CMAR maps the Erl King - Biscayne National Park - On site report and photos

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Posted by Patrick Smith on July 24, 2005 at 21:15:44:

Diver Report: Mapping ERL KING,

Biscayne National Park 07/24/05


Dive Report © Patrick Smith 2005. May not be reporduced in part or whole without advanced written permission.

A short report on the ongoing work CMAR is doing in Biscayne National Park.

The multi-year project involves the survey and mapping of several shipwreck sites within the park for inclusion in a "shipwreck trail" project the park is developing. Previously we worked the Spanish freighter, ALICIA, lost in 1905 on Ajax Reef. Currently we are working the ERL KING, a steam clipper built for the Australia-China trade in 1865. She operated under a variety of companies until 1891 when she drove ashore on Long Reef, just east of Elliot Key.
From the wreck site, you can look northwest and see the skyline of Miami, or turn and look east and see nothing but the deep cobalt-blue of the Gulf Stream.
For our first dive on the site this year, air temp. was in the high 90s. Surface water temperature was 93 degrees. Temperature on the bottom "chilled" down to a mere 83 degrees. Visibility was a little milky - only about 80 feet.
Today, we replaced the baseline on the wreck and looked the site over searching for changes wrought by winter storms and hurricane Dennis. Dennis is the storm that righted the 504-foot Spiegel Grove a few weeks ago. Fortunately the site seems to have survived untouched. Mark Norder, Carol Linteau and me, along with Brenda Lanzendorf from the Park Service began mapping the north end of the site. Because the bow and stern have not yet been determined (but we have an educated guess), we're still using compass descriptions of the area. In the course of our mapping, we found that the two huge Green Morays that we saw last year are still in the same place. These are immense eels with the debate going on as to whether they are 8 or 10 feet long. Somehow, nobody wants to run a tape down the length of these two. What I can say is that their bodies, behind their heads, are bigger than my thigh. And I don't have dainty thighs.
Warm clear water is very nice, but for interesting critters, and diversity you can't beat California diving. Thesse are a few photos of the site.

CMAR Mapping the Erl King, Biscayne National Park CMAR Mapping the Erl King, Biscayne National Park CMAR Mapping the Erl King, Biscayne National Park

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