+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 5 of 5

Thread: Art & Tina on EXPLORER 21-June-2009

  1. #1
    Closed Account Art Greenberg will become famous soon enough Art Greenberg will become famous soon enough Art Greenberg will become famous soon enough Art Greenberg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Gainesville, FL
    Posts
    270
    Classic KISS

    Art & Tina on EXPLORER 21-June-2009

    I've wanted to dive with Dave ****** aboard his boat Explorer for some time. But that's not something I wanted to do without my full-time buddy, Tina, who has been unable to dive for over a year due to a medical problem. Aside from a couple of dives at Dutch Springs last June, she hasn't dived her Classic KISS since completing MOD1 in Grand Cayman a year ago April. She's starting to recover, and we have managed to spend a little time in the water at Dutch Springs over the last month or so. But Tina wasn't sure about being ready to fall off a boat in the North Atlantic off New Jersey (getting back aboard after the dive would be the hard part for her). So when Dave offered to help her get back into boat diving with a special trip aboard Explorer, we jumped at the opportunity.

    Dave suggested a shallow wreck in the Point Judith Harbor of Refuge, where wind and waves would most likely not be a concern. This would allow Tina to get out of her rig on the surface at the end of the dives if necessary. The shallow depth of the wreck meant that if the conditions allowed, we could dive as much as we wanted to during the day. We arranged to stay aboard Explorer Saturday and Sunday nights, and planned to dive during Sunday 6/21.

    Explorer is a 42 foot Grand Banks with twin diesels. Cruising speed is a comfortable 10 knots, and she'll do 15 knots when the situation warrants. She has two cabins below, a v-berth which will sleep two and the Captain's cabin toward the stern with a queen bed and a single. Both cabins have a private head, and the head in the Captain's cabin has a shower. Between the cabins on the main deck is the main wheelhouse and galley with a table providing seating for up to six. The galley is equipped with two refrigerators, a freezer, a gas oven and range top and a microwave oven.

    Above the wheelhouse and galley is a covered sun deck with flying bridge. There is plenty of seating, a grill, a couple of large coolers and a small table. In forward storage under the flying bridge is a self-inflating emergency raft and survival kit.

    Explorer has a RIX SA-6 compressor and a booster on board. With a few bottles of oxygen and helium, Dave can keep a full compliment of rebreather divers fully gassed up for quite a long time. Dave deploys oxygen at 20 feet and tows a chase boat on most trips.

    At the stern on the main deck there is storage for the Captain's dive gear, storage for single tanks and stage bottles and room for four divers to gear up simultaneously. Two divers can gear up with their rigs resting on the roof over the Captain's cabin facing starboard. A gate over the starboard gunwale provides for direct entry for the divers gearing up there. Two more divers can gear up on a bench facing the stern. Through a gate over the transom and two steps down is a swim platform that runs the width of the boat. A "T" style dive ladder extends into the water to a nice depth from the swim platform. There is also a light duty telescoping emergency ladder on the starboard side of the swim platform for anyone who might end up in the water while the dive ladder is not deployed. There is a deck crane situated to reach over either gunwale to bring aboard equipment, heavy artifacts or, if necessary, a disabled diver. There is plenty of space for fish totes or Rubbermaid type bins to hold dive gear.

    Dave has provisions to apply the humble fish tote in several places. Aboard Explorer there are dedicated places where a fish tote will lock down against a rolling sea. On the dock, a single fish tote screwed down serves as a holding place for other fish totes to nest while not needed aboard.

    Service aboard Explorer is more like what we've experienced on tropical liveaboards. Personal attention from the crew (Captain Dave!) while gearing up, help putting on gloves and fins, and valve and PO2 checks prior to splashing. If conditions warrant, crew puts the end of a boat hook in the water to assist divers moving along the granny line toward the anchor line to start the dive and back to the stern ladder at the end of the dive. I'm generally self sufficient and prefer not to have too much attention from the crew when I gear up. But Dave understands rebreathers (and diving in general) extremely well, and I didn't have any problem accepting help from him. It wasn't intrusive at all.

    On Saturday the drive to Wakefield, Rhode Island where Explorer is docked was uneventful. It took 4.5 hours to get to the marina from our home in northern Hunterdon County New Jersey. We got to the marina early, and spent some time touring the area while we waited for Dave to arrive. The Narragansett area, especially the Point Judith Lighthouse, the southwest bay shore and Jamestown Island, is very pretty. Lunch at Chelo's in Wakefield (suggested by my next door neighbor, a former RI resident) was just OK. We met up with Dave, his daughter and her friend in time for dinner and went to Aunt Carrie's in Point Judith for a genuine New England seafood dinner. After dinner Dave took us around the boat and gave us a very thorough briefing on safety and emergency equipment and procedures. There is an impressive collection of emergency gear aboard, and Dave has an impressive knowledge of how to use it.

