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Diving the Arabia, Fathom Five National Park December 8, 2008

Posted by Chris Sullivan in Dive Log.
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The Arabia has claimed the lives of many divers over the years. August 13th, 2006 was the first of the three times I’ve dived it, and there was nothing special about it that would mark it as a killer wreck. It is listed at 120 feet in the park guide but my dive computer, set to fresh water and quite accurate in my opinion, registered 108 feet even with my hand touching the bottom. One thing about it is it has no shallow end. The entire wreck is in deep water, and that water is cold at 7C (45F).

The Wheel sits on the bottom near the wreck

The Wheel sits on the bottom near the wreck

A permanent mooring line attaches to a cement block about 30 feet off the starboard bow, with a second line connecting it to the wreck. There are times when there is current and low visibility there, but I’ve never experienced it, and so the second line isn’t required to find your way to and from the wreck in most conditions.

The Bowsprit is a prominent feature

The Bowsprit is a prominent feature

I’d wanted to dive this wreck since the eighties, but it was always considered too advanced a dive by the LDS that I was attached to. Their divemaster told me that you should have 50 hours total bottom time before attempting it. At this point I had 80 so maybe they were right, although now we take advanced students for their deep dive there, with close supervision.

This is the starboard anchor still in place

This is the starboard anchor still in place

There is another identical anchor on the port side. There is supposed to be a third anchor but I don’t know where it is. There is also a huge winch and lots of other things to see on the wreck, and the relative absence of Zebra Mussels is  uncommon on the Great Lakes wrecks that I dive and a nice change.

Roger looks at his video after diving the Arabia. I'm on the bottom left.

Roger looks at his video after diving the Arabia. I'm on the bottom left.

My tank of EAN36 had been refilled the night before, and was now measuring 26% Oxygen, perfect for this dive. Roger and I spent about 20 minutes on the wreck before his NDL was up. I still had some time left because of the Nitrox but that’s one of the problems with Nitrox is that if you’re buddy isn’t diving it too, it doesn’t really give you any more time.

It’s a great dive, and I hope to dive it again every August for many years to come.

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