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".
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.
on the boat, Ross cleaned up his plate.
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.
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.
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........