6 of us made the first trip today to dive the Radford. It was a
beautiful day on the Atlantic with calm winds and flat seas. The wreck /
reef lies NE to SW with the bow pointing SW. Bottom is 130' to 140'
depending where you are. Top of the Bow is at 70' and the top of the
stern is about 100'. The superstructure in the middle (150' to 200' in
length) reaches as high as 55' to 60'.
The groups first dive was at slack current high tide. Top 30' were in
the upper 70s. 30 to 50' were likely low 60s to upper 50s. And all of
the wreck was at about 50 degrees. Visibility was great with better than
50' of vis and no significant current.
After the group came up, I did my dive. Conditions had changed. [Frown]
The tide in Delaware Bay had started to fall. We have a term for this,
we say the bay is flushing. The wrecks that lie in the out flow of the
bay can experience significant to substantial current and the vis often
goes to crap. For my dive, the Vis went from maybe 40 to about 20'. When
the group did their 2nd dive, vis was 15 to 20'. The wreck lies
perfectly perpendicular to the Bay's outflow. So the 1/2 knot of current
on the surface, slams into the side of the wreck and then races over
the top at 1 to 1.5 knotts ( likely much stronger at full tidal flow).
Thankfully I was scootering so the current wasn't a big factor.
Scootering the length of the wreck at the sand was amazing! The stern
isn't resting on the bottom. A brace was attached to the bottom of the
stern to help the wreck land up right. It was completely knocked off.
Probably the last 75 to 100' of the wreck isn't resting on the bottom.
The ship has bilge keels. Where the bilge keels are the ship rests on
the bottom. Forward of the bilge keels for likely 200' you can swim
under the keel! At first I thought the forward part of the ship to the
bow (200'+!) wasn't resting on the bottom at all. [EEK!] When I
reached the front of the bow, what I found was a huge bulbous bow which
stick down a number of feet below the keel. So, the wreck lies on a
modest section of the hull in the middle and a point on the bow
(amazing). All this will likely soon change as the wreck scours into the
bottom. If I had to guess, I think the wreck will ultimately sink down
10 to 15'. But right now it's an amazing, visually impressive dive!
Several dive boats are scheduling trips now to this new dive site. Don't
miss a chance to see this amazing site and this pristine new wreck
before it settles in and the wreck fouls with marine growth.
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