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AUE Weekend Dive Report July 31 - August 4, 2007
Tortugas Deep Wreck Trip

The gang chartered the 100-foot long Ultimate Getaway for a four-day trip to visit the deep wrecks northwest of the Dry Tortugas.  On this outing, we had 10 rebreather divers (1 Mk 15, 2 Evolutions, and 7 Megalodons) and only 2 open-circuit divers.  The trip got off to a rough start when the expected forecast was found to be way off.  We delayed our departure to allow a storm system to move through, and headed to sea around 9:00 p.m.  The following day dawned to stiff winds and high seas, but we still managed to get in two dives to the wreck of the German freighter Rhein.  That evening, we checked out two sets of numbers, both of which turned up empty.  We continued on to the Araby Maid, where we anchored for the night.  The following day most conducted two spectacular dives on the bark, with a couple doing a third dive.  It was a real pleasure to decompress under the massive Getaway, with several crewmembers splashing to support us during our hang.  Seas continued to flatten during the day to a one-foot swell, which we had for the remainder of the trip.  That night, we spent a few hours looking for a tug that sunk in December, but eventually dropped anchor for the evening.  The search continued the following day, which did yield some debris piles, but no wreck.  Due to timing issues, we continued on to the wreck of the tanker Joseph M. Cudahy.  After a pleasant dive there, we motored to the freighter Baja California.  Just about everyone had an awesome dive, whether it was recovering bottles or playing with the two sea turtles hanging out around the wreck.  I even managed to find and recover the main helm assembly from the ship.  After a quick snack the following morning, most everyone splashed for a nice long final dive before heading back to the dock.  I think it was safe to say everyone had a great trip, and the crew of the Ultimate Getaway did an awesome hosting job for us.

Some shots from the trip (underwater images courtesy of Jim Rozzi and Richie Kohler):

(l) Heather Armstrong; (c) Andrew Donn; (r) Mike Pizzio.

(l) Brian Armstrong; (r) rough weather including a water spout greets us at the Rhein.

(l) The wreck was severely impacted by the 2005 hurricanes; (r) Steve Muslin poses with a porthole.

(l) Divers ascending from the Rhein; (r) deco under the Ultimate Getaway.

(l) Carrie Kohler on the bow of the Araby Maid; (r) Carrie poses next to the capstan.

(l) Incredible visibility on the Araby Maid; (r) one of the large resident Goliath grouper.

(l) Barney on the lower deck of the Araby; (r) divers over the anchor of the Araby.

(l) One last shot of the Araby Maid ascending up the line; (r) a view of the recovered helm from the Baja California.