New England Wreck
One of the biggest challenges
on the Northeast coast is wreck diving. I recall several that were
memorable. The one that I remember the most was diving on the wreck
of the Chester A. Poling only a few months after it broke in two and sank
in January just off the coast of Gloucester, Massachusetts. My diving
buddy had just bought a new dive boat and was anxious to try it out.
It was a sunny day in July, 1977 when we launched the boat from a public
boat ramp. The site was about a mile from the Eastern point of Gloucester
Harbor, but the Coast Guard had removed a buoy that marked the spot since
too many people had tried to dive on her. We were lucky this day
as the water was uncharacteristically clear for New England. We were
able to spot the broken stern section through the clear water in about
60 ft. although the superstructure was at 25 feet below the surface.
We descended and I must say, seeing a sunken freighter, with clean bulkheads
and laundry still hanging from the various poles and hooks was eerie.
We went inside a couple of cabins, but I was claustrophobic. I did
manage to get a brass piece from one of the portholes which only required
a single bolt removal. I had it polished and engraved as a remembrance
of this dive. This was one of the most spectacular wreck dives I have made
because of the good visibility, the souvenir, and the newness of the wreck
There are may good wreck dives in New England, although New Jersey seems
to have the reputation for wrecks. I found that the area around Block
Island, Rhode Island combines good wrecks with reasonable bottom conditions
and fair visibility.