SS Governor             

  Not being able to sleep very well Friday night, because of the coming days excitement, my alarm rudely awoke me promptly at 4 am Saturday morning. We all needed to meet at the dive boat at 8:00 am, in Port Townsend, so we
decided on catching the 5:45 am ferry out of Edmonds. The 6:30 am ferry would have been a bit more logical but of course it doesn’t run on Saturday. 

  All of us met in Port Townsend to make the boat ride to the Governor, near Point Wilson, a bit shorter. It was about a 30 minute boat ride.

  We loaded up all the gear including, rebreathers, doubles, bailout/ stage bottles, cameras, and scooters and prepared to get underway. We had a couple hours before slack so we all went over our dive plans and most importantly, the deck plans for the Governor. Meanwhile, Phil from Lu Jacs Quest and Steve Loch went about grappling the wreck. Sometimes an arduous process, we grappled the wreck right away, or so we thought. 

  Since the wreck is smack dab in the shipping lanes, VTS had previously been contacted about our dive operations, but we decided to wait out slack just out of the shipping lanes for obvious reasons. 

The teams were: Dave Hancock and I for team 1, Randy Williams and Dale Ramquist for team 2, and Ron Akeson, Rob Wilson, Paul Hangartner, and Mark Theune for team 3.

  With excitement, and anticipation running high it was finally time to gear up. Run times for
this dive varied a little from team to team. Dave and I were looking at a 25-30 minute bottom time at 240 fsw with a total run time of a hair over 2 hours. Oh boy! I think team two was about the same, while team 3 was keeping the bottom time down a little less. Dave and my job was to tie in the grapple (if on the wreck) or reel to the wreck if it wasn’t. Since we had scooters this would be easier for us if current picked up again. Team 2 would then move the grapple to the wreck if it was off, or check our tie in if it was on.

  Dave and I scootered down the line, using our X Scooters, (slight current) to find the grapple snagged on a piece of wreckage on the bottom-drats!! Well, before we splashed, Ron from Adventures Down Under gave me an underwater sonar device that tells distance to an object underwater, so we decided to try it out. Right away I saw that Dave got a reading (so I thought), NICE JOB!! Well what actually happened is the sonar device was in his left hand with his light, and while pointing the sonar his light shined on the wreck about 20 feet away. As I was clipping off the sonar device Dave started to tie off a reel for running a line to the wreck. We tied off and began our dive. We had tied in just forward of the stern above the dining salon to a piece of metal which looked to be some sort of support beam in the past. We scootered around the stern portion of the wreck to see what we could find. I saw some of the biggest Copper Rockfish I have ever seen! Also HUGE Lingcod that put those at Edmonds to shame.

  The visibility was about 20 feet but it was still truly amazing to see these large schools of fish just hanging over the invertebrate infested wreck. We looked around for anything familiar and spotted two large portholes laying on the top deck. That’s weird. Well it turns out after talking to Bob Mester of Underwater Admiralty Sciences Inc. and owner of the wreck, the top two decks look as though they have collapsed and the side of the hull have caved in a bit. The sea is taking her toll on this poor ship.

  We also spotted tile floor and washbasins from a bathroom that you will see in the video I will post soon.

  We continued to scooter in and around the existing ribs that held the hull together, until we reached our max bottom time. EXCELLENT DIVE!! Now comes the pain of deco, but it went by pretty fast surprisingly.


Admiral Sampson

  Sunday morning we were listening to the weather report and winds were reported 16 knots over the Governor and 14 knots over the Sampson. The Admiral Sampson was the planned dive with the Coaster as a backup if it was too stormy out there.

  We headed out for the two hour push to Point No Point where the Sampson lies in 320 fsw. It started out ok but then we started to feel the effects of the wind. It was blowing pretty bad and the whitecaps looked as though they weren’t going to let up. It was decided that we would try for the Coaster in a bit more sheltered water. We all, I think, were a bit bummed at mother nature.

  Well, time went by a bit and it got a little calmer out there so we decide to go ahead and brave the Sampson. My spirits were just lifted again! We got over the wreck and commenced the grappling procedure.

  We seemed to hit it right away so we let the two white floats go. But, after several minutes we noticed that the floats were drifting. No snag. That means we try again. We tried for over an hour to re-grapple the wreck but to no avail. We were running out of time. Our slack was coming up. We threw it one more time and proceeded to fight the prevailing winds that were pushing us in a direction that made it real difficult to snag the wreck.

