Monday, November 11, 2013

Sunday's Dive Attempt - The Centennial Dive On The Regina

100 years after she sank, an intrepid bunch of divers headed to the Regina to dive her on Sunday, the day she sank 100 years ago.

The forecast promised 20 knot winds from the west with waves up to 5-7 feet building to a gale later.
The plan was to take Dave's boat, a 37 footer powerboat out.

Unfortunately even as we planned to hit the water around 11, time kept slipping.

First, the boat wasn't fully packed with his stuff when I arrived at his place at 8 am. Mike was already there and Phil would meet us at Lexington. Then he still needed to shave, and then pack some other gear onto the boat, get the boat trailer hooked up to the truck and finally we were off at 9:20 rather than 8:30 or so.

Then once on the road, Dave realized he had forgot his SD cards for his Go Pro cameras (yes, plural) so we needed to stop at Best Buy and pick some up. We also bought some hats as it was getting cold and stopped for a quick bite on the way.

Then we finally got to Lexington, loaded Phls gear on board, changed into our drysuits and finally departed the dock at about 1:20 or so.

As we headed out we saw this laker in the distance:

The Regina was about 4 miles away from Lexington and the wind was picking up and had started to shift from the West to the West Northwest.

This meant the waves were starting to build.

By the time we reached the area where the Regina went down, we were encountering the occasional 15-foot wave, and the winds were out of the north, which was not good.

It took a considerable amount of time maneuvering to find the wreck and as the buoys had been pulled. It was not easy to spot the mooring rope floating in the water. All the while, waves are building up and we're having an interesting time trying to get to the mooring line. We're now getting pounded with pretty regular 7-10 foot waves and many 15 footers.

Here's a quick movie from one of the Go Pros he had mounted on the boat showing one of the smaller waves:

I actually had the mooring line in my hand after getting it with a boat hook, had passed it forward to Dave, who then dropped it as we got slammed by a wave. On the upside this probably was a good thing as whoever would have tried to go forward to the bow to tie it off would likely have been thrown overboard by the waves.

By now the winds were from the North and the radio was blurting out a small craft advisory and gale warning.

We were about to try to come around for another attempt to grab the mooring line when the loudest alarm in the world starts shrieking.

"Oh, not good", remarks Dave.

"What does that alarm mean?" I ask.

"It means there's water above the safe level in the bilge, we're taking it on faster than we can pump it out, and we're sinking", he says.

"Oh, not good." remarks I. "Where are the life jackets located on this boat again?"

So we inspect the bilge and yep, with all the waves there's a considerable amount of water above the line, so we decide to beat a hasty retreat for shore rather than adding a new wreck to Lake Huron's bottom. We made it back safely and then had the fun of getting the boat back on the trailer, heading home unloading the boat etc.

It was a solid attempt, hampered somewhat by poor prior preparation, but the Regina remained unvisited on her centennial.

A quick word of thanks to Tam for the linking to this story and the resultant Tamalanche!  Thank you all for visiting and I hope the rest of the blog is also of interest.


Murphy's Law said...

Hmmmmmm....Maybe I wasn't the jinx on our last aborted Alpena dive. Maybe it was you. ;-)

Tam said...

This is exactly the sort of thing I like to read about when I'm someplace warm and dry, because it makes me feel even warmer and drier. :D

Aaron said...

ML: Nah, you're sadly not the only ADHD diver I've been associating with these days...

Tam: Very true, it was wet and cold out there, and at times I was definitely wishing I had decided to go to the range that day instead.

But, it was a noble attempt to touch the hull on the hundredth anniversary of its sinking.

Thanks for the link too!

Murphy's Law said...

Your ADHD...Have that right here, I do. Mmmmmm....