Archive for the Category » Captain’s Blogs «

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012 | Author:

Captain Tom Collins of Spearit Charters decided to retire this year from running trips. He asked if I would be interested in bringing Tortuga down to Wrightsville Beach to run a long weekend of Megaladon Shark tooth trips for a good customer. Reese Davis of  Bermuda Triangle Scuba from Greenville, SC booked Tortuga for 3 days of hunting for the large prehistoric sharks teeth on the ledges off Frying Pan shoals.

On Thursday August 16th, Tortuga set sail for Masonboro Inlet via the the wrecks of the Porta Allegra and Normannia. Captain Al Vogt of Atlantic Beach Diving Services  accompanied me on the trip and we decided it would be a waste not to get a couple of dives in on the way. He would tie in and do a dive and I would untie. We left Beaufort Inlet around 9am an were greeted with a bumpy swell as we headed to the 55 miles to the Porta Allegra (commonly known as the Lobster Wreck). By the time we arrived, the wind fell to 5 knots and the swell subsided to a gentle cadence. We did not find any lobster, but I was able to take a nice Hog Snapper off the wreck.

Then we were off to do another dive on the Normannia and we were rewarded with 50′ of visibility and a structure teaming with sealife. Arriving at Wrightsville Beach Yacht Club around 6 pm we were greeted by Reese and his group to check out the boat. We chatted for a while and made plans for Friday morning and they headed off to dinner, while Al and I prepared for a dinner of fresh grilled Hog Snapper on the boat.

The weather was warm and humid with a light breeze as we left the dock and headed for the fossil ledges. It remained that way until late Sunday afternoon when the wind picked up in front of a squall line that met us as we returned to Masonboro Inlet after the final day of diving. Everyone had great dives and brought back a bountiful booty of the prehistoric sharks teeth.

Here is just what Reese got alone.

What a great trip and Tortuga will make plans to offer several weekend in Wrightsville running charters to gather some more of these wonderful fossils.

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012 | Author:

Every now and then you get an experience that is a lifetime memory. My most recent was diving with my son, daughter and son in law. Here is the video my daughter made with my Flip video….

Thursday, May 10th, 2012 | Author:

Made while diving aboard Tortuga the weekend of May 5th, 2012. Thanks a million Adam!!

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012 | Author:

This past weekend, we had a group of inshore flounder hunters that included the infamous Scotty Pearce ( of “Hiding on the Bottom” fame). We ran to the Artificial reef AR 320 which consists of the old Atlantic Beach Beach pieces. The old drawbridge and bridge tender’s house is there, large pieces of the bridge sections and tons of the bridge columns. It makes for fantastic structure for all sorts of marine life, especially flounder. The inshore visibility has been fantastic, almost top to bottom. Water tempuratures are a little cool, we had 62 degrees on Sunday April 15th.

After we got hooked into a spot that I was sure was far enough away from the previous day’s diving, everyone suited up and hit the water.  After 15 minutes, Scotty showed up on the surface about 20 yards from the boat. I worried that he was having a problem as he swam back to the boat. When he climbed the ladder, he stopped half way up and took his mask off, exhaling a big sigh. “Are you alright, buddy?” I inquired. “I am just tired.” he responded.

I gave him a puzzled look, and he raised his stringer with his right hand and a huge flounder came in to view. “I am tired of fighting this guy!”

Scotty's monster flounder.. 11 pounds 10 ounces

Be sure to check out the entire story in next month’s issue of Carolina Salt Magazine where Captain James writes a monthly article about diving the Crystal Coast aboard Tortuga.

Tuesday, December 06th, 2011 | Author:

I didn’t do a very good job of blogging or reporting on an ongoing  basis this season, other than a couple of videos, I have not posted anything since May. But that does not indicate that we had a slow or bad dive season, it is quite the contrary. We had a great year with a lot exciting things

It was the 4th season for Tortuga Charters, and we had a great mix of new customers and old friends. I feel like the business is maturing and we are developing a great group of regular patrons. It was my first season without a full time mate, as my son Reid is chasing bigger dreams. He has my blessing and I am very proud of him, and I am not the only one who misses him on the boat. A lot of my regulars ask about him often. He was in Vermont for the lion’s share of the dive season, so was not able to grace the decks of Tortuga even once. Instead of one mate, I put together a group of very competent young guys on a rotation as needed and that worked great. Several are also credentialed USCG Captains and that means I get to dive when they are on the boat!! I love that. The only problem with that is they are all married to beautiful young women of child bearing age and there seems to be an epidemic. The other problem is that if you use late 20’s/early 30 something guys as crew who live in Carteret County, you are going to have difficulty finding someone when the surf’s up or the fish are biting.

