Meet the Gypsy Blood

The Gypsy Blood Dive boat has been chartering divers to New Jersey wrecks since 2003.

The Captains


Captain Jim

Captain Jim began his diving career while on Honeymoon in Hawaii with his wife Colleen. At the time he didn’t even realize he lived in an area with more natural wrecks than anywhere else. He continued his training and dove on boats like the Seeker, Wahoo, Outlaw, Wreck Valley and the Venture III. He took every opportunity to learn and started crewing on the Gypsy Blood the day she was finished. He worked hard and finally decided he wanted to become a Captain and secured his USCG Captain’s License. In 2007, previous owner and Captain Anthony Pessolano gave him the keys to the boat and Jim has been at it ever since doing what he loves to do, taking divers out to their favorite dive sites in the northeast and even getting in a few dives of his own from time to time.


Captain BUD

My passion for boats and water began at the age of 7. My father owned a boat and I roamed around docks and boats, it was fun to be a marina rat. I learned from those experiences and at the age of 10 I owned an 8-foot Pram small outboard. Curiosity and love for water led me to scuba diving. In 1995 I got certified and in 2001 earned my Dive Master Certification and began crewing on the Diversion II. Upon retiring from Army I earned my Captain’s License in April 2017.

The Crew


Shawn Sweeney

Shawn is the Gypsy’s most senior Crew member and has been with the Gypsy Blood since 2003. Shawn is well known in the dive community for his experience and knowledge of New Jersey diving. To his credit he dove the Andrea Doria three times. When not diving, Shawn can be found shooting pool, throwing darts or organizing late-night NYC trips to McSorley’s for the Captain and Crew. It’s always a good day when Shawn’s on deck.

Favorite wreck: the stolt dagali because of it’s history

Setup: Inspiration Rebreather

Joe RUsin

Joe was introduced to scuba diving in 2005 on a trip to Belize and got certified in St. Croix a short time after. Living so close to the Shore he then became obsessed and has been an avid wreck diver ever since. Over the years he has continued his scuba training and certifications to include Technical, Trimix and most recently ReVo Rebreather. He began crewing on the Gypsy Blood in 2015. Joe has become quite good at spearfishing and wrestling lobsters out of tight spaces. When he’s not diving (who are we kidding, he’s always diving) but on the surface you can can find him out with friends probably talking about diving or grabbing a drink at the local brewery with his dive buddies

Favorite wreck: The r.p. resor because it always seems to have great viz and interesting marine life

Setup: ReVo Rebreather

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Harry Maisch IV

Harry has been crewing aboard the Gypsy Blood for over ten years and enjoys diving on many New Jersey shipwrecks. In particular, Harry frequents wrecks that have unique histories and may yield artifacts. In addition to diving, Harry received his Ph.D. in Earth and Environmental Science with a focus in Paleontology and enjoys teaching undergraduate college students and researching fossil sharks and fish.

Favorite Wreck: The S.S. Delaware (1880-1898) where he recovered the bow bell in October 2010

Setup: open circuit


John Perozzi Jr. aka: “Perozzi”

John started scuba diving in 1986. In subsequent years he’s added Advanced Diver, Rescue Diver, Wreck Diver, Deep Diver and Nitrox Diver Certifications.  In 2000, he received his Divemaster Certification and has been working as a Divemaster on numerous Jersey dive boats since.  He joined the Gypsy Blood Crew in 2013.  In 2015, he passed the Coast Guard Captain’s Course and holds a 50-ton Master Captain’s License.  Along with diving extensively off of New Jersey, Perozzi has dove in many places around the world including Truk Lagoon, Guam, Bora Bora, Rangiroa, the Philippines, Palau, Thailand and multiple areas of the Caribbean and the Southern United States. To date, Perozzi has logged over 2000 dives.

