Miami Wreck Exploration Project

Technical diving in Miami since 1990

Mystic Isle 2/18/2012

Posted by Joel Svendsen on February 21, 2012 at 12:00 AM

Saturday February 20 we dove the wreck of the Mystic Isle, a wreck laying due east of Key Biscayne. Dive roster was David Buhlinger, Jody Svendsen, Alex Gilson and Rick Thomas. Two teams of two. Carlos was our captain, and as always thank you Carlos for your superb boat driving.

We arrived on-site at 8:45am and were suited up and in the water by 9:10. Dive plan was :20 BT, Average Depth 180-Ft. :30 Deco, starting at 130-ft. :58 Run time.

Sea conditions were ideal, flat seas, no appreciable current, good visibility 60-ft+, water temperatures of 74-deg on the surface and 72-degrees at depth. We had a picture-perfect descent and were on the wreck in less than :03. We came in on the starboard side of the wreck near the stern. Scootered up into a large opening in the hull-side and went in below the main deck. It's an interesting swim-through with just enough potential entanglements to keep the penetration interesting. There was a lot of silt on the decks, of significant build-up evidenced by the way it sloped into any opening in the deck. Being the #4 diver in the group, I had the best over-all perspective of the silt build-up in the wreck! The internal steel bulkheads are still fairly intact. We swam back out and scootered a circuit around the wreck, seeing the over-all condition of the structure. Lots of soft corals and sea fans growing on the wreck. We swam into the super-structure on the main deck, around 170-ft, and did a quick passage through. I noticed a porcelain hand-bowl is sitting on the deck in the forward area of the structure. There was no large marine life evident, only a school of small grunts swimming above the main deck. Up above the structure we noticed an opening that seemed to go down into the bowels of the wreck, likely the engine room. We didn't attempt to enter through here.

At about :15 into the dive we left the Mystic Isle and scootered NW in search of the wreck of the Esmirelda. We scootered at 180-feet for a minute, then turned a more southerly heading for a few more minutes. At :20 run time we thumbed the dive, without finding the second wreck. Moved up to 130-ft, our first deep stop where we shot David's new Dive Rite yellow SMB. I noticed that by the time we were in our ascent the visibility was degrading to less than 50-ft. We surfaced to still pristine conditions.

I did an experimental decompression schedule, testing the theory that in Ratio Deco, one stop can be omitted without significant risk of DCS. I blew the last :05 from 10-ft and relaxed on the surface breathing my MOD-20 gas. Pleased to report I came out of the water feeling clean, and went through the day feeling good, being active and walking Miami Beach in the afternoon. I am not endorsing the action of omitting any decompression, simply stating that in my case, having done all of my decompression properly up to the point I surfaced, I was still out of the water feeling good.

Was a great morning of diving. When we were finished with gear stowed, we did a SMB visibility test, placing three different SMBs in the water. We placed an orange BBQ bag, a yellow 52" Dive Rite sausage marker and a yellow 72" Halcyon sausage marker in the water together. We did not weight the sausage markers to allow them to stand vertical, as we wanted "worst-case" situations. We motored away and observed the visibility of the markers. The 72" Halcyon marker was the most visible from all distances.

Dive safe!

Rick Thomas

Techfills LLC

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