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Dive Report: Wreck of the Port Hunter

Discussion in 'New England' started by DanSinks, Oct 29, 2020.

  1. DanSinks

    DanSinks Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Massachusetts
    171
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    Dove the Port Hunter on 10/23/2020, accompanied by dive buddy Tim.

    It was a GREAT DIVE! Port Hunter sank in 1917, it's 380 ft long and largely intact, there are many fish all around it, in some places schools of Black Sea Bass, in other places Tautog in big groups.
    One of the cargo items it carried was rail road wheels and was able to locate some of these.

    Slack low tide was predicted to be 12:05 PM, as it turns out the low was .21 ft and the previous high was 1.26 ft so only a swing of 1.05 ft, so our dive window was a bit more than usual, with a more forgiving current.

    When I descended down the anchor rope the anchor was hooked on the gunwale of the wreck, I pulled it off and placed it in the sand. Vis was excellent, about 20 ft

    Some pics are attached, Shown is the bow of the ship, some black sea bass, some tautog, some yellow jack.
    the top of the bow is about 30 ft deep while the bottom of the bow is about 64 ft deep, maybe I should have taken the picture almost straight up to try to get it into the frame, it's pretty impressive. Even though it's about 64' at the bottom of the bow, there are wicked high/steep sand dunes on either side of it, it's like the sand close to the bow was blasted away by the current. I'll post some video once I edit it and clean it up.

    Most dives in Vineyard sound need to be during slack, and I always use the tide chart for Falmouth Heights, on some previous dives from my boat, my dive buddies commented that we need to have a more exact prediction of slack tide. But since wind conditions effect the timing of the high and low tides, it's not easy for recreational divers to have an exact time for a given location. If the current approaching slack tide is running to the East and there is was a strong West wind for several hours then slack tide will be earlier. The NOAA web site has more info on this. This is why it's good to get anchored on the spot early and suit up then watch the current and enter the water when it's reasonable in order to time the ascend and safety stop to almost slack conditions.

    On this day slack was almost exactly 12:05, I assume it was because of the very light wind
     

    Attached Files:

    CT-Rich, TuckerIdaho, EdC and 6 others like this.
  2. AfterDark

    AfterDark Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Rhode Island, USA
    10,264
    7,085
    113
    Nice dive Dan! The vis looked outstanding! I'm looking forward to diving the PH and what ever other wrecks we can find. We can't get the exact prediction of the tides however nice that would be but, we need to do better than almost an hour off like our last dive. The sailors use a particular tide book which my be what we need for Cape Cod.
     
    DanSinks likes this.
  3. coldwaterglutton

    coldwaterglutton Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Connecticut
    70
    74
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    Do the MVY ferry routes interfere at all with the dive site? I know they run pretty close to that area.
     
  4. formernuke

    formernuke ScubaBoard Sponsor ScubaBoard Sponsor

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: New England
    2,086
    1,824
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    Nice pictures I look forward to seeing it myself.
     
    DanSinks likes this.
  5. DanSinks

    DanSinks Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Massachusetts
    171
    90
    28
    @AfterDark you have dove off my Grady one time, that was on the Pemberton, and you finished the dive and climbed back on the boat pretty close to dead slack. I call that good timing so I'm satisfied. Yes it's true that slack was not on time it was very late, but we entered the water when we saw the current slow down which compensated for it. I use the web site boatma.com usually to get the tide times because it has a lot of Cape Cod locations, and normally use the Falmouth Heights number because it's closest to most of my target dive spots. Because of the Elizabeth Islands, Martha's Vineyard and the narrow straights between the Islands, the currents and tides are squirrely, especially near Woods Hole.

    But I can look into it to see if there is a better way. There is always room for improvement.

    By the way, the book you refer to might be the Eldridge Tide and Pilot Book, I have the 2019 edition, I'll look at it to see if there is anything beyond the tides charts on the issue.
     
    AfterDark likes this.
  6. DanSinks

    DanSinks Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Massachusetts
    171
    90
    28
    I have attached a piece of a chart showing that the channels go past the Port Hunter location so there are no ferry boats going over the wreck. I drew red lines to make it easier to read. Note that Hedge Fence Shoals are there, no ferry would want to go over that.
     

    Attached Files:

    AfterDark likes this.
  7. AfterDark

    AfterDark Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Rhode Island, USA
    10,264
    7,085
    113

    That worked in Oct but, to be on the boat all suited up, in the sun, on a hot summer day waiting for the tide to slow down isn't going to be much fun if we have to wait a long time. IMO we got into the water too early on the Pemberton, the air I used fighting the current would have been better used on the bottom.

    Eldridge Tide and Pilot Book I do believe you are correct.

    We'll figure it out with enough time and diving.
     
  8. formernuke

    formernuke ScubaBoard Sponsor ScubaBoard Sponsor

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: New England
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    @DanSinks

    I'm going to agree with @AfterDark on a point here.

    After we set the marker bouy and go for the deep end of the wreck at 70 feet that's a drysuit dive for me so that day will be drysuit sitting in the sun in a drysuit in the summer leads to bad things.

    I also agree with you.... we will figure it out.
     
  9. DanSinks

    DanSinks Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Massachusetts
    171
    90
    28
    @AfterDark and @formernuke I appreciate your constructive feedback.

    @AfterDark that dive on the Pemberton was timed very well, we went into the water with some manageable current and came out at dead slack. We will never do better. Any dive on the Port Hunter or any other wreck in the sound will have at least about that much current(Yes the Eldridge book shows the current varies by location). And as far as waiting too long in the summer heat, all I can say about that is it's part of what you will have to deal with(unless you stay home with the AC on). Few things in life come with reliable guarantees but on this topic I can guarantee heat in the summer and current on Port Hunter dives.

    The current is less when you get to the bottom. In the case of the Port Hunter it can be much less if the diver goes to the lee side of the ship.

    There are charters that go out from Vineyard Scuba Shop to the Port Hunter we could book a trip to see how they do it.
     
    AfterDark likes this.
  10. TuckerIdaho

    TuckerIdaho Barracuda

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    Whoah whoah whoah. Stop.

    Flip through it. There are CURRENT CHARTS that tell you against I believe the Boston tides WHEN slack is ALL OVER Vineyard/Nantucket sound. Nice pretty arrows showing the flow direction and speed hour by hour for both flood and ebb. Websites don't give you that.

    This guessing and hanging on the hook waiting for slack tide to happen is silly. Its right in there spelled out for you.
     
    AfterDark likes this.

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