Plunderers at the P-38

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Posted by George E Spalding III on September 06, 2004 at 09:04:28:

Location: P-38
Visibility: 25+ feet
Temperature: 56F or so
Stupid Jerks: Four

I wish I didnít have to write this report, but hopefully someone will know who these idiots are and talk some sense into them. Most likely that wonít happen, though.

Taking advantage of the continuing good surface conditions on Saturday, Paul, Dave and I headed up the coast in Paulís new Boston Whaler. Our destination was the P-38. As we got there, we saw another boat in the same location, which could only mean one thing: other divers. As we got closer we saw that they were under way, which made us think they were leaving. Alas, closer inspection revealed they were trying to snag the mooring buoy with their boat hook. Wait a minute Ė why would there be a mooring buoy there? The answer was not good. They were trying to snag a lift bag. They had plundered an artifact from the P-38.

They noticed our approach. Their immediate change in demeanor gave away their embarrassment at being nailed red-handed. They finally hauled up their ill-gotten booty, and set it on the swim step of the boat. It looked to be that obround, cylindrical tank thatís down there. As soon as they had it on the swim step they covered it with a towel, but by then we had already motored over to confront them. At first they blustered Ė what makes you think this is from the P-38?, etc., etc., then they got defensive, especially after I let them know in colorful language what I thought of them. Such feculance from those so guilty.

They were in a white boat, 20-25 feet long. It had a swim step in the back, with a flip-down ladder in the center. It has two blue sun canopies in the front. They were all four in drysuits. They didnít appear to be diving with doubles, or other specialized equipment. The registration number is CF 6121 GD. If you know the person who owns this boat, let him know his actions are uncool and unappreciated. If you are the person who provided these guys the coordinates for the P-38, I suggest you think twice about giving them coords to other sites. Unless, of course, you enjoy diving on picked-over wrecks.

Surprisingly, it is not illegal to take things from wrecks, at least those not in preserves. There ought to be a lawÖ

We proceeded to anchor, and being the persons they are, they motored slowly around a couple of hundred yards from the boat, waiting for us to drop down. We outwaited them, however, and they soon tucked their tail between their legs and motored off. The dive was quite nice. The parts of the P-38 that are still there are quite pleasant to look at. The only noisome thing about the dive, other than the plunderers, was a slight current.

After the dive we headed out to find some kelp paddies and the anticipated mola mola that sometimes dwell beneath. The first two we found did sport molas, but they each swam away as we approached on snorkel. Sometime later we found one free-swimming, and got some good photos of him, we expect. It was a nice day on the water, and I gather it was quite hot on land Saturday.


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