The Chester A. Poling

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Today. I'm going to do something a little different for this installment of your next dive normally tried to take you to a dive destination where we talk about the trip from a number of different perspectives. The travel the lodging the dive operator. Oh yeah the diving. Now we've been around the world. But today i'm going to focus on one particular dive that is almost in our backyard. It is one of the most iconic dives here in new england and that is the wreck of the chester. Polling off gloucester mass. The chester polling was a coastal tanker. That sank in a brutal storm on january tenth. Nineteen seventy seven. The tanker had just left everett massachusetts and was bound for newington new hampshire. That information is pretty consistent in the research but there is other conflicting information about where she had been. And what cargo she delivered for example some documentation said she had previously delivered kerosene to new jersey while others indicated that the heating oil was delivered to everett mass. I would suspect that delivery to everett mass to be more likely always interesting when you Doing research to get this type of inconsistency now the chester polling was bill in nineteen thirty four at mariners harbor new york by united dry docks incorporated it was originally in the plattsburgh sacconi somewhere along the line at also known as the mobile albany before getting renamed as the chester polling at the time of its sinking it was owned by the motor vessel polling brothers and that was number one inc. I wasn't able to find who was actually named after but obviously some member of the family. So that's a little bit of history about the ship now on january tenth. Nineteen seventy seven capital captain. Bert charles burgess was in command. The forecast for that day was for thirty five mile an hour winds along with fifteen to twenty foot seas. the chester polling chester. A polling left. Everett are left everett at six thirty. A m well as we all know. Forecast can be wrong. The winds built up to fifty miles per hour and to seize goddess highs. Thirty feet facing the mounting sees captain. Burge's tried to get more stability by adding more ballast but at ten thirty a m a thirty foot waves smashed into the tanker and broke it in half the captain called for abandoning the ship. Six of the seven members of the crew were saved. I believe it was the cook jail. Derosa from providence rhode island who perished the sir. The stern section of the chester polling came to rest off easter point gloucester originally in about seventy five feet of water with the bow section sinking about four miles off of eastern point in about one hundred ninety feet of water subsequent winter. Storms move the stern section to its present location about eight hundred yards off of eastern point about ninety five feet of water. I think the bottom might be a little bit deeper than that. However the stern section of the chester polling is what some folks call hollywood wreck sitting upright and is probably the most popular wreck dive off. Cape ann as that areas known. Now i- i dove the chester polling way back in july two thousand and five. It was my fortieth dive and a double dip on. The polling was part of my advanced open water class. These dyes would constitute my deep and wreck advanced. Open water dives. At that time. I was still diving in a seven. Millimeter wetsuit with the appropriate gloves and hood. I use the standard aluminum. Eighty tank with nighthawks. Thirty two. I can still remember the anxiety that had doing. The first real wreck dive in the northeast but once in the water what an amazing dive the visibility that day was thirty feet and my max step was at eighty five. Even though it was july the water temperature on iraq was fifty degrees. It was incredible to move along the deck and reach the mid mid ship section where. The tanker broken half absolutely mesmerizing but with an aluminum. Eighty you don't get much bottom time and after about fifteen minutes we headed back to the up line and after are appropriate safety. Stop we climb back aboard the boat and got ready to do it again. Total dive time was twenty six minutes the second dive that day was just as spectacular and pretty much the same profile. Let me just say in a wetsuit. It can get pretty chilly. I didn't go back to the chester polling until august. Two thousand nine and that was my last trip there. It was my two hundred and forty ninth dive but this time i did it in a dry suit and hope to get some good video of iraq. I still dove aluminum. Eighty the dive was just as i remembered and just as exciting visibility again was thirty feet. And my max. Depth was eighty two with and the bottom temperature. That day was forty eight degrees still very cold but so much better in a dry suit again however with an aluminum eighty. You just. Don't get much bottom time especially if your task loading like shooting video so my recommendation is that if you are planning to die the polling you might want to consider a little bit bigger tank something like a steal one hundred or going to doubles. I know that i wouldn't consider going back with anything less than a steel one hundred tank. How do you get to the chester polling back. Then we use cape and divers but they closed up several years ago and recently the dive boat cape and diver to was purchased by several guys from boston. An air now operating regularly chart regular charters again became an diverse to is a forty five foot. us coastguard registered dive vessel. It is spacious and right now with limited divers on board you get plenty of room to get ready and dive but you don't get a lot of but you don't get a lot of time because you don't have a lot of time to get ready because the is only a few minutes from the dock so be prepared one thing. Different about northeast wreck diving. Is that as a diver. You need to bring all your gear that includes tanks weights everything. It's not like diving at a resort. Don't get caught short by not being prepared with all your own stuff now. Here's an interesting element. That i discovered during my research. It appears that in nineteen sixties. The chester polling was length lengthened. By maybe twenty six or so feet. That doesn't sound like much. But at the time of her sinking her length with two hundred and eighty two feet so that lengthening was about ten percent of the original ship's length could this have been a contributing factor for the ship splitting in half. I wonder so if you happen to be in the area of cape ban in gloucester massachusetts. You might wanna look up cape and diver to and head out for a double dip on the chester a

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