As I was carrying my gear over the long walk, on ankle deep snow, to the entrance point I felt like a “tough chick”, like an “independent strong woman”. However, reality could not be farther. I really get annoyed and overwhelmed with winter diving with all the drysuit and the dry gloves, which I cannot done on by myself. That’s why I am glad that Bert, the land support of the day, was there to help me at the point of entry, and even more so after the exit.
Due to nice weather and great conditions we had a big group diving today. There were as many cameras getting in the water as the number of divers, because of the special life we observe at this site. Possibly due the exceptionally high current bringing lots of nutrients, a very healthy patch of hydroids grow there. Hydroids, being the favorite food, in turn brings a variety of nudibranchs. Unlike all the nudis we see on other sites of New England, you really don’t need microscopic eyes to find them here, because thee guys get up to 3-4 inches long! The most abundant nudis are the F. verilli (red gilled) and D. frondosus (bushy back), but if you can look beyond those you can see other species as well, however those are much smaller in size.
One thing about this site is that you have to dive at slack tide, which is ~1:15 hours after the high tide, otherwise the current is too strong. And how much the surface looks calm, don’t trust it, trust your tide tables. Today, the surface looked very calm and we all got early enough so we entered the water ~15-20 min early, and, oh boy, there was current. Most of the time I was fighting with it, as I was trying to position myself for the photos.
After ~35 min of the dive I felt that I cannot handle the cold on my hands anymore, I signaled my buddy that I was leaving and I headed back. When my computer signaled safety stop I decided to swim sideways, as opposed to climbing the slope towards the shore. Right after then, I got caught in this crazy current pulling me into the channel, I was holding on to the rocks and pulling myself towards the shore. It was for sure scary but I could finally get myself to the shore. Once again, I realized that this site is no joke and I need a briefing next time before my dive here.
Thanks to Bert I could get out of my gear. Thanks to him because after the dive my fingers are so cold that they have no grip nor strength.
In the middle of all this, I asked myself “Is it worth all of this hurdle? the walk over the snow, carrying all the weight, getting brain freeze, almost loosing your fingers, the scare of being pulled into the channel?”, unfortunately the answer was “Yes” and soon I will go back.
Because the hydroid farm is beautiful, the nudis are gorgeous, the possibility of seeing a sturgeon fish is intriguing, and the depth just looks mysterious. Today, no sturgeon fish, but bunch of nudis (even though the numbers were much less compared the earlier years) and always fun to see fish eggs.
Buddy: Tom Gaitley
47 ft, 46min, 37F, 30ft viz