or tow without at least a warning sign. Maybe he meant parking inside the gates of the condo itself, which should be rather obvious since it is gated and clearly marked for residents only.

That's the same spot. There were fishermen parked there when I got there. I think it's still allowed. They definitely need more parking in that area.

reefgirl64
09-08-2007, 00:39
We attempted the Whiskey Wreck, back in mid-June and was disappointed, because the vis wasn't very good that day. What little bit I saw was very cool, the fish, stirred up a couple of flounder, collected a HUEMONGOUS (sp?) shell... plan on going back, maybe in late October. Didn't make it to the jetties, though....had "non-divers" company w/us.