Ancient Mariner – January 17, 2015

Water Temp: 73° F
Air Temp: 74° F
Max Depth: 74 ft.
Start Time: 2:09 pm
Dive Duration: 50 min.
Weather: Sunny

Current: North @ <.25 knot
Visibility: Horiz. 70 ft.; Vert. 70 ft.
Seas: 2 - 4 ft.
Boat: Diversity
Winds:  E @ 10-15 MPH
Lat/Long: 26*18.125/80*03.727

   The goal of this dive was to note changes in the structure, video benthics, and obtain fish counts. The ship lists to the port side. At the bow there is about 7’ of scouring. The upper structure is collapsing and the catwalk on the starboard side has collapsed into the sand. The divemaster tied off on the stern where the team dropped in. We progressed up the starboard side of the ship, stopping at midship to do a 10 minute fish count. While stopped for stationary fish count, a 5’ Green Moray Eel came right up to the divers. A goliath grouper was found hanging out in the hull of the ship. To the NE of the ship was a debris field of the remains of part of the super structure where a Spotted Moray was noted hiding under some of the debris, with a Red Hind hanging out nearby. Over the sand a Blue Dartfish was seen. Orange cup coral was noted all over the ship as well as a lot of other benthics. This was a great and enjoyable dive.

History of the Ship. (http://www.dixiediver.com/shipwreck.htm#ANCIENT)
   The former Coast Guard Cutter Nemesis served as a sub chaser during WW II; she was launched in 1934 from Point Pleasant, Virginia. The 337 ton, rivet steel ship was permanently stationed in St. Petersburg, where she served and protected Florida. Although not the fastest ship in the fleet, she was perfectly designed for search and rescue missions in the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic. The constant battering of hurricanes kept the Nemesis busy picking up survivors from disabled and weather-beaten ships and towing stricken vessels to safety. From 1934 to 1942, she saved hundreds of lives as well as millions of dollars worth of property. During World War II, the Nemesis was used for an entirely different purpose. As 1942 rolled in, German U-boats were putting tremendous pressure on commercial shipping off the coast of U.S. These warships target oil tankers making their way from Texas and South America. The cutter was used for hunting down Nazi subs, and proved very good at it. After the war, she was again stationed in St. Petersburg, until her decommissioning in 1964. In 1979, a local business bought the vessel and converted into a floating restaurant and bar. The owner ran into financial problems and sold the vessel. The new owner renamed the ship/restaurant as the Ancient Mariner and was scheduled to reopen in 1981. This is when the story turns bizarre. Just before the reopening in 1981, she capsized and sank at the dock, for no apparent reason. It took more than $85,000 to re-float and renovate the water damaged restaurant. Once again open, the Ancient Mariner became popular eatery in the Fort Lauderdale area. In 1986, however, an event still remembered by locals sealed the ship's fate. More than 100 customers and restaurant employees contracted hepatitis A from an infected salad maker employed at the restaurant. This was the largest outbreak of hepatitis A in Florida history. The running joke among divers is to not eat any fish caught on the wreck just in case some of the virus is still around. She was sunk as an artificial reef in June 9, 1991 as part of the Broward Reef program. The 165-foot Cutter rests in 70 feet of water.

Noula Express – January 17, 2015

Water Temp.: 72° F
Air Temp.: 76° F
Max Depth:  81 ft.
Start Time: 3:50 pm
Dive Duration: 42 minutes
Weather: Sunny

Current: N @ <.25 knot
Visibility: Horiz. 50 ft.; Vert. 50 ft.
Seas: 2 - 4 ft.
Boat: Diversity
Winds: # @ 10 - 15 mph
Lat/Long: N26*19.288 W80*03.452          

    The main objective of this dive was to evaluate the state of the wreck structure, obtain a fish count, and video benthics. The Noula Express was a 114’ steel hulled Danish freighter with a 23’ beam and a 8’ draft, built in 1939 as the Dana Land. It is located a little over a mile south-southeast of the Boca Raton Inlet. She was the first freighter to be sunk in this area. She was scuttled on July 12th, 1988, and was an easy penetration dive. Local dive shops would often decorate it for the different holidays. In 1993 Hurricane Andrew tore it into two sections, smashed and twisted much of the ship.
   The Team dropped in on the bow, the smaller of the two sections, where the top is in 68’ of water, with the sand at 82’. To the south is a debris field about 70’ x 50’ then another piece of the wreck sitting at 80’ to the sand and 65’ at the top of the structure.
   Three Goliath Grouper were spotted, as well as a sea turtle (probably a green, but not close enough to be sure). A Spotted Drum, several Trumpetfish, and a Blue Hamlet was noted on this site.

goldfish

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