Pete Nawrocky, OMS Sales Manager
April 14, 2016

“‘Pete and Larry head off to the Florida Keys to dial in the new OMS Side Mount Rec Adapter.”

Excited to be test diving the OMS Side Mount Rec Adapter in January we had the truck pointed due south, heading from Virginia Beach, VA to Key Largo, FL. The plan was to dive some of the local shipwrecks. Dreary skies and high winds kept the group at the dock for the day. The next morning things changed for the better and, after loading the boat at Ocean Divers, we headed out on the Holiday Diver. After a short run with the seas gradually abating the crew hitched up to the mooring ball. The Spiegel Grove was the first stop on the trip. Sunk as part of the artificial reef project, the 510 foot Spiegel Grove was sunk in May 2002. Her sinking didn’t go exactly as planned and initially the wreck sunk and rolled upside down. Her bow was still on the surface and it took three weeks to get the vessel completely submerged. The original plan was to have the wreck sit upright but the Spiegel Grove came to rest on its starboard side. Divers got an “assist” by Mother Nature during the July storm of 2005 known as Hurricane Dennis. The strength of the storm turned the vessel upright, as was originally planned.

Diving the wreck is a really nice adventure and there are numerous openings that beckon. But it is strongly recommended that penetration dives are not performed by divers lacking the necessary equipment, skill and appropriate experience. Don’t worry as there is a lot to see on the outside as the wreck is gradually being overgrown by organisms. Many species of reef fish now call the wreck home. The bottom is at a depth of approximately 130 feet and the upper deck is in the 60 foot range. The size of the wreck will keep any diver coming back for more.

The next day found us on the Eagle wreck, also part of the artificial reef program. Sunk off of Lower Matecumbe Key, the wreck lies in 110 feet of water on its starboard side. The ship broke in two during a violent storm in 1998. Large blast holes and open hatchways allow entrance for the properly trained and equipped diver. The top of the wreck is at approximately 65 feet and allows for an easy dive, but beware of changing currents. Our group basically did “live boat dives” which means the boat was brought close to the marking buoy, as the mooring balls are no longer on the wreck as of this writing. Little current was encountered and we were treated to 50+ foot of visibility. The marking buoy line was used for safety stops. Be careful of the permanently installed lines as there were numerous, rather large fish hooks. A set of shears would also be recommended as one line had a metal leader which could not be cut with a knife. After surfacing, Captain Tuk brought the boat close; tossed us a line and we made our way back to the boat.

The next group of days placed us on the wreck of the Duane. This ship had a remarkable career serving in the North Atlantic on escort duty assisting on U-boat patrols as well as Vietnam. Arguably one of the most photogenic ship wrecks in the area, she is sitting upright in 125 feet of water. The Coast Guard vessel Duane boasts a mast that rises to within approximately 60 feet of the surface. Divers can enjoy exploring many of the compartments as the hatches are removed, but are cautioned not to go beyond experience levels. Large green Moray eels can be found on the wreck which attracts an incredible amount of marine life. The Currents can be surprising and tricky. We descended on one dive with the surface current running with the boat but at 40 feet it was moving in the opposite direction.

Larry diving the OMS Side Mount Rec Adapter.

Photograph by Pete Nawrocky

Larry Weatherall had the opportunity to test dive the OMS Rec Side Mount rig. His personal configuration was aluminum 80 on his left hip and an aluminum 40 on the right. He planned the dive as though he was diving a single tank configuration planning his total SAC rate and dive time on the 80 leaving the 40 for himself or to assist another diver. To keep in trim he added a small trim weight on the right side with the 40.

All in all it was a great adventure, and OMS will be out and about as time moves on. In the meantime you can learn more about diving OMS Side Mount Rec Adapter by clicking here.


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