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Old 04-20-2010, 09:01 AM
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Default Wall Diving to 1200 ft.

My one and only dry sub dive took place off Georgetown, Grand Cayman a while back. This was before Ivan trashed the island and destroyed the deep submergence vessel sad to say. Did the dive with http://www.atlantisadventures.com/ca...activities.cfm . They still run their sub "bus" down to about 112 ft. along the rampart of the drop off. Still worth a dive in my opinion. I can recall when they drove these large subs on flatbeds down I-95 one at a time to be shipped to destinations in the Caribbean. Strange sight!



The three man dry sub awaits



Inside the sub, a bit tight but serviceable. Beats trying to free dive to 1200 ft.!



A section showing the drop off including the wreck of the Kirk Pride at 800 ft. of water.
From: National Geographic, November 1988


From the 2004 original page of the now defunct Atlantis Submarines website about this dry sub dive:

"TOUR DESCRIPTION:
Imagine exploring the mysteries of the ocean 1000 feet beneath the surface, on board a sophisticated deep diving Research Submarine. Does this sound like an experience available only to a select few scientists, or teams from the National Geographic Society? That was certainly true in the past, but now you too can join the ranks of these explorers! Since 1985 the public has been able to experience the fascinating undersea world of the spectacular Cayman Wall to depths of 1000 feet, and we are still the only place in the world to offer such a unique underwater adventure to the general public. Absolutely no diving experience is necessary. Our excursions have been featured in numerous magazines and TV programs including National Geographic, Skin Diver, CNN Travel Guide, ABC Wide World of Sports, and Good Morning America.


We operate two Deep Explorer submarines. Each vessel carries just two passengers and one highly skilled pilot. Guests sit side-by-side in front of a three foot diameter hemispherical window, providing an excellent view of this rarely seen world. As the submarine descends, powerful lights illuminate the brilliant colors of the region known as the "sponge belt" from 200-450 feet. This area is characterized by literally hundreds of species of sponges proliferating on the sheer vertical wall. These sponges come in bizarre shapes, sizes and colors: 20-foot-long orange rope sponges, monstrous barrel sponges, multi-branched tube sponges, and marble hard sclerosponge are just a few examples. Below 500 feet, the water temperature begins to decrease, creating distinct zones of life, each with a unique animal community. Beyond 650 feet, we encounter enormous limestone blocks termed "haystacks," some standing as much as 150 feet tall. Here we find many of the unusual animals and delicate corals of the deep, such as stalked crinoids, porcelain corals, black basket starfish, and large deep sea gorgonians. Beyond 800 feet, the bottom descends in a series of shelves and escarpments.


The atmosphere in the submarine remains at surface pressure; so, unlike an airplane or swimming underwater, you will feel no pressure or sensation in the ears. We provide a very personalized trip and a fantastic photo opportunity for both still and video photographers. We recommend at least 1000 ASA film. A pilot operated video service is available for an additional charge. An advantage to this service is that passengers may enjoy the dive without holding a camera or observing the entire adventure through a viewfinder. The 1000 foot tour is about 90 minutes from "shore to shore," including 15 inutes for the short boat ride to and from the dive site. Check-in is 30 minutes prior to dive time."



There is a crinoid there, the deep in large measure seems to belong to invertebrates. These guys developed when seas were cooler, darker. When glaciers receded, the seas deepened and cleared up, some of these guys ranged deeper or moved into and under rocks or shifted to night time operations.



A trio of Sea Lillies, Feather Stars or Endoxocrinus parrae pose for the camera at about 1000 ft. These guys are crinoids that WALK! Checkout the multiple legs made for uh walking. More at: http://www.livescience.com/animals/051017_sea_lily.html and http://tinyurl.com/sealillie



Getting to the head of the matter or the oxygen and food exchange surfaces. Think they might use it for a submerged version of kitesurfing when no one is looking. Never know?



Another reason the Lillies occur so deeply is to avoid predation. Some fish and decapod crustacea favor them.


