We started our day off at the Woods Hole Aquarium , which only has New England species in it. From there we walked over to the Alvin Museum and George told me all about Alvin and many other interesting facts. I can not believe all of the information that George knows about so many topics.
Next we met up with Mr. Terry Rioux, who is the head of diving at Woods Hole. He showed us all around his diving pier and his diving locker. He then showed us their machine shop. I guess the skies the limit there, they can build almost anything. We went out to lunch and of course talked about our favorite topic……..diving. We went over to the eel pond to relax for awhile. All to soon it was time to head home. As I began my drive home it suddenly hit me. It was all over.
But is it really over or just the beginning? I have met so many people over the past few months and they have each inspired me and shaped my future in their own way. There are so many options that I had never considered before beginning my adventure as the 2005 Frank Scalli Intern. It was truly an honor to be chosen. I hope that I will have the opportunity to give back what has been given to me. I especially thank the Boston Sea Rovers, who have made this dream a reality.
I met up with George in the Orleans Stop and Shop parking lot. I followed him back to his house. We then donned our bathing suit and booties and headed for the beach in search of horseshoe crabs. After collecting a few crabs and searching the beach for other specimens we headed back to his house to draw blood from the crabs. After drawing the blood we dissected a few conchs and George explained the different parts and their uses. I never knew how important horseshoe crab blood was to the medical field. We released our horseshoe crab back into the water from which it had come from.
Next we headed to grab a well deserved dinner. George and I talked about what I might like to do in the future and he told me about the class he teaches at Harvard. We retired for the night because the next day would be busy at Woods Hole.
Christel sent me to work with the Scallop people from SMAST. They were going to be preparing a scallop boat to be used as a research vessel for a scallop study. We drove over to the boat and to my amazement they had already carried in all of the gear and all we had to do was wire it in. There were more T.V. monitors and cameras then you can imagine. We rigged up what to me looked like a tripod about five feet tall and five feet wide. Mounted on the tripod was lights and cameras. This was then dropped on the bottom of the ocean to count the number of scallops. We went out and grabbed lunch then returned to their lab. I was shown some videos of prior scallop projects. I then surprised Vin by showing up at Mass Marine Fisheries to say hello. From here I headed to home.
We woke up early and loaded the boat for the day’s adventure. Today’s crew consisted of Eric Takakjian, Lori Takakjian, Tom Mulloy, Dave Morton, Pat Morton, Heather Knowles and Dave Caldwell. We headed out to the wreck site. This was an unknown wreck site. I was the safety diver for the day. Dave and Pat headed into the water. I went in half an hour later while they were doing their deco stop to collect their extra stage bottles and to see if they needed anything. After bringing up their stage bottles I exited the water and helped Dave and Heather and Eric suit up. They entered the water and I went in a half hour after they did to repeat my task of collecting stage bottles. We got a little side tracked after the dive with another project. Because of this we were unable to do a second dive. We headed for shore and quickly unloaded the boat. We all said our goodbyes and headed for home. As soon as it had begun my adventure with the Quest were over.
I drove to New Bedford, Mass where I met up with Christel. She is one of the main people in charge of the lobster tagging program at SMAST. We gathered our dive gear First we had a briefing on the days activities. After which we loaded our dive gear into our vehicles and headed to go launch the inflatable. When we got to the inflatable we loaded all our tanks and heavy dive equipment into it. Since we could not all fit into the inflatable we headed to the trail head to begin our hike to the beach with the rest of the dive equipment. We set up our dive gear on the beach and waited for the inflatable to arrive. Once it arrived we unloaded all of the gear and set up transit lines in the water. We would swim these lines, picking up lobsters along the way. We then brought them back to shore and tagged them. After a long day of diving and tagging we released the lobsters and began our trek back home.
I tried to spot Eric Takakjian’s boat in the marina with out any luck. Finally I saw Dave and Pat’s truck. They led me through a maze of side streets to Eric’s boat, Quest. Eric gave me a quick tour of Quest and then we started loading up all the dive gear. Next I met every one who was going out that day of course the boat was captained by Eric and his wife Lori, then there was Steve Scheur, Tom Mulloy, and what would be a dive trip without Dave and Pat?? We motored over to the wreck which was in about 250 fsw so I was acting as a safety diver and was logging divers in and out on the dive board.
After a very successful dive we head to the wreck of the Pinthis. The Pinthis sits in 110 feet of water Dave, Pat, and I were going to tie in. We suited up and got ready. Eric dropped the down wait perfectly. We splashed and descended towards the wreck. Dave led the way followed by Pat then me. We entered through the bow and swam all the way through her to the stern. We swam back to the anchor line on the out side of the hull. The vis was great and so were the dive buddies.
