Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Weather Makes Me Nervous

Isle Royale National Park, Michigan - Today the weather looks good which brings up the first “director” call of the project. Option # 1 - to take advantage of the weather and make the 2 ½ run for the north shore of the island and dive any of the 3 shipwrecks there. The whims of Superior are tricky and it could be hard to get back. However, the cameras and ROV have been bench tested in the dorm, but not wet tested. 2 ½ hours is a long way to run the first day out. Option #2 – stay local, dive the 182ft wooded steamer America, which is generally reserved as our “bad weather” wreck. I placed my bet on good weather in the coming days and stayed local - insuring these systems are fully operational before we head further afield. Wrong move? The forecast seems to be betting against me, but time will tell.

To me, being back on a shipwreck your familiar with through previous dives always feels like seeing an old friend. Although the remains of the vessel rarely change much, each dive reveals something overlooked in previous dives, thus adding to experience much like new stories or catching up. The America is a shipwreck’s shipwreck. It looks and feels like a shipwreck. Minus some salvage activity post sinking and the superstructure gouged away by the ice, its all there. Staircases, galleys, engine and bunk rooms. You can swim down the passageways from the grand staircase into the great room while passing the remains of dinning tables and serving chests on the way. It’s a great dive. As I mentioned, generally its considered a “weather wreck” due to its protected location. Cant get out? Head to the America. Also, its close to Windigo where the majority of boaters make port when on the West End, so it has constantly been the parks front runner in dives per year by the visiting public.

Today’s objective was simply to image a couple shots of the remotely operated vehicle on the grand staircase and gets some 3D of the site. The more important task was to water test, trim the ROV and cameras and dial in our rebreathers and drysuits in the cold water of Superior. I hope I made the right call to stay local. 

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