I just came across some Notes on the walking crinoids in the Bulletin of Marine Science, including:

"BULLETINOFMARINESCIENCE4,2(3): 480-487, 1988
RELOCATION MOVEMENT IN A STALKED CRINOID (ECHINODERMATA)

Charles G, Messing, M, Christine RoseSmyth, Stuart R, Mailer and John E. Miller

Of about 80 species I of extant stalked crinoids, or sea lilies, more than half attach permanently to hard substrates by cementation of a terminal stalk plate or to sediments by branching rootlets. The remainder compose the family Isocrinidae and anchor chiefly to hard substrates via segmented prehensile cirri that arise in whorls of five at intervals along the stalk. Several authors have inferred that cirral attachment is temporary; swimming with arms or cirri and passive drifting along the bottom have been suggested as means of relocation after detachment (Car- penter, 1884; Kirk, 1911; Conan et al., 1981). Roux (1976) suggested that increased sedimentation rates on a canyon-mouth population of Diplocrinus (Annacrinus) wyvillethomsoni (Jeffreys) could cause individuals to relocate. However, most isocrinids appear to favor relatively stable environmental conditions (indicated by sediment shadows, hydrographic records, and growth and orientation patterns of co-occurring sessile invertebrates). Significant mobility has not been demon- strated up to now.

Although isolated observations ofthe isocrinid Endoxocrinus parrae (Gervais), indicate that it can crawl with its arms, in situ observations from submersibles during the last 15 years (Macurda and Meyer, 1974; 1976; Neumann et al., 1977; Messing, 1985) have not included extended time-series data for individual spec- imens essential for understanding the details of detachment and locomotion. The establishment by Research Submersibles, Ltd. of daily, shore-based submersible dives to 250 m off Discovery Bay, Jamaica, and, more recently, Georgetown, Grand Cayman Island, has allowed us to make repeated observations of individ- uals of the isocrinid, Cenocrinus asterius (Linnaeus), over extended periods and document their movement, reported herein."
Continued at: http://nsuworks.nova.edu/cgi/viewcon...cc_facarticles



A sea biscuit draws a line in the sand



Sliding up the wall and back to the light.


We had remarkable visibility below the euphotic zone (where it is perpetually black), several hundred feet. If you have a chance to do a deep submergence dive sometime, you might give it a whirl.
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Old 04-20-2010, 03:37 PM
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Kirkpridebow.jpg
Shot with a film camera in about 300 ft. visibility! I think it was something over 400 ft. during a portion of my dive.

Something I missed was a dive on the wreck of the Kirk Pride. I recall Atlantis would go there periodically vs. another section of the wall.
Some friends dove it and shot a number of images on it in the 1980's. Amazing stuff. The Kirk Pride sunk in 1976 off Georgetown
harbor and is literally on the brink of the wall in 780 ft. of water. We talked about diving it on trimix in my course in 1991. Somethings are
better left as just "talk" too, like a SCUBA trimix dive of this magnitude, at least at that time.

This is what Wikipedia has to say about the wreck:

In January 1976, an approaching storm prompted authorities to move the ship to a different harbor. However, her engines malfunctioned
and would not turn off when they were supposed to. As a result, the ship was unable to stop in time before it struck the wall of the reef. The
resulting breach in the hull led authorities to strive for days to keep her afloat, until the attempts failed and the ship was abandoned.

The wreckage lay unnoticed until 1985, when it was finally discovered off the Cayman Wall. The wreck of the Kirk Pride lies in about 780 feet
of water near the base of the Wall in George Town Harbor, Grand Cayman. Trapped by two pinnacles, one at the bow and another at the
stern, it rolled down the 45º-60º slope to the edge of the shelf. Underwater visibility is approximately 300' horizontally at this depth and
twice that when looking upward.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kirk_Pride

Just spoke to Atlantis, unfortunately there are no near term plans to stage another deep submergence vessel in Georgetown. So for now,
diving the Kirk Pride remains something from the past.

Low resolution video of a dive on the Kirk Pride:
http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fu...oID=2025280473



A great shot of the stern section.
From: http://philip.greenspun.com/

Used to dream of diving down to see the wreck at 780 ft. via SCUBA. One of the guys in my Trimix scuba course in 1991 talked about working up to it. These days, I think I would go for a dry sub ride! I understand the walking crinoids would hang out on the gunnels of the wreck, bizarre contrast!


