July 24, 2001 found 7 NDA members and several friends in Barcelona Harbour.  It was our intention to complete two Trimix dives a day for 4 days and then meet the group for the Club dive Saturday afternoon.  We also had plans to tow out a block to the Betty Hedger (sulphur barge) on the way over to the Point on this morning and to do a quick dive on the way back to hook up the tagline.  If this exercise went well, we were prepared to tow another block over to the St. James (6 hour tow) and to take a couple of dives to get everything hooked up and rigged.  As you read below, you’ll find out why we gave up on this idea.

Our morning started by lowering a 3600 pound block and lift bag into the water with a travel lift and we started our almost 5 mile tow in calm water at 3 mph.  In just over an hour, the waves had picked up to almost 4 feet and that’s when our quick release decided to let go, about a mile from the site.  We retrieved the bag and got a quick GPS fix on the block.  On return to harbour for fuel, we made the decision to abort the rest of the day due to worsening waves.

On Wednesday we again set out in calm weather, located the block and dropped it on site, just as the waves again started to pick up.  A quick dive verified that the block was a little too close to the wreck, as the mooring line could rub if the wind came from the wrong direction.  We proceeded over to the Point and dove the St. James (165’) and then the Smith Tug (170’).

Thursday dawned with consistent 8’ waves, with the odd 10’ thrown in.  It was a good day to experience the rides at the Chatauqua County Fair.

On Friday we decided to start off with our deep dive first and went to the Point to dive the Straubenzie (200’).  We then returned to the Betty Hedger for more fun and games with the block.  At a depth of 120’, two 80 cubic foot tanks of air put into the lift bag still would not get the block off the bottom.  We needed the help of the boat to move the block.  Although the block only had to be moved 20’, the high wind and current allowed us to move it about ½ mile in no time at all.  Dragging it back to within 600’ of the wreck, however, was no easy task and we decided to leave it until the weather got better.

Our Saturday morning charter took us again to the Smith Tug and on the afternoon club dive we did the Tradewind and the Crystal Wreck.

Monday, August 6, 2001 again saw us back in Barcelona with 5 NDA members.  The beautiful, calm day allowed us to reposition the block 35’ off the bow and the tagline installation was completed on the first dive of the afternoon charter.

Our second dive found us on a new unidentified wreck nicknamed “Barge F”, which Jim Herbert had found the Wednesday before.  We also managed to install a line and chain mooring system to the windlass of this 147’ deep wreck.

Return to NDA Mooring Page
Return to Mooring Articles