    As we prepared to bed down Saturday night, we saw that the weather was deteriorating. It was raining and windy. NOAA weather radio promised rain into Sunday morning with a northeast blow building, with gusts to 40 knots by Sunday afternoon. Dave said we would leave the dock early and motor down to the Harbor of Refuge anyway. We could always call the dive at that point.

    We woke to our alarm at 6:30AM. Despite the wind, Explorer didn't move much in her slip. It seems that being all the way up at the northern end of Point Judith Pond has its advantages! Dave's mate and second Captain Jan arrived at 7AM with boat provisions, including food for breakfast and lunch, and her dog Miz (as in mizzen). Soon thereafter were were under way, and made the trip down the length of Point Judith Pond, through the inlet and across the Harbor of Refuge to the wreck of the Samson in about 35 minutes. Dave has a permanent mooring on the Samson, and he and Jan tied up to it. In the Harbor we found a light chop with only moderate winds, but as Explorer presents a significant profile to the wind, she was swinging a little at the mooring.

    Tina geared up, stepped through the starboard gate and hit the water first at 9:25AM, and I followed just a couple of minutes later. There didn't seem to be much surface current, and moving toward the bow was easy. The end of the boat hook instantly appeared in front of my mask nonetheless, and I accepted the ride to the granny line. I met Tina at the anchor line where we conducted our cross checks. All seemed OK, so we headed down the mooring line to the wreck. The Samson is a crane barge sitting on its side at more than a 90 degree tilt, with the remnants of the crane extending from the deck holding her from going completely turtle. The mooring is tied to the far end of the crane. We arrived at the deck of the barge and found that the crane isn't far off the bottom at all there. It seems the barge has settled deeply into the muddy bottom. Depth at the barge was 28 feet, and the visibility was about 5 feet. There was no noticeable current on the bottom, and the water was warm - my bottom timer read 63F. I tied off to the crane and started to the left when Tina signaled that she didn't want to go that way, and indicated that she'd be happy just to look along the crane. After the dive she told me that she wasn't confident enough with her buoyancy control to go out over the soft bottom. So we slowly worked our way back along the crane, and Tina called the dive when we got back to the far end where the mooring was tied in.

    After a nice, slow ascent, Tina was first to head back to the dive platform. I waited as she clipped her bailout bottle to the equipment line and made her way to the ladder. I was surprised to see her climb the ladder with her rig on. Dave reached over and provided some lift to take some of the weight off of Tina as she did. Then Tina stepped onto the swim platform where Dave and Jan helped her out of her rig and removed her fins, and Tina took the two steps up to the deck. Then I clipped off my bailout bottle and climbed the ladder onto the swim platform. There, Dave took off my fins and I stepped up to the deck with my rig on.

    We talked about what to do. The wind was picking up, but it didn't seem as bad as the forecast. Dave said we could stay on the Samson, head out to another wreck just outside the Harbor at about 90 feet, or call it a day. Tina and I decided to call it a day. The weather was miserable, and we figured it would be better to be at the dock. Dave and Jan pulled us off the mooring and Dave motored back up to the marina.

    We both got out of our drysuits and headed to the cabin to change. Jan had breakfast ready just as we were pulling into the slip. After breakfast we rinsed and broke down our gear and set it all out to dry. Luckily, the rain had mostly come to an end. The wind was howling, though. We could hear it whistling through the rigging on a few of the other boats in the marina. Dave's anemometer was registering frequent gusts in excess of 25 miles per hour. It felt like more than that to me.

    Since we wanted breakfast late, and it was really, really good and there was plenty to eat, we decided that we could do without lunch. Tina doesn't often take an opportunity to just relax, so after a shower in the marina's outstanding facilities we enjoyed being very lazy all afternoon on Explorer. Dave took the two girls rock hopping, and Jan took Miz out for some exercise and shopping. Later, we got our dive gear organized and packed. When Dave and the girls returned we headed out to the Mews Tavern, apparently famous for its burgers, for dinner. For some reason, Tina got cheese nachos and I went with the grilled tuna. Dave, Jan and the two girls seemed very happy with their burgers, though.

    After dinner we moved some of our dive gear back to the car, and we spent the evening swapping stories - diving and otherwise. It turns out that Dave and I have a few interests besides diving in common, which made for great conversation. We turned in at 10PM. The wind was really howling, and it woke me a couple of times. I think I heard some rain, too.