The following are some remarkable photos taken by Courtney Platt, a former sub driver and photographer for the Cayman submarine operations. The guys on scuba gear are in the shallower reaches of the wall, likely well above 500 ft. https://www.flickr.com/photos/courtn...7602992374466/


















.
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Old 04-27-2010, 12:44 PM
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More info about the wreck from:

Shipwrecks of the Cayman Islands
By Wood Lawson
http://tinyurl.com/kirkpride
(there are some photos you might be able to do projections from)


and SHIPWRECK DIVING Guide By Capt Dan Berg
http://www.shipwreckexpo.com/tscarib...kdirectory.htm

"KIRK PRIDE

A visit to the wreck of the Kirk Pride is definitely the highlight of any wreck diver's trip to Grand Cayman. The Kirk Pride was a 170foot cargo vessel weighing 498 gross tons. In 1976 the Kirk Pride was docked in Georgetown due to engine trouble. A Northeaster was building up, and, in an effort to save the ship from being banged up at dock, it was decided to move her to deeper waters where it was thought she would be much safer. The ship's engines were started, and she was backed out from dock. Unluckily, it was necessary to turn her engines back off in order to switch into forward gear. It was at this time that fate struck. The engines would not start again, and the ship was helplessly driven into a reef. The damaged vessel was now in serious trouble as the ocean water quickly began to seep in. In another attempt to save her, she was fitted with pumps and towed into deeper water. While awaiting a calmer sea that would allow more extensive repairs, the Kirk Pride was left anchored in 60 feet of water with drainage pumps running. During the night, the wind changed direction causing the ship to swing around and hover defenseless over the Cayman wall which drops down into 3,000 feet of water. By morning, the pumps had been overcome with sea water, and her two cargo holds were filled. At 9:30 AM January 9, 1976, the ocean once again held an empty surface as the Kirk Pride plunged down into unknown depths.

It was not until 1985 that the Kirk Pride was rediscovered. While on one of their underwater expeditions, Research Submersibles Ltd. came upon the Kirk Pride. She had not fallen into the depth of 3000 feet as it was believed but instead became wedged into her final resting place by two huge pinnacles in 800 feet of water. A small pinnacle or haystack trapped the stern, while a large 60 foot high boulder trapped the bow.

Today, this wreck is far beyond the limits of a sport diver but can be viewed through the use of Research Submersibles Ltd's two passenger submersible. The submarine ride will last for about one hour and 30 minutes. This once in a life time adventure of dropping to the great depths of the sea and viewing the wreck of the Kirk Pride is a memory that will be long lived in anyone's mind.

The wreck is clearly visible and still sits upright. Her name can easily be read on the stern as well as on the bow. She has two cargo compartments. The aft hold still contains a Volkswagen Thing and some sacks of cement. Portholes, cage lamps, the ship's telegraph, a spare anchor, and a deck winch were all pointed out to us by the operator of the sub.

In November of 1988,National Geographic published a remarkable stern photo that captured almost the entire wreck in one image. To get the photo, two submersibles were used along with two glass floats each filled with four dozen flashbulbs. The combined flash and lights were over five times the intensity of a standard Coast Guard lighthouse. It was one of the most powerful photo flashes ever taken underwater.

Don't be worried, decent photos of the wreck can be taken by anyone using a high speed film such as 400 or 1000 ASA or video. They will not show the entire wreck in one photo but will document your dive. The entire experience was a perfect way to wrap up a great week of diving on Grand Cayman's shipwrecks."


An amazingly poor quality movie dubbed to video on the sinking of the Kirk Pride in 1976 in Georgetown harbor. I almost erased this but if you look closely, you might get a feeling for what went on.



From the youtube post: "Footage of the sinking of the cargo ship Kirk Pride in the harbour off Georgetown, Grand Cayman in 1976. The ship had been in dock when strong winds and rough seas rose up and it was damaged. It was towed out just offshore, where it sank. Includes later footage showing the wreck on the sea floor, taken from a submersible."


There is an article from 1986 on a submarine dive to the Kirk Pride at: http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/198...rsl-robot-subs

.
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Old 01-18-2012, 01:34 PM
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Another look at dropping via dry sub to 1200 ft. down the Cayman Wall.
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