Report: Bone Wreck (180′)

August 25, 2014

Saturday morning we got out for the usual AM wreck dive with Danny Allen, Jack Ahern, Jim Cooney, Ian Pitt and Myself. Conditions on the surface were pretty sporty, and the Bone Wreck is an hour and forty five minutes out of Gloucester, so we took a beating getting out there, but in the end it was well worth it!

The Bone wreck is likely the wreck of the Lt. Sam Mengel, a 4 masted schooner that was active from 1918 until the early 1930’s, when she was cut down and turned into a barge, before sinking off Boston in 1935.

Today she sits in about 180′ of water, with the high points up to about 160′. It’s a large wreck, and starting to really break up as is typical of older wooden hulled vessels, but is still all there, and an impressive dive. It’s called the bone wreck because of all the whale bones scattered throughout it – apparently some unlucky whale blundered into the wreckage, and likely ended up entangled in the numerous nets and whatnot, and died in the wreck. Vertebrae, ribs, other bones and a very large skull litter the wreck, and are a pretty cool (if sort of erie) sight when first diving it!

I have lots of dives on the Bone wreck, and have never had visibility better than about 10-15′, and it’s always a very dark wreck, so thats where the expectations were for this dive. Last time I was on it I got a large intact baking or serving dish, so I was hopeful that more would come out of that same area.

We finally got out there and geared up while battling 4-5 footers, brought on by an unfriendly northeasterly wind. We got Jack and Jim in the water quickly, followed by Ian, and then finally Danny and I. The mid-water vis was pretty fantastic, and we knew it was going to be a good dive when we could see the divers and the wreck from 110′ – so somewhere in the neighborhood of 50-55′ of visibility. To top it off, it was bright, with tons of ambient light! Certainly the best vis and most natural light I’ve ever experienced on the Bone Wreck. I did 25 minutes exploring before dropping down to put some gas in the lift bag on the shot line, and get it out and away from the wreck. In total about a 30 minute bottom, with about a 65 minute run time. Water temp was 46 on the bottom, and 59 on deco (and I still had my heater going…. bad habits).

It was an awesome dive to explore this wreck – this is one of those wrecks that you could have 50 dives on and still only have explored it 5 square feet at a time – but Saturday you could hover 20′ off the deck and just take it all in.

After we were all wrapped up with our deco we pulled up the shot line and headed back to Gloucester – taking it square on the chin with nasty 5-footers all the way back to the breakwater. That aside, it was an awesome dive. Despite some weird weather this summer, we have definitely had some amazing vis on the deep wrecks. In just he past few weeks we’ve had “best we’ve ever seen” vis on The Lightship, USS YF-415 and The Bone Wreck. Hope it keeps up!

Dive Safe,
Mike P.