    We awoke to our alarm at 6:30AM, dressed and headed out for an early breakfast at Phil's Restaurant in Wakefiled, just a few minutes from the boat. Phil's is a typical small town restaurant, with the usual selection of eggs, pancakes, French toast, etc. available for breakfast. And very inexpensive. We both chose pancakes and enjoyed them a lot. But there was so much food that neither of us could clean our plates! Then back to the boat where we finished packing the car and said goodbye to Dave. We were under way at 8:30AM.

    We had a GREAT time on Explorer. Dave is a very accommodating host, the boat is very comfortable and extremely well equipped for diving. We definitely want to go back later this season to dive the U-boat and some of the other wrecks off Rhode Island.

    --
    Art Greenberg
    Last edited by Art Greenberg; 23rd June 2009 at 20:40.

  2. #2
    Supporting Member edasque is a splendid one to behold edasque is a splendid one to behold edasque is a splendid one to behold edasque is a splendid one to behold edasque is a splendid one to behold edasque is a splendid one to behold edasque is a splendid one to behold edasque is a splendid one to behold edasque is a splendid one to behold edasque is a splendid one to behold edasque is a splendid one to behold edasque's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Boston, MA
    Posts
    1,251
    rEvo III mini

    Re: Art & Tina on EXPLORER 21-June-2009

    I have been lucky to spend some time on the Explorer lately and I couldn't agree more with you Art and couldn't write it better (no, I really couldn't).

    But beyond the boat, the man.

    If you think you have an idea of what Dave is like by reading his posts, you're wrong.

    Dave is even more knowledgeable about rebreathers than he'd appear to be when you read him on RBW, goes out of his way to help a fellow diver and is genuinely happy to have people on his boat.

    Big fan.

  3. #3
    Moderator
    debersole is a splendid one to behold debersole is a splendid one to behold debersole is a splendid one to behold debersole is a splendid one to behold debersole is a splendid one to behold debersole is a splendid one to behold debersole is a splendid one to behold debersole is a splendid one to behold debersole is a splendid one to behold debersole is a splendid one to behold debersole is a splendid one to behold debersole's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Lakeland, Florida
    Posts
    673
    KISS Spirit & JJ-CCR

    Kiss Classic & Sport, Kiss GEM

    Re: Art & Tina on EXPLORER 21-June-2009

    Glad to hear Tina is back in the water. Thanks for the trip report. Hopefully, you'll get some better weather on your next trip.

  4. #4
    Banned MB is an unknown quantity at this point MB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    0

    Re: Art & Tina on EXPLORER 21-June-2009

    Hey Folks:

    Art, thanks for the kind words. I'll pass them to Jan and her Diving-Mutt. Next time we'll get you to the U-853. Aug 2nd, mark the date! I have two more spots for that day if anyone else wants to come. It'll be an easy day on the U-Boat.

    This was not exactly the most 'technical' diving we do here, but it's sure nice to have a real wreck with a mooring that we can dive when it's blowing 40 knots. Makes a great checkout and gear-testing spot. If you dig, you can find 35 feet. When it's warmer there are loads of big blackfish for spearfishermen and a decent lobster population. It makes a nice quick night dive and BBQ spot for us. Shoot and catch dinner and grill it at anchor. Life is good!

    Erik: You are supposed to take MORE stuff home, not leave more. As well as forgetting to take your tripod that you left last week, you left me a very nice Deep Outdoors case yesterday... thanks! :) (Hope you don't need it in Corsica, have fun and see you when you get back).


    (PS: There's a shower in the forward head too! It's just not a separate compartment as in the aft cabin).


    Dave

    .
    Last edited by MB; 23rd June 2009 at 22:18.

  5. #5
    Closed Account Art Greenberg will become famous soon enough Art Greenberg will become famous soon enough Art Greenberg will become famous soon enough Art Greenberg's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Gainesville, FL
    Posts
    270
    Classic KISS

    Re: Art & Tina on EXPLORER 21-June-2009

    Quote Originally Posted by debersole  View Original Post
    Glad to hear Tina is back in the water.
    Doug,

    Thanks. Its been a slow process for her, but she is making progress and gaining momentum and confidence. She's had a couple of good dives since our outing with Dave. We're headed back up to Rhode Island this weekend. We hope to dive both Saturday and Sunday, looking to hit the Black Point and U-853. Our fingers are crossed for better weather and calm seas. I'll post a report when we get back home.

    --
    Art

+ Reply to Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts