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Thread: Sinking of the Monica Lee

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    I live in Val-p, FL. My boat lives in Niceville & I dive off the coast of Destin.
    Posts
    4,833

    Default

    Members,

    Sorry this post is late in coming but we had out of town company right after the Deployment. You all know how that is. We had a great visit but now, it's over and I can spend some time telling you about our deployment.

    First, I'd like to say that without all our wonderful volunteers that helped throughout this process, this reef wouldn't have been possible. I wish you all could have been there to watch her sink because you all own part of this success. Thank you to each and every one of you for your contributions.

    I'm going to start this accounting with the work that was done the day before deployment.

    John Dyer met me at the Monica Lee to help me remove all the wood and steel that was covering holes on the deck. We checked to be sure that both the batteries and bilge pumps were working and John held the ladder so that I could stage the 200# lift bag and an AL 40 to fill it after she sank.

    Stone got off from work and drove over so he would be familiar with the staging to make the dive easier on deployment day.

    We then all headed over to the Destin Fishing Fleet Marina behind Fisherman’s Wharf because Kelly wanted me there to supervise the loading of the mooring anchor. John was very helpful with the loading process.

    The next morning, all the persons on the mooring anchor deployment team met up at the dock at 5:30 am. Capt. Steve Housler stood in for Capt. Kelly Windes for the Deployment. Prior to leaving the dock, he checked the securing straps and decided to add more straps to insure that the anchor did not accidently fall off the back of the deployment bay.

    The Michael Scott left the harbor around 6:00 a.m. and headed out into the pass. We saw that the Divin Deep was at their staging site outside the harbor waiting for the Monica Lee to come through the pass so they could film it.

    The Down Time was waiting at their staging location for the arrival of the Michael Scott to enter the pass. Our original plan was for the Down Time to film the Monica Lee going through the pass but because of the fog, we decided that it was more important that they proceed to the target location and place the target buoy. I instructed them to delay deployment of the spectator control buoys since we didn't see any boats on our way out.

    When the Michael Scott arrived on the target site, the Down Time had already placed the target buoy and double checked the placement and that the buoy was holding steady.

    The seas were about 1' or less and we didn't notice any current. There was still a good bit of fog that was restricting our line of sight but the fog was beginning to clear while we were awaiting the arrival of the Monica Lee.

    The water conditions were such that it was decided that it would not be necessary to pre-deploy the anchor line and it was unrolled from the package and laid on the port aft corner of the deployment bay. There did not appear to be any noticeable current so the decision was made to remove the 22# Danforth anchor from the small side of the mooring anchor so that we wouldn't have to retrieve it after the boat sank. In the event that the anchor did drag, we had divers on scene that would be able to attach and set the Danforth and we had 2 hours to take care of it prior to the anticipated arrival of the Monica Lee.

    Prior to the deployment of the mooring anchor, I attached a finger reel with 120' of nylon line to the anchor with a strong zip tie. On the opposite side of the reel, I attached a small styrofoam crab trap buoy designed to deploy as the mooring anchor sank.

    The Mooring Deployment Crew consisted of the following ECRA volunteers:
    Robert Crum
    John Dyer
    Lou Bolin
    and Capt. Steve Housler also provided tremendous support.
    Our official photographer on the Michael Scott was ECRA member/volunteer, Sandra Boole. (She will provide us with pictures as soon as she gets back from a trip.)

    The Mooring anchor was deployed with the end of the anchor rope pre-attached to the bow of the Michael Scott. Once the anchor was deployed, the anchor rope was pulled in until it was almost vertical and we kept an eye on the GPS to detect any drifting. The 1 ton mooring anchor with 30' of 1/2" chain was more than adequate to hold the Michael Scott which is 15' longer than the Monica Lee and the weight is estimated to be the same or greater than the weight of the Monica Lee. I felt confident that the anchor would hold and then radioed the Monica Lee team and informed them that the anchor was holding steady.

    Two wood 4"x4" boards were deployed with the anchor and then retrieved by the crew on the assist vessel Divin Deep operated by Capt. Gregg Velez.

    Capt. James Flores alerted the Michael Scott that he could see us in the distance and we immediately began looking for their arrival. The Monica Lee broke through the fog being towed by Capt. Flores and you could feel the excitement rise on the boat.

    The Monica Lee arrived being towed by the Turn Key and pushed by the Tugger. They were escorted by Capt. Val Flores in a Catamaran and by the Intrepid that was a replacement for the Sea Cobra for the observation teams from the County and the FWC (State).

    Capt. Flores pulled the Monica Lee alongside the Michael Scott and Capt. Housler threw the buoy attached to the mooring line to the crew riding out on the Monica Lee. Once they had the anchor line secured to the Monica Lee, the line was completely disconnected from the Michael Scott and the Michael Scott motored away from the Monica Lee.

