The Yukon? Yes, I think it was.

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Posted by seahunt on November 26, 2000 at 21:28:40:

It seems so amazing to me. I have been diving so many years,
but I still was just loaded with adrenaline. True, I've been dry
for too long, but it's that same rush as in my first years.
I've wanted to get back to the Ruby E for a while. It's a
fantastic place for macro photography, with myrids of colorful
filter feeders. Last time I was there, my camera failed. It was
time for another try. First stop was the much discussed Yukon
though. I didn't expect it to be spectacular, but it should be
interesting and I could get some pics...
It was going to be a beautiful November day. Everyone was
aboard and the Lois Ann started out. All we needed was good
conditions. Oh... We came around the corner and I could see
a breaker coming in on Dog Beach... A big breaker. It was not
going to be a calm day or anything like it.
In about 10 minutes we got to the mooring on the stern.
Blue Escape was on the bow mooring and the Gotta Dive folks
were over the central superstructure mooring. They gave a dive
briefing and requested no solo penetrations. They said that
you could solo dive if you were qualified, but if you had to
ask what that meant, then you weren't qualified. I quietly
asked if going into the wheel house was considered a
penetration and they said no. Another nice thing about the
Lois Ann, I had 31.5 Nitrox. I'm mostly not sure why I use it,
but I like an edge and prehaps one day I'll notice an advantage
to it.
I was in no hurry to go in and they said that it was going
to be a 30 minute gate. I'm used to lobster boats where everyone
hits the water as fast as they can. Not here though. Even after
near 20 minutes, people were still trying to get organized. I
finally got assembled and put some air in my BC. Hmmm.... That
wasn't stopping. My BC continued to inflate slowly until the
relase popped... and then popped again just a bit later... then
again. So after banging the assembly some and fiddling around, I
just took off the hose. Well, BC fills would be manual and there
wasn't going to be an octopus then. I just wanted to get in the
water and dive. Right now, there seemed to be minimal swell.
I wanted to go in the wheel house, so before going down, I
swam over towards the boat on the central mooring. A DM there
noticed me and signaled OK, so I sent it back and went down. I
immediatly noticed something else that was a bit nifty. Though
there are three mooring lines, there are also ascent lines that
stop about 10 feet under the surface. There are a number of these
in different places on the wreck. Very convenient.
There I am. Finally on the Yukon. I can't see a thing.
Vis was about 8 feet.. maybe. Not enough to identify
anything or orient. Hmmm... As expected, there was not really
much growth, but there was the beginnings of some algaes. I was
trying to figure out what to do. I had figured that I would be
able to find the wheel house from the center of the boat, but
not a chance. There was a hole in front of me and I looked in
and there was a bathtub. Hmmm... This boat is on it's side, but
the bathtub was right side up... Well, I like a warm bath, so I
started to move across to try to find something... anything. I
found it all right. Murk. Things started to get dark, so I held
out my hand to see if it was just dark, or dirty. My hand almost
vanished. It was serious murk. I then looked at my depth and it
was 93 feet. Dang. It was time to think fast. This was not just
a casual dive. Just below, was black vis and if I left the boat,
only my compass was going to get me back. It was time to think.
I had to be up a tower of some kind, off the boat. So I had to
follow that back. When I got back to my starting point, I tried
for a picture of the bathtub and found out my camera wasn't
working. Neet! But that was OK. Things got really interesting
then. The swell on the surface must have been huge, because
down here, the surge was whipping. I didn't care at first. A
little surge doesn't bother me... until I start worrying about
my mask. I tucked into a corner of the structure I was on and
latched on with both hands. The railings were convenient for
that. I figured it was time to relax and save air. Even in the
bad vis, I could see other divers havng their problems. Behind
me was a hatch with bubbles whipping out of it. I figured that
someone doing a penetration was having fun, because anytime I
got near it, it was seriously trying to suck me in.
Finally, things calmed down some. I'm thinking that this
sorta sucks and my flash is doing a great impression of a
grapple on the rail and anything it came near. With the camera
dead and no vis, I was tempted to just go up the way I came
down and call it a dive, but I didn't even know where the line
was though it had to be within 15 feet. I figured I should make
the best of it and follow the railing to the back and there
would have to be an ascent line near the railing or I would
just float up free.
It was interesting going along. The upper railing cable of
the three was pretty clean from other divers using it to travel
along. There were ropes and some yellow caution tape at some
point, but not a lot to see. It's a big boat and it was a ways
to the back. When I got to the mooring line, I went up but moved
over to one of the ascent lines because the main line was
already crowded with people stopped at 30 feet.
Some dive. Like the skipper said, good time to practice
navigation skills.
Well. I had really come to photograph the colorful
Corynactis anemones on the Ruby E, so... It was a beautiful warm
sunny day. It's only a few minutes between the two wrecks. It
was nice to laze and munch some of the fruit and bagels that had
been put out. I adjusted my camera and took a few shots. Then it
was time to try again. The skipper said that the anchor should
be over the deck. I dropped down and sure enough, there it was..
whatever it was. Vis was no better and surprisingly, I really
didn't see much in the way of good anemone displays. There was
mostly dirt and some kelp on this part of the deck. There were
some small bass and perch though. I took a few pictures of growth
on the railings and wondered where some better Corynactis growths
were. I was very disappointed with what I saw. Too many divers
were visiting this wreck. Much of the growth I saw last time was
gone. I saw none of the small scallops I wanted to shoot.
Moving in the no see ums, I came to the back of the wheel
house. Up here vis was a little better, perhaps 15 feet. and the
Corynactis growths were thick and healthy. Click, click, click.
Still, where divers would contact the structure of the boat
itself, life was missing. It was another short dive, but after
looking about a bit and in the wheel house, I decided to go up.
There was nothing to see, so I just watched my computer and went
We went on to the kelp beds and I probably should have made
the third dive, but I was a bit discouraged and expected zero vis
on the bottom here. That and other considerations made me sit it
out. It was a beautiful day to relax and watch the kelp beds. The
lunch that was put out was good. I talked to some interesting
people. Divers coming up said that there was some vis and that it
was the best dive of the day... That will teach me.
The short trip back makes for a nice ride. There is always
something special about cruising on the ocean. You go through
the kelp bed looking at the birds and whatever flotsom you pass.
It was a poor day for diving, but just being out is rejuvinating.
One thing is as sure as that the ocean is wet. Not every dive day
will be a good one. Well, now I'm due for a real good one on my
next trip.
Enjoy the diving, seahunt
PS. I observed a few interesting things.
It was a pretty mixed group on the boat. A couple divers
had more time in the water than me. Some didn't look that
experienced and some were 'quarry divers'. Though this was
actually some challenging diving, no one seemed overwhelmed.
Normally, I wouldn't have noticed, but as I have said before,
read this board much and you expect a few drownings. No, it was
just some divers having fun.
Gear was interesting. Most of it was what I would expect,
but there were a few with fairly tech rigs. One older guy had
a serious cave background. It was interesting. Everyone was low
key though. They were all there to dive.

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