Setup: open circuit


Dominic Borelli

Growing up I have always liked being in the water and had an uncle that was a commercial fishing boat captain and heard stories about being on the ocean. So when I discovered scuba diving I decided to give it a try and loved it. I've now been diving almost 21 years and have been an instructor for nine years. I was a customer on the Gypsy Blood for a few years and 2019 will be my first year working as a Crew member.

I have too many favorite places to list but one of my favorites is Cozumel, Mexico.

 When I'm not diving I like spending time with friends, my dog and working on my artwork.

favorite wreck: either the Stolt dagali or u.s.s. AlgoL because I like to look for treasurers/artifacts and lobsters

Setup: open circuit - some gear includes Atomic, DUI, Dive Rite, Zeagle, Oceanic and Shearwater


Kera Luckhardt

Howdy All! I come from a non-diving family but after seeing a puffer fish puff I was captivated and decided to learn how to dive in 1997 at the age of 14. According to email records I began crewing on the Gypsy Blood in 2009, but Megalodon was reportedly still in the ocean back then. My favorite place to dive has always been off the coast of New Jersey, right where the Gypsy Blood takes you to. The ecosystem is in the mid-Atlantic is in excellent condition and the wrecks and fish are just beautiful. My favorite wreck is anywhere that is in the water … I’m not picky here. When I’m not diving I can probably be found doing a number of other things. By day I am a high school biology torturer … oh wait biology “teacher” at Voorhees High School … GO VIKES! My other hobbies include walking my dogs, going for hikes, snowboarding, swimming, and spending time at the gym picking up and putting down heavy things.

Setup: open circuit

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Steven CorEy

What got me hooked on diving was simply my first ocean dive on the Stolt off of the famous Gypsy Blood. This is my second season crewing on the Blood. When not searching for dinner with a spear or my hands, you will find me digging in the sand or popping out of holes in the wreck for those awesome artifacts that the Captain will be able to tell you exactly what it is and where it came from on the wreck with no questions asked!

favorite wreck: the Stolt dagali

Setup: Open Circuit (but considering rebreather)

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John Orecchio aka: johnny “one fin”

John One Fin has been SCUBA diving since 1978 and became a PADI Divemaster in 2004. He began technical diving in 2012 and earned his Trimix Certification in 2018. John has been exploring the wrecks off New Jersey since the mid-90’s and became a Gypsy Blood Crew Member in 2012. Although he loves New Jersey wreck diving his most unforgettable dives were in Truk Lagoon. John enjoys hunting for artifacts and spearfishing and prefers underwater photography when warm water diving on vacation. When he’s not underwater John enjoys skiing, target shooting and bicycling. A New Jersey native, John currently resides in Jersey.

favorite wreck: the Stolt dagali & The tolten

Setup: Open Circuit (but considering rebreather)

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Larry Dolan

Larry has been a certified diver since 1999, earning his Padi Divemaster and DSD Leader Certificates before advancing into Technical Diving.  Moving from diving the clearer waters and shipwrecks of the Carolinas to the deeper and darker wrecks of the Northern Atlantic in the early 2000’s, Larry continued into more advanced training over the years to include Advanced Nitrox, Decompression and Trimix through TDI.

While having had the opportunity to dive amazing sites across the globe from Truk Lagoon (Chuuk/Micronesia) to the Galapagos, it’s the wrecks off the coast of New Jersey like the Lillian, the Ayuruoca (Oil Wreck) and the Arundo that still bring a smile, eager anticipation and excitement when they make the dive schedule for the year.  Fresh lobsters, scallops and fish are frequently on the menu after a dive and the occasional piece of brass or other interesting artifacts will be brought up as well as a souvenir for yet another fun day at sea. 

