Day 1, August 2, 1998

Author: Brent Rudmann
Project participants: John Foster, Charles Beeker, Rob Richardson, Deke Hager, Randalyn Raj, Ivan Orlandini, Adam Sriro, Dede Marx, Marianne Simoulin, Andrew King, Andrew Kinkella, Brent Rudmann.
Special Thanks to: Michael Stephenson, Bill Walton, Ashford Wood, and all the park staff who have made our work possible this week.
Activities: Organized crew, pulled raft onto beach. Performed 2 preliminary dives over site and identified drive train. Set up air filling station. Assembled data, reviewed site plan.

Connecting rod on the Pomona drive train. Photo credit: Chuck Honek.

Photo: This connecting rod on the Pomona drive train served as our initial reference point for an orientation to the wreck site. Photo credit: Chuck Honek.

Researcher Log: The water was calm as we reached the beach, but the fog was thick, limiting visibility to a couple of hundred yards offshore. Those of us in the first dive team geared up and headed out in the Zodiac with a smaller inflatable in tow. On the beach, people were heading out in canoes and inflatables to go abalone diving, or just paddling in the cove. Families were just enjoying what promised to be a beautiful Sunday in Northern California, or Russian California as John Foster had termed it, and one man was in the midst of an apparently laborious attempt to teach his children to SCUBA dive. We headed south through the bull kelp, relying on GPS coordinates and the memories of John and Charlie to find the wreck. Even in crystal clear Caribbean waters, which was where the majority of my wreck diving came from, finding an unmarked wreck is always a challenge, with or without the help of satellites. But John and Charlie dropped in first, and it wasn't long before they were about fifty feet off the bow of the Zodiac, calling us over and asking for a buoy to mark the wreck. The rest of us readied ourselves for the chilly water as a sea lion observed us from nearby. We dropped into the water as Ivan Orlandini, an Italian instructor those of us from Indiana University had worked with in the Dominican Republic, helped us as Safety Officer in the boat. The first dive was strictly a first look at the wreck, to familiarize ourselves with the site and the conditions. Though familiar with cold water from many a training dive in quarries in Indiana, and having worked in surging seas in the Caribbean, the combination of the two along with the bull kelp added up to a new and exciting experience. Later, on dive two, my buddy Marianne Simoulin and I worked our way along the port perimeter and back, past the boilers and some hull pieces. Part of the thrill of wreck diving for me is the puzzle contained in twisted and corroded pieces amidst the alien environment of the sea. Our crew completed day one tired and sunburned, but looking forward to piecing the puzzle together in the days that followed.

Deke Hager
Indiana University