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Diving the Vandenberg December 2, 2009

Posted by Chris Sullivan in Dive Log, Shipwrecks.
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
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Day 1 of the club’s Florida Keys wreck diving extravaganza took us to Key West to dive the Keys’ most recent artificial reef, the USS (ex-) Vandenberg. While some of us had brought our technical gear along, these dives were done as recreational dives on standard Aluminum 80 cubic foot tanks.

After being sternly warned about not penetrating the wreck due to the usual hazards plus the threat of collapse, we were encouraged to try the numerous swim throughs in accordance with our desires and abilities. I can only speculate that the area around the designated penetration areas is made of stronger stuff and doesn’t collapse.

We went through one behind the bridge section at about 118 feet deep. Being equipped with standard AL80 tanks, we didn’t do anything extreme, just short excursions through from side to side. One that we started down had a bunch of stuff hanging from the ceiling so we exited the way we came rather than risking getting entangled. I think the risk was low but without a redundant air supply it is better to be safe than sorry.

There were also a remarkable number of jellyfish around, including inside the wreck. Some people got stung, and on that dive I had bare legs but managed to escape them.

Being deep air dives with my computer on a somewhat conservative 30/85 gradient factor setting, I picked up a little deco obligation on both dives. Neither were onerous, not much more than a “mandatory safety stop” that I would have had with tables. While the wreck hasn’t been down long enough to accumulate a great deal of sea life, it is quite large with lots to explore. I could spent several days there.

Here’s the logs for both dives. By the time the second one was finished the sun was starting to go down so we were treated with a gorgeous Key West sunset and a view of some really nice yachts on the return trip. The dive operators, Lost Reef Adventures, were friendly and competent and conveniently hung a bottle at 15′ which none of us needed. They are also located within a few feet of the dock so getting to and from their boat was simple and quick.

Vandenberg 1

Vandenberg 2

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