We came up from the dive with flat calm seas and a sun high over our heads. I unsuited and helped every one else get ready to dive. We steamed back to shore where we were met by Dave and Heather. We all went back to Tom’s house to relax before we went out to diner. After diner we called it a night.
I met Lee and Gary at his boat at 5 a.m. sharp to leave for the U-853. Although it was not my first time going there it is a nice wreck and I was looking forward to my dive. It was going to be a 2 hour run time so I settled down in a bunk and took a nap. When I awoke there was a 2 foot chop and we were over the wreck. Lee and I went down first and went all around the sub. The vis wasn’t the best I have seen on the wreck, but it was still good. We where on the mooring on the conning tower. Soon we were joined on the wreck by 3 other divers on the charter. Next Lee and I made our ascent, we did our stops and climbed back on the boat. We did an hour surface interval and then splashed into the water again. This time we went over the side of the sub and swam around, taking a look at the engine room before we made our ascent. We steamed in and unloaded the boat. Before I knew it I was on my way home.
I woke up early to meet Lee and Katy, the runner-up of the internship, to go dive at James Town. Once there we suited up and headed in. The water was nice and refreshing. Lee, Kate and I entered the water with Kate carrying the dive flag so Lee could work with me. He had this nice booklet of all these fun tasks for me to do. We went over more skills and drills and headed up to take a break. During the break Kate switched out her tanks. On our second dive we went out to see what life we could find. We found a lot of small lobsters and skates along with crabs and one nice striper. We made our way to shore and called it a day. Lee gave me instructions in how to get to Gary’s boat, Atlantis, in New London, where we would be diving the next day. He than gave me the bad news, I had to be there at 5 a.m.. So I head home and called it an early day.
Lee and I met up in Essex to go over my course work for advanced nitrox. After about an hour of that we made our way to Moodis, CT to do our first dive in a lake…or was it a pond? I can’t decide. When we entered the water I sunk knee deep in muck. It wasn’t the nicest water I had been in, but it wasn’t the worst either. We started out just swimming around with Lee checking my buoyancy. We were picking up golf balls. Then we did drills for a while until we found a deeper spot to do lift bag work. I practiced my free floating deco and trading stage bottles back and forth with Lee. Next we did a surface interval and went back down for another exciting dive.
Moodis Lake is like most other lakes I have been in. It has a mucky bottom with some grass here and there and numerous other things. We swam around doing more skill work and trading stage bottles and then I completed my second dive for the class. We thanked the guy who let us use his backyard to dive off of and I made my way home.
I awoke to storms, not the sound you want to wake up to on your last day of diving. However, in Florida, if you don’t like the weather wait five minutes and it will change. It did not get to the beautiful blue skies however it did clear enough for us to go out. I did my last dive on the Earl King which they allowed me to just swim around and take pictures. To eagle rays swam over the wreck which was pretty cool. I said my good-byes to the wreck and came up. I sat out the next dive due to the fact that I was flying out early the next morning.
While I was on topside watch, some storms started brewing. I had to call in the divers. We headed back to the dock and back to Brenda’s house for a home cooked meal by her and her husband Tom. I can not thank them enough for all they have done for me this week along with everyone else at Key Biscayne National Park. I have met so many wonderful people I can not begin to name them all.
On our way out to the wreck sight I saw a boat grounded on one of the reefs. To the Park Service this is a very big deal. We had to call it in and wait until someone came to the sight and took care of the reef. Today I worked with Brenda trying to figure out where the debris field ended. In the beginning of our dive we thought we had located the bow, which has not yet been found. The wreck is very broken up and lies in many pieces on the bottom. What was neat about this part of the sight is that it had a lot of intact artifacts laying everywhere. It also amazed me how much of a reef could grow over a wreck.
On my second dive I did a little bit more searching in the debris field and then went to finish drawing my piece of the wreckage. We headed in, chased by our daily storms and attempted not to get drenched. Back at the dive locker we filled tanks and then Mark made the call that we would stay in for the evening and put together the map of the wreck
We loaded up the boat to head back out to Earl King. We stopped at Elliot Key to pick up someone who was joining us for the day. When we got to the sight of the Earl King we could see the wreck thirty feet below us. I spent most of my day drawing a new piece of wreckage. I saw my first octopus on this dive. The sea life in Florida is very cool. Unlike New England the fish have many vibrant colors. On my second dive I trilated in my piece of wreckage off the baseline. On the way back to the dock we stopped at another wreck called the China Wreck. All they know about the wreck is that it has a lot of china on it. They have yet to identify the name of the vessel. That night we went into the Keys for dinner.
