With great anticipation Atlantic Divers and Captain Al Pyatak of the Sea Lion returned to Atlantic City for our annual spring adventure. In the past the Sea Lion's discoveries and recoveries have been plentiful and note worthy, including the auxiliary helm from the Almirante recovered by Mark and Jen Patterson. I have chartered numerous boats off Atlantic City and shared many exciting adventures. Captain Al brings experience and enthusiasm to the area and that makes these charters most worthy. More history will be made as we look forward to future Sea Lion charters in our southern waters. Al best describes the trek south in his newsletter.
Diving on-board the SEA LION
This Past Week
Thursday the 16th- Capt. Dan Boylan and I moved the boat to Kammerman’s Marina in Atlantic City and other than a quick stop to do a final adjustment to the newly packed stuffing box it was a pleasant and uneventful trip
Friday the 17th – Astra – OPENWe had had been talking about both the Almirante and Mason’s Paddle Wheeler as destinations but since we were going to the “Flour” (Almirante) on Saturday and since the paddle wheeler didn’t elicit a rousing response I decided to head to the Astra, a site where we had recovered some electrical insulators a few years ago. The Astra was built in Denmark in 1945 and is very similar in design to the Tolten but a bit larger at 333 X 51 ft. and 2709 gross tons. She was sunk in a collision with the Steel Inventor March 30th 1951 while carrying automobiles and general cargo. I put the hook in the stern section where the insulators had been found and mentioned that the stern house could also produce galley items. Now the stern didn’t produce any galley items it did produce electrical parts, lots and lots of insulators, and other electrical components.
The Peirce insulators are a standard dead-end spool. These were commonly used to tie off power drops on houses or other buildings. They were extensively used from the 1930's through the 1950's
You just have to love it when you hit crates and crates of cargo, every wooden box you break open is like Christmas morning. Before we left I made sure I had the spot marked and a good set of numbers for the forward section of the wreck since after the storm it had been difficult for the divers to find it by just swimming from the stern.
Saturday the 18th – Almirante 65’- Atlantic DiversThe Almirante was built in Ireland in 1909, 378 feet long with a 50 foot beam. She was owned by the United Fruit Company and carried both cargo and passengers. Sunk in a collision with the tanker Hisko September 6th 1918. After Friday I didn’t think it could get much better Saturday but the weather continued to be perfect and more cool and interesting stuff came over the rail.
Along with the large antique anchor and the quadruple size cold water faucet a very rare piece of ships china was found with the United Fruit Company’s logo. Although the wreck is dove fairly regularly and has produced numerous artifacts over the years very little ships china has ever been found. When asked where he found it the diver stated “on the wreck”, yeah gotta go back there too.
All in all a great couple of days down in AC, the only down side was that the weather turned ugly and we only got two days in but then again it’s a perfect excuse to head back down there sooner than later. Written by Al Pyatak
Those Atlantic Divers that participated include 1st time ocean diver Jule Harrison, Andrew Karistino, John Copeland, Mike Amos, Steve LaGrecca, Kevin McCourt, Geoff Graham, Tom Harris, Dan Burke Jean- Marc Haab and Sandria Haab. Tom Fagan and John crewed.
An exciting return trip is scheduled this coming week on May 29, 30, 31 and June 1 and 2. Join us for some fun wreck diving adventure in our own backyard off Atlantic City.
Good Wreck Diving!