Sign up Latest Topics
 
 
 


Reply
  Author   Comment  
AtlanticDivers

owner
Registered:
Posts: 322
Reply with quote  #1 
Arriving at the Big Mac Saturday morning at 5 a.m., I was grateful to be alive. At mile marker 3.2 heading south on the Garden State Parkway three cars were heading north in the south bound lanes.  With a car ahead of me and behind, together we swerved off the road after a near miss head on. Sitting on the shoulder, I dialed 911 and reported the incident.  I caught my breath and continued my journey calling a few others I knew were on their way south to pass on a warning. 
Shaking off the dangerous venture to the boat I greeted in coming divers, loaded the Big Mac and we sailed off to the Varanger.  Varanger has always been one of my favorite dives and over the years it has treated me well.  A gigantic tanker torpedoed in 1942, this 470 foot ship lies in three sections in 150 feet of water.  The bow lies on it's port sheered off and lower than the other two sections.  The bridge remains the higher section starting at 120 feet and dropping to 147 feet.  In the seventies, the bridge stood high above the rest of the wreck, a shallow 90 feet, where divers could descend down the stairwells and escaped through a airplane hangar size torpedo hole to the sand.  Over the years here I recovered portholes, an azimuth, traff rail repeater and a giant bridge wing telegraph. Crossing another torpedo gap to the stern one could travel over the wood deck and gaze in awe at the massive foyer deck gun.  In 1992, the heavy gun barrel fell over the stern and can opened the stern ripping off the deck leaving the below deck level exposed.   The gun now lies barrel pointing down in the sand.  Here while guiding a trip to film for National Geographic, Lynn DelCorio and I recovered the stern auxiliary binnacle stand. Infrequently visited, Varanger still coughs up lots of brass and humongous lobster.  I caught two 18lbers on a dive here in 1991. 
Today would be just as rewarding.  Paul Whittaker, Harold Moyers (owner) and I crewed. The divers included John Preistly, Mark Clark, Geoff Graham, Tom Fagan, and Mike Benson.  Seas were long swell 2-4  foot and settled to nearly flat during our surface interval time.  Visibility was a good 20-30 feet, but dark and the temperature was a warm 52 degrees.
We dived the bridge section, now collapsed with roof and floor sections canted over the main deck. Here is a good place to look for brass parts, door knobs, locks, keys,door latches, clothes hooks and other possible bridge navigation gear.  I happened upon a pile of sky light port glass and a brass skylight.  Others picked up some assorted hardware and Tom Fagan recovered two 100 pound brass fuel sleeves, along with another skylight glass.   During the deco stop I was visited by three aggressive dogfish that continuously nosed up to and snapped at my fins.  Little sharks can be more dangerous than their big brothers because they are sneakier and can quickly deliver multiply bites.  I slammed my swing bottle on the leader's snout and that seemed to quell his curiosity for a while.  Back on the boat I soon found out why they were so aggressive.  Paul Whittaker was shucking scallops and dumping the shells.  Friends always keep you on your toes and entertained.  With out Paul's shucking my hang would have been quite boring.    After two spectacular dives we headed back to Cape May.  The sun sparkled coastline was dotted with sailboats and noticeably few powerboats.  A result of the fuel crunch, we estimated.  A trip like this was worth all the effort and expense.  As these huge wreck continue to disintegrate few will have the appeal and grandeur. We loaded up our trucks, cleaned up and bid farewells until the next Big Mac voyage.  A great day on the water with friends and I was happy all the traffic was going in the right direction on my way home.

Good Wreck Diving!
Gene




__________________
Good Wreck Diving!
AtlanticDivers

owner
Registered:
Posts: 322
Reply with quote  #2 
http://gallery.mac.com/p.whittaker#100027&view=grid&bgcolor=black&sel=7

Check out Paul Whittaker's web pictures of the Varanger trip.




__________________
Good Wreck Diving!
Previous Topic | Next Topic
Print
Reply

Quick Navigation:


Create your own forum with Website Toolbox!

E-Mail: atlanticdivers@hotmail.com
Copyright ? 1999-2010 Atlantic Divers, Inc.
All Rights Reserved.