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12/19/2006 Albion aboard Phil Sammet's RIB by Harry Wong -- [View this report only]
Bottom Team: Alberto Nava, Harry Wong
Support Team:Phil Sammet
Visibility: 2' - 5' Time:10:11 AM
Temp: 50F - 60F Surge: 2'
Max Depth: 187FSW Avg Depth: 180FSW
Bottom Time: 0:24 Total Time:  
Bottom Gases: 18/45Deco Gases:O2
Backgas Config: Double LP80Deco Tanks:AL80
Deco Profile:
1,1,1,2,2,6,4,4,4,6,19 and 8 minutes up.
 
Deep, Dark and Scary Albion Wreck Dive Today

This was to be a project research dive for NOAA. Beto and I arranged to have Phil take us out in his RIB. The night before, I could hear Phil's hesitation in taking us out, conditions were not supposed to be that good. But I pushed and he went for it.

So 9 AM, off we go. Fortunately, the Albion is in the bay and easy to get to. Phil said that the viz would be poor...he was right. I told him, but that wouldn't preclude a fun dive anyway. As the anchor went overboard, I could see the viz was great on top, at least 60 feet. Perhaps it would be that at 185 feet?

After doing our usual surface checks and reiterating our plans, we descended. The viz was great up to 120 feet, the deeper we went, the darker and the worse the viz. I had to light up the anchor line less than 5 feet in front of me to keep track of it. Down, down and down, my depth gauge read 175...the bottom's got to be around here somewhere.....then bump. I hit bottom, soft sand. We followed the anchor line and got to the anchor. It was wrapped around what looked like a small 2 x 4 piece of wood. Where was the wreck? I aimed my very bright HID light and no sign of the wreck. The plan was if the anchor was not near the wreck, we would run a reel and do a search pattern to find it. We moved ahead 5 feet and "bumped" into it.

Viz was about 5 feet which made this dive an entirely different dive than my previous dives that all had 50-80 feet of viz. This was relatively deep, it was dark, and this time kind of scary. Knowing the wreck, I knew that if we followed the coutour of the entire wreck too closely we would end up inside it and in this viz I didn't want to do that.

But still, it was quite a relief to be trim and relaxed. Slowly and effortlessly moving about the wreck! I checked my breathing, it was nice and slow. Cool! Deep dark and scary and I'm breathing slow! Beto gave me the OK? signal, basically asking if I was OK with the low viz. I could tell he was comfortable and I thought, cool! We're not calling dive because of the viz. Who needs viz anyway!

Having dived this site a few times, I led the dive, Beto had the video camera and got some good shots of some invertebrate life on the wreck. We noticed lots of Metridium, but not only white Metridium, but yellow, orange and red Metridium.

Apparently they exist in different colors, but I find this unusual. Can anyone shed some light on this?

Anyway, as I circle the wreck, I recognize the area to stay out of in this poor viz and we manage not to penetrate it. Back-kicks come in handy here. There are plenty of wires, pipes, rope and such to get entangled in.

Then 25 minutes at 180-185 feet and it's time to ascend. So up to 120 we go for one minute stops up to 90 and 80 feet for 2 minute stops. Then about 6 minutes at 70 feet. At 70 feet I start to pull out my 02 bottle, which Beto catches before I deploy the regulator...good buddy system! I got used to having a bottle in a certain position. Hm...bad habit. I love this very dedicated buddy system!

Then it was 4 minutes at 60, 50 and 40 feet. Not much to look at the water was pretty green, no jellies and such to look at. So I pull out my WetNotes and played Tic-Tac-Toe with Beto. Draw! I guess we could play Hangman next time. At 30 feet we stow our 50% and at 20 feet we switch gasses again. A nice long deco at 20 feet with a very slow ascent up to the surface and there was Phil waiting for us! Such luxury, drift deco!

What an awesome and fun dive!

Can anyone shed some light on the yellow, orange and red Metridium?

All dives are fun, some are just more "entertaining" ;-) Live Long and Deco

Harry (doc) Wong www.docwong.com www.oceansfoundation.org Warships to Nurseries
Turkey Diverwww.baue.org