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011 | Author:

Monday, January 24th, 2011 | Author:

This is a poem written by Tortuga first mate Reid Rosemond describing his emotions prior to splashing overboard to go tie in the anchor. It was a Christmas gift to the Captain and Reid is happy to let me share it with my customers and friends.

The Plummet

By Reid Rosemond

 

There is a brief moment, a fraction of a second

where I am suspended between two worlds

 

Leaving terrestrial’s dependable comfort

for an aquatic atmosphere unknown to most eyes

 

I have taken my last natural breath of air compressed only by gravity.

and I now rely completely on contraptions

 

Tanks, hoses, regulators, O-rings, H-valves, inflators, deflators, neoprene, BCD and mask.

 

Surviving on gadgets, safety at bay, I roll overboard and my upside down position seals my next move and I plummet

 

In almost every instance, It is uncanny and amusing at the same time that in preparation of my descent, I ask myself: Will this be my last breath?

 

I imagine my last gasp in a mad dash to the surface

through sharks, barracudas, mola molas, eels, groupers, spades, triggers and jellyfish

bubbling and breaking into the open air

 

But somehow or another, I say before I splash:

“I sure hope not” and shrug and take my chances

Friday, January 14th, 2011 | Author:

This is the Morehead waterfront on a beautiful winter day. I was just running Tortuga just to give her a little exercise.

Untitled from Tortuga Charters on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 02nd, 2010 | Author:

Tortuga’s last 3 booked days of the 2010 season just passed this last weekend. We were booked for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Friday came with gale force winds of 25 knots as a cold front passed and high pressure built in behind it. A second front was to pass  through Sunday, leaving a fantastic fall weather window on Saturday. We left the dock around 8am wearing sweatshirts and long pants in the 50 degree fall morning air. The wind had died to around 10 knots and the air was dry and fresh. With the sun rising across the shoals to the east, we made our way across the 2′ waves at 18 knots headed 42 miles to the wreck of the Naeco. We would be joining the dive boat Atlantis IV already 13 miles ahead of us. Riding as 2nd Captain was Frank Edwards, allowing me to get a couple of dives in. I was overflowing with excitement as we steamed ahead towards the stern of the Naeco, my favorite Crystal Coast shipwreck.

As we arrived on the site, the divers from Atlantis IV were just climbing back aboard the boat. The waters on the surface were 74 degrees, and coupled with the bright late morning sun, warmed the air to a very comfortable 75 degrees. The wind had all but stopped moving and the seas had only a gentle movement.

Tortuga anchored on the Naeco, courtesy of Bruce Sanders

We were greeted with 80′ of visibility and fantastic conditions. All of the big animal life that makes the Naeco such a great dive were present, and everyone saw Sea Turtles on the bottom and the surface.

After pulling the hook, which was my job for the day, we headed 6 miles inshore to the wreck formerly known as the Papoose. The Papoose (now thought to be the W.E. Hutton) met its doom just a week earlier than the Naeco, both at the hands of the Nazi U-Boat Commander Johann Mohr aboard the U-124 in 1942.  The wreck lies in 120′ of salt water, and we had equally beautiful conditions on the wreck as well as the surface of the water above her. It was classic NC diving at its very best.

The fall weather gets more and more unpredictible as we move through November and into December, but there are still plenty of great days left before hard core winter time sets in for January and February. If you watch the weather, keep your dive gear packed and ready to go at the drop of a hat, you can still get some great diving in.

Tortuga is ready when you are, just pick up the phone and call!

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010 | Author:

"Leatherback on the Ledge" by Reid Rosemond

I was blessed with very artistically talented children. I was also blessed to have my son Reid serve as mate on Tortuga for the last 2 seasons. My christmas gift last year was this image that he created for me. Yesterday I got it scanned so I could share it with my customers and readers.