I live in Utah and travel to New Jersey for business. This year I decided I needed something other than business to do in New Jersey – like they say all work and no play is… well no fun.
I knew diving off New Jersey was cold so I decided I needed to dive dry. Purely by luck I called Gene’s shop and stopped by to talk about dry suits. I ended up buying a dry suit and signing up for Gene’s wreck diving class.
I feel very fortunate to be taking a class from Gene. I don’t know if anyone out there climbs, but for me taking a diving class from Gene would be like taking a climbing class from Yvon Chouinard – the real deal!!
To get ready for the North Atlantic I made several dives where I became more familiar with all my new equipment and wow – there’s a bit of equipment.
In preparation, I dived in a 6000’ lake at 33 F to check out my new dry suit, I shot lift bags, and slung pony bottles and had 2 regulators free flow at depth to get ready for this dive (I didn’t really plan the free flow it was just an added training bonus)
So on Saturday I arrived at the Dina Dee off Barnegat Light feeling intimidated and under prepared for day ahead. For Gene’s wreck class there are several objectives that need to be accomplished. Today my official objective was to plan a boat dive.
Anthony was the DM and buddied me up with Gary and Rob. The day was beautiful and after we hooked the San Saba and shut off the engines there was hardly any current and very little chop – the trail line was slack behind the boat.
I geared up and rolled into the cold North Atlantic. I descended the drop line to the granny line and swam forward. With no current it was an easy descent. I found Gary waiting for me on the bottom. Rob decided to explore around the anchor line so I followed Gary.
Almost immediately Gary found a lobster in a hole. He indicated I should reach in and grab it. It was hard to communicate “Are you crazy??! There’s no way I reaching into that hole”, so I gave Gary the “After you” sign. Gary ended up working up to his shoulder and came out with a small bug. He let it go.
I was amazed at how quickly I would lose the strobe on the anchor line. Not to state the obvious but in 15’ viz it was about 15’ away when I couldn’t see the strobe any more.
The wreck itself was disorienting and I was unable to comprehend exactly what I was looking at. I suppose more experience will help me find which way the pointy end of the ship lies.
On the second dive Gary and I found a spot to dig but found nothing but small broken boards.
I'm not sure where everyone found the warm water but my computer was telling me it was 45F.
On these dives I become more comfortable with my equipment. I now trust that my dry suit won’t spontaneously flood and it would decided to balloon uncontrollably to the surface for no good reason.
It was a thoroughly enjoyable day of good diving and good company. I’m looking forward to more dives this summer.