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Bates Barge

The Bates Barge is named for Ray Bates, who found it while searching for the Holmes.  We "re-discovered" it after the coordinates were lost in the loran/GPS conversion.  This wreck is of an un-powered steel decked barge roughly 100 ft. in length.  It's rectangular in shape, with the flat bow sloping into a flat bottom and a square stern.  The deck is almost completely featureless, with the expected cleats and bitts around the edge and relatively small openings to the interior running down the center of the deck.  The deck is so flat that when Jack Ahern and I went down to tie in a mooring line, Jack thought we had missed the wreck entirely and were sitting on the bottom while in fact the weight had landed square on the deck in the middle of the wreck.

The wreck is upright and intact on the bottom in about 170 FSW with only minor damage to a small portion of the deck on the port side.  It's not exactly a fascinating dive, but in my opinion better than the Poling bow (I'm not biased or anything).  Penetration is easy, but the small number of hatches should make one cautious about marking the exit point with a strobe and maybe using a reel.  The interior seems free from dividers and completely empty, but no one went too far from the hatch.

We've only had one dive on this one before moving on to other more interesting wrecks, but it's probably worth a second one at some point.