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January 11, 2007
Trip Report and Photos
Diving with Ross O.
Wreck of the Olympic and the Wreck of the Gambler

Story and Photos © Elaine Jobin, may not be reproduced in part or whole without advanced written permission.

We exited the harbor with no particular destination in mind. A right turn at the breakwall headed us into choppy swells. The diving and boating conditions up the coastline ahead looked marginal and uninviting. In an effort to keep our optimism afloat, we pulled a U turn.

Things didn't look too much better in the apposite direction, but, maybe subsurface conditions would be better on a deeper wreck. The Olympic and the Ace I were the first to come to mind. For whatever reason, we chose the Olympic.

We plowed through the chop and the swells to the site. When we watched the anchor drop - we knew we had a winner - at least as far as visibility goes. The second thumb up came when we realized there was no current. At least from the surface, things looked really good. If conditions were this good at depth, we decided that we would try and make a large sightseeing trip around the entire structure.

In the water and down the anchor line we found visibility to be 40 feet and beyond. Ross led the way. Heading first toward the stern, then back around to the bow. These are some of my photos from our "Grand Tour".
Olympic Wreck, Photo by Elaine Jobin Olympic Wreck, Photo by Elaine Jobin Olympic Wreck, Photo by Elaine Jobin Olympic Wreck, Photo by Elaine Jobin Olympic Wreck, Photo by Elaine Jobin Olympic Wreck, Photo by Elaine Jobin Olympic Wreck, Photo by Elaine Jobin Olympic Wreck, Photo by Elaine Jobin Olympic Wreck, Photo by Elaine Jobin Olympic Wreck, Photo by Elaine Jobin
About half way into our journey, I noticed Ross making a huge dirt pile in the water column - he was digging. Next, he was waving a dinner plate in his hand. I didn't think too much of it. Everybody knows that there is nothing left to be found on the Olympic. I figured the plate had been tossed overboard from a fishing boat or something. I took his picture with his "prize" anyway.
Ross Overstreet on the Olympic Wreck, Photo by Elaine Jobin Ross Overstreet on the Olympic Wreck, Photo by Elaine Jobin Ross Overstreet on the Olympic Wreck, Photo by Elaine Jobin
Back on the boat, Ross cleaned up his plate.
Ross Overstreet with Plate found on the Olympic Wreck, Photo by Elaine Jobin
We could tell that it looked old and was in remarkably good condition - no chips or cracks. Ross placed calls to Steve Lawson and Patrick Smith to try and get some information about the galleyware on the Olympic. No one was sure if this might be an original piece or not. What we learned was that because the plate was very plain and not frilly, it might be authentic.
Warwick China found on the Olympic Wreck site, Photo by Elaine Jobin Warwick China found on the Olympic Wreck site, Photo by Elaine Jobin Warwick China found on the Olympic Wreck site, Photo by Elaine Jobin
We made our second dive at the wreck of the Gambler. Visibility here looked like it might be OK from the surface. However, on the site it was a 1 - 3 ft max visibility dive. This wreck often has many sculpin. We made a huge point of keeping the wreck in sight but out of contact to avoid a sting from their spines. The metridiums were the easiest things to see in the low light and low visibility.
Metridium on the Wreck of the Gambler, Photo by Elaine Jobin Metridium on the Wreck of the Gambler, Photo by Elaine Jobin

In the days that followed this trip, we did some "homework" on the piece of China that Ross found. The manufacturers stamp on the back is from the Warwick China Company. This company operated out of West Virginia from 1887 to 1951. They produced very "fancy" china and vases as well as very plain china. Some of their contracts were with Railroads. This piece is pattern number War68.   We are trying to determine the dates that "War68" was produced to help determine it's actual age.

We learned from Steve Lawson and Patrick Smith, that the China on the Olympic was probably very plain and possibly mismatched. This ship operated as a fishing barge off our coast during the depression. It was sunk in a collision with a Japanese fishing vessel in 1940. Is there a possibility that plate this was something original on the ship the day that it sank - yes, and hopefully we will know more about it in the near future.

Until next time........