  A bit depressed, we all had been forced to give up the Admiral Sampson this time.

  I guess there is some sort of superstition among the sea faring folk that bringing bananas aboard a ship is bad luck. Well our only passenger who has probably spend more years on the water in the Coast Guard, and on other various sea going vessels, than all of us combined had never heard of this. Poor Randy Williams got a lashing from some of the other divers. It was all in good fun but it makes you wonder...


SS Governor

  Last day on the Governor. Tides today are better than on Saturday so it should prove to be a good day. We talked to the SCRET guys and they said they had a successful dive the day before and they left the descent line there for todays dives. They had showed us where the grapple was hooked on the blueprints so we would have an idea where it was. Apparently it was just forward the stern.

  The plan was to share the descent line between the two groups of divers, but on the ascent the SCRET guys would pop bags for deco and we would have our detachable deco station.

  We headed out on a real foggy morning which is not
good because those big container ships can't see our small dive boats very well, not to mention our even smaller buoys.

  The fog continued to hang over us but we started to have improved visibility. Off in the distance, Mark Allen and Bob Mester of UAS were towing their side scan sonar, testing out some new software. Once again, we had a while before slack so we all just waited in anticipation.

  A few minutes later the Coast Guard decided to join us for a little while. They seemed very interested in what Bob and
Mark were doing and came real close to the RESEARCH vessel Mark and Bob were in. I'm sure the wake from the Coast Guard vessel put some nice ripples in the sonar image of the Governor that UAS was trying to get. Thanks guys.

  Porthole Charters, which SCRET was on, and our boat, Lu Jacs Quest, tied up to the RESEARCH vessel to conduct a pre-dive briefing with the owner of the wreck. We were given the ok to salvage some artifacts but we would give them to Bob, he'd catalog them, report them, and then we could HOPEFULLY get them back to keep. Though this plan was for THIS DIVE ONLY, under normal circumstances no artifacts are to be lifted from

the wreck without Bobs permission. We all agreed, acquired some large lift bags, and prepared for our dive.

  Again Dave and I were team 1 and we decided to go a bit early because we had the scooters. On this dive I decided to scooter and film. Our plan was to get video of the stern and travel alongside the wreck to the impact point up to the bow. Randy's and Dale's task was to retrieve one of our grapples we had left behind, and team 3's (Ron, Rob, Paul, and Mark) was to video as well, and pick up any artifacts they could find.

  We headed down and noticed the line had A LOT of scope in it meaning it didn't go straight down. It took us about 3 minutes to get to the wreck and the swimmers about 10 minutes. Visibility again was about 20 feet. When we got to the wreck we looked around and it didn't look like the stern, we weren't sure what we were looking at. Randy and Dale said later they were staring at the anchor and chain at the bow of the ship, not the stern. That turned us around a bit.

  Dave and I proceeded to scooter along side the starboard side of the wreck and came upon the impact point where the S. S. West Hartland hit her. A large hole that would be easily large enough for penetration crushed deep into the starboard side. We continued along the hull and ran into a jungle of steel that no longer had any

resemblance to a ship. This end was a mess. THIS must be the stern, simply because the stern hit first when she went down. I then started to film the upper deck while we scootered back towards the bow. Again we saw large schools of fish, huge Rockfish and Lingcod, as well as some more portholes and tiled floor.

  We traveled back on the upper deck just documenting the collapsed decks and the mess of steel laying about. We finally made it back to the descent line just shy of our max bottom time of 30 minutes, when we saw Randy working away at getting an old grapple back. He had to redeem himself for those bananas!!

  And he did.

  It was time to head up the descent line for the long decompression. On the way up a solo SCRET diver passed by me heading down for the start of his dive, full throttle on the trigger of his scooter. I gave him a quick wave and continued up.

  Hanging out at the deco station, after it was released from the main descent line, I got to check out some of the artifacts my fellow divers obtained. Rob got a nice porcelain milk jug and what we think might be a syrup cup.
I myself got a nice plate that I gave to Mark Allen topside. One of the SCRET guys lifted a toilet. I think that one may be a bit too big for Bob or Marks mantle.

  All in all an excellent trip!!





Courtesy UAS

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