SM1 & Gosford-Sept. 5 & 6, 2014-Peace
There are dive trips and then there are DIVE TRIPS and this is one of those DIVE TRIPS I had been looking forward to for a long time. Last year I tried to do a 2 day SM1/Gosford trip only to end up changing it to a 1 day SM1/Gosford trip and 1 day Santa Cruz trip. You would think there was enough divers who would like to do something very different but I have learned lots of them just can’t seem to get out of the rut or beyond their comfort zone. Oh well, after that I decided that I wanted to do the trip for myself and if it didn’t work out finically that was OK because it was something I really wanted to do.
I have dived the SM1 & Gosford many times and it never fails to keep me wanting to go back for more. Actually I think the SM1 gets better with time because time is against her and she is compacting more and more every year and as she does, she shows more and more of herself to those that have the desire to seek some adventure like myself.
Have you ever seen a trip on the Peace to the wrecks of the SM1 and Gosford? If you said yes that would have to be a CIDA trip because those are the only trips that have taken the Peace north along the coast. Anyways, like most CIDA wreck trips we try and have Patrick Smith aboard because after all he is one of the local wreck expert. He is also the only one I know that co-wrote a book about some of Southern California’s ship wrecks and he tells an excellent tale!
Now on with the trip details. We headed out around 1:00 am for the journey up to the SM1 getting there around 7:00 am. One of the new crew members (James) tied the rear stern line off to a bumper on the front of the SM1 making navigating the wreck very easy. The SM1 is about 200’ long and lies upside down with a large debris field off the Starboard side. This debris field is the place to see lots of fish and parts of the crane and other miscellaneous that was loose on deck before it rolled over and sunk.
The debris field is also where I had the privilege to video Pat Smiths proposal to Cindy Shaw on the 2nd dive of the day. It was awesome being able to do that on one of the coolest wrecks around and one that was never made for divers to dive.
We did 2 dives on the SM1 and with it sitting at about 75’ it is the perfect wreck dive for nitrox. The vis wasn’t the best and maybe just below average with it running 10’-15’ and water temps in the low 60’s which was above normal but then everywhere now in SoCal has water temperatures above normal.
There are lots of cool things to see on the SM1 such as toilets, valves, cage lights, sinks, machinery and more and most all of that you can see without going inside. Going inside the SM1 is something I would never recommend because she is falling apart and there are many very sharp jagged things to get caught or cut on.
After the SM1 the Peace untied from the wreck and headed up around the light house a little further north. We have dived a reef there before but with the weather and swell we had and knowing the underwater structure in that area is more flat than you would think we decided against diving there and went to anchor up at the Gosford in Cojo Anchorage.
The Gosford is another one of my favorite wrecks and after being in the water since the early 1890’s you would think she would be all buried in the sand in the shallow cove she now calls home with nothing to see and how wrong that is! The only kelp in the area is attached to the wreck and from the large bow to the stern there is much to see and inspect including lots of the coal she was transporting. In fact some monkey face eels call her home as well as many lingcod and Cabazon. No hunting here now that it is in a Marine Protected area, only pictures and memories taken. We had the chance to make 2 day dives on the SM1 and the vis wasn’t bad with it running about 10’-15’. I am sure if it wasn’t one of those weekends that had a large south swell things would have been even better.
After the excellent dinner it was time to get some much needed rest and wonder where our travels would take us the following day. It was decided we would leave early and head over to Santa Rosa but the weather kept us from that so Eric continued our travels till the west end of Santa Cruz where we could get out of the swell. We did 4 dives along the front west end of Santa Cruz and even taking a small detour into Painted Cave. The vis (20’-30’) and conditions were very favorable on all the Santa Cruz dives and the trip home was nice with us getting in around 7:30 pm.
This will was the last SM1 trip planned for CIDA aboard the Peace but don’t worry because we have 2 other single day trips set-up aboard the Truth for next year. We hope you can join us!
Read more about both the SM1 & Gosford here.