1999 Ayuruoca Photos I

All images on this page 1999 by Christina Young.

Welcome to the world of perpetual midnight -- the New Jersey Mud Hole! The Mud Hole is the deep, silty ocean trench running from the mouth of the Hudson River to the abyssal dropoff of the Hudson Canyon, over 80 miles offshore. Being in smack in the middle of the approaches to New York Harbor and the Port of Newark, it is filled with shipwrecks from the past 300 years. Most of these wrecks are difficult dives -- they are deep (ranging from 150 fsw to 250 fsw), covered with nets and monofilament, and very dark due to both the usually poor visibility (most of the time just a few feet) and silty bottom which absorbs most of the remaining ambient light. For these reasons, the majority of the wrecks here don't get visited very often and still have many interesting artifacts.

The Ayuruoca (Oil Wreck) lies in 170 fsw, and is the most popular Mud Hole wreck. It is certainly one of my favorite wrecks, because of its size (468 feet in length), the fact that it is intact, has many interesting penetrations, lots of nooks and crannies in every part of the wreck (like little shacks, strange pieces of machinery, booms and trucks lashed to the decks), and nice artifacts (everything from cookware and china, to beautiful brass pieces).

The Ayuruoca was a Brazilian freighter sliced in two in 1945 by the Norwegian freighter General Fleischer. It lies NW-SE in two pieces about 300 feet apart. Interestingly, none of the WWII Mud Hole wrecks were U-boat kills! Since ships would run with their lights out at night to avoid the U-boats, they would all just crash into each other and sink. It is also called the Oil Wreck because for years diesel fuel was leaking out of its gas tanks little by little.

The following pictures (all images from video) are from the Oil Wreck trip on the dive boat Blue Fathoms, Saturday, July 17, 1999.

Paul Klein, setting up his equipment prior to leaving the dock.
Publicity-shy Bill Cleary complains about being followed around by the paparazzi. ;-)
This is one of the hazards of diving the Oil Wreck, and in the Mud Hole in general. Out here, big ships are passing you all day long. This huge Sea-Land container ship is larger than the Titanic!
This is the tie-in point. Can you see the anchor line in this picture? In the Mud Hole, every dive is a night dive!
A piece of machinery on the deck.
This is a ventilator duct sticking up from the deck, covered in anemones.
Another piece of machinery attached to a frame structure not too far from the tie-in point.
A nice, brass porthole in a secret location on the Oil Wreck. :-)
Paul Klein explores the Ayuruoca. He is actually shining his light down into a hole, which is why you don't see it. Even the brightest lights don't seem to penetrate the darkness much more than a little pen light, because so much of the light is absorbed by the silt.
Bill Cleary exploring.
Paul Klein decompressing. Even on the line at shallower depths it is dark.
Bill Cleary hangs out at 10 feet. Notice the green hue of the Mud Hole waters. Visibility on top was really bad, and at times I could hardly see people who were decompressing at 10 feet from the twenty foot stop!
Christina gets the camera turned on her. Paul Klein took this one of me.
Capt. Tony Donetz enjoys lunch with the crowd. His cool, air conditioned cabin was a lifesaver in 100 degree F weather!
Bill Schmoldt jokes around at lunchtime.

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