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AtlanticDivers

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Good wreck diving was had to the Offshore Paddle Wheeler.  Paul Whittaker took some fantastic photos of the Offshore Paddle wheeler in 150 feet of ocean off Cape May.   Steve La Greca, John Copeland, John Preistly, Tom Fagan , Harold Moyers and I enjoyed flat seas and exceptional visibility on this unique wreck.  A few lobsters and bags of scallops were recovered while most of the crew just enjoyed the pristine conditions on the bottom and during our surface time.  Good wreck conversation made the day, as we enjoyed brats, dogs and sausage grilled during our up time.
 
 The wreck was first dived when Debra Whitcraft (Triton Divers) and I (Dive Shop of New Jersey) put together a charter on with Capt. Andy Applegate to search for the lost Cayru (still missing and most probably much further and deeper offshore) in the early 80's.  Bob Ehle and I leaped over the bow rail after the boat anchored to be the first ones to dive the unknown site.  To our surprise it was not a freighter, but and exciting old wreck with two giant paddles still in place.  Numerous monstrous lobster and bags of scallops were retrieved.  Rick Jason brought up a 18 pounder.   A bilge pump manufactured in Wilmington Delaware was recovered by Ray Milligan. This piece led to a conclusion of evidence, that this may be the Champion.
On the boat there were several covert tracking attempts to get the co-ordinates to this wreck, including a fly over by a small airplane during our dive.  As the low flying plane circled several times, a red faced Captain Andy told me plainly, "We were not going to move to any other sites."  He had no intention of giving up any more valuable wrecks.   So the legendary story lives on, and some day the true identity of this grand wreck will be verified.
 
 sidenote: Captain Applegate passed away this past year but his wreck searching  passion led to numerous discoveries including a number of Black Sunday wrecks.

Check out Pauls fantastic pictures:
http://gallery.me.com/p.whittaker#100221


Good Wreck Diving!
Gene






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Good Wreck Diving!
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