Texas Clipper Report

                A Beautiful Day on the “Texas Clipper”
                              

One to two foot seas, we reached the site of the ‘Texas Clipper. Another dive boat was already there so we went to a nearby oil rig and did our first dive of the day. Everyone enjoyed it.Clear water and lots of fish, Gary Swearington from Houston, kept saying that he wished he had brought his speargun. After a surface interval we headed back to the ‘Clipper’. We pulled up to the bouy marking the ‘Clipper. Everyone, excited about the dive,  jumped in the warm clear water. On the descent we noticed a light current and  100 foot visibility, the ‘Clipper’, laying on side, a beautiful sight. “WOW!!!”. This is what diving is all about. We were able to do two dives on the ‘Clipper’. She has coral growing on her now which has attracted some beautiful tropical fish. I saw Berta Allen, April McDaniel, from Corpus Christi, and several others taking pictures.  We also saw several large ‘sow snapper’. There were some nice ‘swim-thrus.

This is a great dive, hope you can go with us on the next one.

                                                                          Saundra Copeland

Texas Clipper Dive Experience

James R. Jones

August 31, 2010

The trip out to dive the Texas Clipper was a special trip for me this year.  The oil spill in the Gulf postponed indefinitely a planned excursion to the Flower Gardens as part of the Gulf of Mexico Foundation’s “Down Yonder Out Yonder” teachers workshop.  I was destined to have a dive season go by without a single dive.

The sign in front of Copeland’s attracted my attention in mid August.  “Dive the Texas Clipper room for 12.” A few days later it was “room for 4.”  It was time to act or I would be left out of an opportunity to dive on a site I had never seen before. 

August 28, 2010 dawned with a few isolated showers, light winds, and one to three foot seas.  One half mile from the jetties of South Padre Island, the green water turned a deep clear blue.  I knew it was going to be a good day.  Arriving at the buoy marking the dive sight, the dive masters attached a bow line to the wreck to maintain our position and a down line the Texas Clipper amidships.  We could see the ship through the clear blue waters from the deck of the dive boat.

The Texas Clipper was Texas A &M’s maritime training ship for a number of years, but was built as an armed troop ship during WWII.  She brought back wounded Marines from Iwo Jima, an extremely bloody battle in the Pacific.  Three or four years ago the Clipper was sunk as an artificial reef seventeen miles east of South Padre Island.  She rests on her port side in about 130 feet of water.  The ship is lined up on a heading of 150 degrees. 

Fouling organisms have attached to the steel forming the base of the food web.  Spiny sea urchins are common indicating a good supply of algae.  There were spectacular schools of lookdowns, small amber jacks and snapper.  Hidden in portholes and passageways, queen and ocean trigger fish and the beautiful queen angels fed on encrusting organisms.  Huge sting rays cruised the outer hull and shared space with the divers.  There was a thermocline about eighty feet down on the ship that brought a slight upwelling current from below.  My dives were awesome.   My dive buddies were Jim and Sandra Copeland.  Our paced was relaxed.  This was a good dive experience.  I strongly recommend this trip.

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