    I instructed the crew on the Monica Lee to tighten the line as close to vertical as they could, deploy the anchor buoy in the water and to zip tie the excess line to the ladder so that we could retrieve James' line.

    After they completed that, they proceeded to hand off the batteries and bilge pumps to the Turn Key Vessel and then they deployed the flooding patch removal line to the Tugger who was able to remove the patches by giving the line a gentle pull with their boat. The patches popped right off just as they were designed to.

    The positioning line was removed and handed over to the Turn Key Vessel because the boat was already taking on water and it wasn't going to be safe to try and turn the Monica Lee since she was, at this time, riding lower in the water.

    After everything was removed from the vessel, the crew on the Monica Lee re-boarded the Turn Key vessel to prepare to flood using the trash pumps.

    Both trash pumps on the tow vessels were temperamental but within several minutes, Capt. Flores was successful in getting the pump on his vessel operational. His crew then proceeded to flood the stern deck flooding holes until water began to enter the flooding holes that Lou Bolin cut in the stern hull.

    The sinking of the Monica Lee took approximately an hour to complete but as soon as water lapped over the deck, she began to list starboard and then she straightened out just as the wheelhouse roof was about to submerge. The sinking took less than a minute after she listed to the starboard side. It was a very satisfying sight to see.

    The entire process went very smoothly and credit must go to all the people that worked so hard to prepare for this day.

    Again, my hat is off to all of you for helping ECRA sink our first vessel. GREAT JOB Volunteers!
    Candy
    President, ECRA
    Reef Deployment Director

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    I live in Val-p, FL. My boat lives in Niceville & I dive off the coast of Destin.
    Posts
    4,833

    Default Mooring Anchor Loaded on Michael Scott

    Mooring Anchor Loaded on Michael Scott
    Candy
    President, ECRA
    Reef Deployment Director

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    I live in Val-p, FL. My boat lives in Niceville & I dive off the coast of Destin.
    Posts
    4,833

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    I live in Val-p, FL. My boat lives in Niceville & I dive off the coast of Destin.
    Posts
    4,833

    Default More Pictures of the Anchor Deployment Cr

    At this point, I switched my camera to video so I don't have a picture of the anchor splashing in the water but Sandy Boole had some fantastic splash photo's on her camera. We can look forward to seeing those pictures when she comes back from her trip.

    While we were waiting on the arrival of the Monica Lee, we saw something white and large floating in the water off the bow. Our crew got the hook and snagged it and brought it onboard. It appeared to be a sea anchor that had broken loose. It was covered with seallife so it must have been in the water for quite some time. John found a tiny crab in the folds of the flotsam.
    Candy
    President, ECRA
    Reef Deployment Director

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    I live in Val-p, FL. My boat lives in Niceville & I dive off the coast of Destin.
    Posts
    4,833

    Default Video of Anchor Deployment

    Video of Anchor Deployment. This is a place marker until I can figure out how to change the format to be compatable with the forum.
    Candy
    President, ECRA
    Reef Deployment Director

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    I live in Val-p, FL. My boat lives in Niceville & I dive off the coast of Destin.
    Posts
    4,833

    Default

    Hi Members!

    I have been busy catching up on all the things I have neglected so that I could focus on the Monica Lee project but I have a little time right now so I am going to add some more pictures I took on Deployment Day.

    I hope you all enjoy them.

    Everyone else that took pictures that day, feel free to share them on this thread!!!

    BTW: I'm still smiling! What a tremendous success!!!
    Candy
    President, ECRA
    Reef Deployment Director

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    I live in Val-p, FL. My boat lives in Niceville & I dive off the coast of Destin.
    Posts
    4,833

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    I live in Val-p, FL. My boat lives in Niceville & I dive off the coast of Destin.
    Posts
    4,833

    Default Monica Lee pictures continued

    The Ole Girl joins Davy Jones Locker to become home to many fish and an excellent fishing spot!
    Candy
    President, ECRA
    Reef Deployment Director

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    I live in Val-p, FL. My boat lives in Niceville & I dive off the coast of Destin.
    Posts
    4,833

    Default Photo's by Bill Horn, FWC

    The following photo's were taken By Bill Horn, FWC.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Candy
    President, ECRA
    Reef Deployment Director

  10. Default Sinking Video

    Evidently some people had problems watching the .mpg video I posted on page 1 (probably a codec issue with their version of Windows) so I'm reposting with a .avi version here. If you can't view it try changing the file extension to .avi instead of .mpg. I had to change the file extension to .mpg for the forum to accept it. I deleted the original .mpg from page 1 but it's the same clip.

    Gregg
    Last edited by GreggVelez; 05-18-11 at 09:07 AM.

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