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Dive Report and Photos from CMAR Project - Biscayne Florida - Erl King Wreck


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Posted by Patrick Smith on July 30, 2005 at 18:21:48:

Diving the Erl King

National Park Service/CMAR Project

© Patrick Smith, 2005, may not be reproduced in part or whole without advanced written permission.

The Last Biscayne Report 07/30/05

Our ongoing work on the Erl King site continued to go pretty well. Conditions have mostly favored us on Thursday and Friday with gentle winds, glassy, 1-2-foot seas and of course air temps in the 90s. Of course the surface water temp is 90-92 degrees with the thermocline at about 13 feet dropping the temperature down to a pretty consistent 86 degrees. I DO love California diving but these conditions are nice for a change. Friday we bailed early (13:45) due to approaching thunderstorms that were sizzling with lightning.

Our work goal is pretty much the same. We continue to map the main structure and on Thursday we did some survey to try to determine the extreme edges of the wreck scatter. It is truly amazing the size of structure that have been carried west from the site by hurricanes and lesser storms. Plate structure that moves is easy to understand; lots of surface area for the water to push against is similar to a newspaper blowing down the street on a windy day. But machinery, and single beams and girders that we find so far from the site gives you pause as to the violence and power of the tempests that periodically favor Biscayne with their presence. Aside from documenting the positions of these pieces with GPS, we have the opportunity to meet some of the "neighbors." Critters like spotted eagle rays, and great barracuda patrol the periphery of the site. I Also ran into a squadron of about a dozen squid whose color-changing skills made it a real challenge to initially spot them, and impossible to keep them in sight unless they allowed it.

Friday (yesterday) was to be our last day on Erl King. Saturday was to be dedicated to looking at several other wreck sites that we may work, as well as a new site that the lobster monitoring crew at the park discovered on Tuesday. Thank you Becca!

But Saturday dawned dark and foreboding; tremendous thunder and lightning and a torrential downpour that on occasion dropped the visibility to a couple of hundred feet.

Oh well. We had to catch-up with paperwork, sorting the images and start packing for home (Damn it!). By 11:00 our thunderstorm cell had pretty much cleared out but the surrounding skies were still gun-metal gray. We spent today (Saturday) ashore, and I took the opportunity to gather some images to send to the board. With Elaine's gracious help they should be here for you to peruse.

Stay wet.

Topside Biscayne

Topside Biscayne, CMAR Erl King Project

2nd Dive - Onsite Conditions at Erl King

Onsite at Erl King, CMAR Project

Topside View

Topside at Erl King,  CMAR Project

Disgruntled Scorptionfish - NE Side of Erl King

Scorpionfish, Erl King, CMAR Project

Norder and Flamingo Tongue on Purple Sea Fan. NW side of the Erl King

Flamintgo Tongue at Erl King, CMAR Project

Norder on the NW side of the Erl King

Blue Spot Octopus. NW side of Erl King

Blue Spot Octopus at Erl King, CMAR Project

Cement Barrel Cargo Erl King

Cement Barrel Cargo at Erl King, CMAR Project

Linteau at Maststep Midship - Erl King

Mastep Midship at Erl King, CMAr Project

Parrotfish at Erl King

Erl King Boiler End Cap

Boiler End Cap, Erl King, CMAR Project

Cement Barrels and wreckage off the main site at the Erl King

Cement Barrels, Erl King, CMAR Project

Port Hole off of the main site at the Erl King

Port Hole, Erl King, CMAR Project

Norder at the English China Site

English China, CMAR Project

Schooner wreck site ballast pile

Ballast Pile, Biscayne, CMAR Project



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