Unexploded Ordinance Diving off San Clemente in September

By Kevin

Tired of all the damn fish ? Sick of those seals buzzing you when you trying to crowbar that brass treasure off the wreck ? Burned out on exploring “ another “beautiful (boooooring ) reef” ? Are you at the point where if you run into another 32 person Sports Chalet class underwater you’re simply gonna start turning off valves and yanking out second stages ? How about a little excitement, a day of thrills, and adventure .............

We’ve chartered a boat, and we are headed to a full day of diving at San Clemente Island on Spetmeber 15 (sATURDAY). We are gonna do five dives over one full day of exploring the US Navy SHOBA ( Shore Bombardment Area ) coastline. Its the annual “ Unexploded Ordinance Dive “. Unlike the (booooring ) Avalon Cleanup, or the ( yet again canceled ) King Harbor cleanup, here is an opportunity for you to have the most lethal paperweight in your office building right on your own desk !

Forget about the World War One torpedo launchers from the Moody ( there aren’t any left ), and forget about the twin 50 caliber from the Landing Craft ( Its in MY back yard ), this is your chance to get some MODERN ORDINANCE. And nonE of that sissy BS stuff from the surplus store. This stuff ain’t marked “inert”.

We started doing this type of diving about five years ago when we heard that a C-130 had a major systems failure and was required to drop its transport load before landing at LAX ( obviously a civilian airport) . This flight was moving a BLU-82/B and basically lost hydraulics and avionics. So they had to jettison this big Bomb right off Palos Verdes. The Army nicknamed this weapon “Commando Vault “. Its a gigantic bomb designed to instantly create helicopter landing zones, usually where enemy command posts and resupply or hospital stations were. The US Army once dropped three of these on one Iraqi town, no more town, now a big LZ. Kinda of like killing two birds with one stone I guess. We sure searched long and hard for that one, never found it though. What a great piece that would be for anyone’s collection. ( Oops, sorry, the Army never really wiped out an entire town as a part of bet between two light Colonels. )

The thrill of actually finding and recovering a serious piece of US weaponry is an amazing high, very much like that of wreck diving or night diving. But remember, you get a souvenir of your dive when making an Un Exploded Ordinance dive. And its a souvenier you seriously can’t buy at the gift shop of the resort.

C’mon and join the fun, we all know that EOD Mobile Unit Three are a bunch of slackers, what they leave behind is all ours. The forty dolphins and sealions they got penned up down at Marine Mammal Systems are lazy, fat and abused. They would rather chase fish than mark and ID ordinance when the trainers aren’t looking. ( Oops, sorry, the Navy doesn’t really have an MMS unit. Nor do they train these stinky critters to kill people as park of their Swimmer Detection and Neutralization System.)

We are gonna scour the ocean for some really beautiful and gorgeous pieces of man made art. Last year I recovered a real beauty, a fully intact GBU-28/ BLU-113 Penetrator. In the gulf we called this mother the “Bunker Buster”. It was basically factory fresh when I found it. The kids around the neighborhood always come by to look at it in the garage.

Last year other divers came up with lots of other UXO, mostly smaller training bombs. Some didn’t even have operational warheads, so we tossed them over the side with everything else marked “ Inert “. One diver did find a cute little AGM-123 Skipper II , its a short range precision attack missile. Small enough to keep inside the house, I think its in his bedroom. He hangs his hats all over it. Jeez, if his wife only knew it was real, but that’s part of the fun of Unexploded ordinance Diving !

What we all would really like to find is the missing BLU-80/B that Abel Holguin ( Ass't SCI Range Manager ) was screaming about last year. The “BigEye” is a binary chemical weapons bomb, banned by about 13 international treaties. What a find that would be !! I mean, really only a tactical nuke would beat out a chemical bomb at the end of the year California Wreck Divers competition. ( Oops, sorry, the Air Force doesn’t really have BLU-80’s, chemical and biological weapons are outlawed.)

The bottom line is of course safety, we can’t recommend trying to disarm the stuff yourself, its probably best just to rinse the items off in fresh water, and of course keep them out of direct sunlight. If anyone asks, just smile and say you bought it at the surplus store.

Does anyone remember when sex was safe and Ordinance Collecting was dangerous, my how times have changed ! If you have your military or DoD ID handy, we may just make it to the Salty Crab, the only bar on San Click. Don’t worry, its an all hands club.

Don’t be scared, come join the fun. Unexploded Ordinance Diving beats the heck out of looking at Garibaldis, hey, it may even be a PADI specialty course one day !


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