favorite wreck: the Ayuruoca (oil wreck) & The arundo

Setup: Open Circuit


April Manzanares

April began her dive life in 2010. Rock climbing was always her passion and sport of choice before one day while walking across her climbing gym she spotted a guy off to the corner sitting behind a desk with a sign saying “Learn To Dive”. She’s been hooked ever since. Immediately following, some of her training included obtaining Wreck, Deep, Stress & Rescue, Divemaster, Advanced Recreational Trimix and Assistant Instructor Certifications. She has also worked as a Rescue Diver for Amphibious Medics working the Spartan Races, Tough Mudder and World’s Toughest Mudder events. April has been diving for years off the south shore of Long Island (where she currently lives) and there crewed on the Lockness, Tempest, and Seahawk. Wanting to explore new ocean territory, she came to New Jersey to visit the wrecks and has been Gypsy Blood Crew since 2016. Some of her favorite dive sites are the U.S.S. San Diego, the U.S.S. Bass, the U853, R.P. Resor and the U.S.S. S5, tho her most memorable was when she first started and did her very first 120+’ dive on the U.S.N.S. Hoyt S. Vandenberg. When not diving April enjoys bouncing around Manhattan, quiet nights cooking at home, and jumping on a plane to anywhere.

favorite wreck: Anywhere she can hunt for treasurE but her Most memorable was The u.s.n.s. hoyt s. vandenberg

Setup: Open Circuit


Jeremiah Hupka

Jeremiah fell in love with diving on a trip to Hawaii over ten years ago and has been a devoted diver ever since. The serene quiet found just beneath the water's surface and bringing home delicious sea creatures are what Jeremiah finds most appealing about diving. When not on the boat, Jeremiah enjoys spending time with his wife with on their farm.

Setup: Revo Rebreather


Mark Russomanno

Mark began his dive career in 1982 and became a NAUI Instructor in 2005.  He is currently a Technical and Cave Diver diving a Megalodon CCR. Mark has been crewing on New Jersey Boats since 1989 and started crewing for Jim on the Gypsy Blood since 2015.  When out of the water you can find Mark working on his Bocce Ball.

My favorite wreck?! What can I say, I just like water.  I could not have found such a fun Captain and Crew to be a part of.  We always have fun on the boat. 

Setup: MegAlOdon Rebreather

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Bill Aberle

Leisure hobbies and skills include swimming, diving, being a PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer, SSI Instructor, and Emergency First Response Instructor. No longer teaching, retired from that also.

I love diving on wrecks the best. It always makes me feel like I get to look into history. Every wreck in the ocean has a story behind it. Reading about them is always a thrill but then being able to dive and touch them makes it all come alive. I have made hundreds of dives on wrecks in the Caribbean, Pacific and Atlantic.

Some of the places I have been diving on wrecks are Aruba, Australia,  Bonaire, Bahamas, Barbados, Hawaii and Virgin Islands but my all time favorites are still Wreck Valley off the coast here in the northeast and the graveyard of the Atlantic off the Carolinas.

Setup: open circuit

Profession: retired (age 74)


Greg Ombalski

Water sports, history, exploration and photography have always been passions for Greg. Becoming a PADI Open Water Diver in 2003 was the opportunity to bring it all together. Moving quickly though his training, Greg achieved Wreck, Rescue and Divemaster Certifications by 2008.  Not long after receiving his Divemaster Certification he was invited to crew on the Gypsy Blood.  Crew duties and the need to extend his bottom time led Greg to his Technical Certifications.  This has opened up more wrecks to explore for longer periods of time.

Northeast diving offers Greg a look at marine history outside the textbooks. The artifacts and fresh seafood are rewarding too! As an avid photographer, dive travel has taken Greg and his camera equipment through the Caribbean, Central America, Galapagos, Truk Lagoon, New Zealand, with many more great adventures yet to be mapped out.

Along with helping others, Greg enjoys the camaraderie aboard the Gypsy Blood. He looks forward to seeing you on your next dive.

Favorite wreck: the Arundo, Great Isaac & Stolt dagali

Favorite Destination Dive: Truk Lagoon

Setup: open circuit

Profession: Director of Maintenance - Corporate Jet

Hobbies outside of diving: Racing