Day two began with a trip out on Ocean Quest’s 45 foot, brand new dive boat, The Mermaid. It is a beautiful 45 passenger vessel with an elevator to assist divers out of the water! My job that morning was just to help divers in any way I could (surface support), and in doing so I learned a little bit of how the vessel operated. Both dives were a few hundred yards from beautiful and historic Bell Island. The first dive was the Rose Castle, which is a relatively deep dive, so the dives were pretty short. After that we moved up a short distance to the PLM 27, both Wrecks were sunk by the same u-boat, on the same night during WWII. Both vessels were fully loaded with iron ore from Bell Island, so they sank very quickly.
After those dives I headed quickly out for an evening dive in the RIB (ridged inflatable/zodiak). Because I was a little rushed and did not know how exactly diving out of the rib would go, I decided not to bring a camera, and I sincerely regret it. On our way out we were cruising along until, all of a sudden, we were surrounded by a large pod of doplhins, so we slowed and watched them play for a few minutes. After that we made it to our dive site and got in. This was my first time in Newfoundland waters, in some ways it is a lot like New England diving, a lot of the marine life is similar. In other ways it is completely different, like how the 30 or 40 feet of viz we had was “horrible.” I saw tons of marine life on my first dive, two wolffish together who did not like it when I shined the light on them, an ocean pout (I believe), a few lion’s manes, tons of urchins, cunners, little sea stars (and one MASSIVE one), and much more. After the dive we beached the ribs and had a bonfire and a little barbeque. Overall it was one of the greatest overall dives I’ve had in my life, between the dive itself and the whole Newfoundland atmosphere. Simply unreal.
Wednesday I awoke to heavy winds and sideways rain, so it was decided to take a trip over to Bell Island. The island (and the wrecks surrounding it) have a rich history from WWII. The island itself was a massively productive iron mine from the 1895 till 1966, with elaboarate mine systems stretching up to three miles across the sea floor. We toured the Bell Island Lighthouse, the Scotia Pier (the only place in America to be struck by a nazi torpedo during WWII), and the #2 mine. The number two mine tour was a very intriguing experience with a museum of sorts to the old mining operation and a historical tour of a part of the mine system. There is more history than I could possibly relate here, so I strongly recommend anyone to do some quick online research, it is really intriguing stuff. Also, bell island is kind of sort of really beautiful.