The team went to Earl King led by Dave today. We made our assault upon the wreck. My assignment was to draw a new piece of it. When I was finished I was stolen to be a dummy end (I had to hold the end of a tape measure) during my second dive to help someone else who was mapping the wreck out. The water was flat calm and it was a great day. We flew back into shore getting chased by the 3 p.m. daily storm. The real adventure is when we tried to go to diner they closed the road we were on and we where stuck both ways. It took awhile but we made it to the restaurant, however it was closed, needless to say it was a rough night. Finally we found an open restaurant and got some food. Once back at the condo Jon, my roommate, and I watched movies and called it a night.
Team C Mar, Brenda, Dave and I went to the wreck the Earl King, which we will be mapping this week. Brenda gave me a mapping lesson on the way to the site and explained the basics to me. As I slid into the 90 degree surface water I knew it was going to be a great day. I could see the whole wreck lying 20 feet below me. Brenda gave me a quick orientation to the wreck and then I stared making a scale drawing of the debris outside of the wreck. You have to draw everything to scale. It was quite difficult attempting to measure everything and draw it while underwater. After a day in the field we all went out to eat and then I called it a day because I was exhausted after a day working hard underwater.
Brenda picked me up and I went to meet Richard at the head diving office in the park. I have to get what they call a blue card so I can dive with the national park service. We did a 1/2 mile swim treading water with 5 lb weights in our hands, over our head. Now this is what I call fun stuff. We then did ditch and dawn and other water skills. I am proud to say that I passed with flying colors. After we got back to the dock I hooked up with Tom, Brenda’s husband, who runs all the charter boats. We went out in the afternoon on a snorkeling trip to shark reef. Here the water is about 88 degrees. It is so very warm and hot outside that I have to remind myself to drink extra fluids so that I do not get hydrated. After the snorkeling Brenda and the group and I went out for dinner.
Before I knew it Amy and Paul where over cooking brekfast for every one. We were all having a good time then 10 a.m. rolled around and I had to leave. It was sad, I had a lot of fun over the last 2 weeks the Cambrian Foundation gang are great people and I know I will be working with them in the future. After saying my goodbyes me Amy and their dog Oliver headed to the airport. My good luck with airports continued because it was a mob scene. There were people everywhere I turned. After navigating through that I made my way to the gate. My flight was very short, but I did meet some very nice girls going to play a soft ball tournament.
I found Tom and his wife Brenda, who I will be working with this week. After that they took me to the grocery store so I could grab much needed supplies for the week. Next I settled into my condo and met my roommate. Finally I got an invite to diner with Carl Linteau, Pat Smith, and Mark Nordor, who volunteer with the park service. They are divers who do archeological projects.They flew in from all over the country. After a very long night they dropped me back off and Jon, my newest roommate, and I hung out and then I called it a night.
We started off the day finishing up a few final things that need cleaning. When we were done Josh Boz and I went out for lunch. I then sadly started packing up all my cloths and dive gear. I didn’t remember bringing this much stuff. That night Amy’s parents came home and we celebrated her moms birthday with a party. Amy’s husband Paul cooked us a great dinner while Amy’s parents told us all about their cross country road trip. It sounded very cool. We all just hung around and talked for the rest of the night.
We woke up bright and early, 430 a.m., to get down to the Giant Stride captained by Captain Larry. We all drove down with Amy, I fell asleep when we where at a truck stop and Amy thought she left me there. I guess you had to be there, but I thought it was pretty funny. I am not sure if Amy saw the humor in the situation.
Before I knew it, we were there and Terrence had already loaded our tanks for us. The first sight we dove was known as Horse Shoe. It was neat. We saw sea turtles and many other tropical fish. I saw a lot of the same fish that are in the Giant Ocean Tank in the New England Aquarium. During our surface interval Captain Larry cut up a pineapple for us. Some people on the boat were feeling a little under the weather. We decided to pretend we were getting sick over the side of the boat.
The second dive site was the Fish Bowl. Woody, Boz, and Josh where loving every minute of the dive. They were chasing after fish and turtles. It was very cool to see their excitement as they experienced one of their first ocean dives. I am amazed at how fast time is flying by. It seems like we just got there and then the day was coming to a close. We headed back for home and went out for lunch. After lunch we unpacked, washed and dried the gear.
At night Paul, Amy’s husband, made us diner and we aid goodbye to Terrence. He had to leave for OCS. Getting ready for bed I couldn’t help but think about all the wonderful people I have met and had the privilege of diving with. It seems like the summer is just flying by.
We started to clean up Amy’s parents house where we have been staying because they are coming home soon. Our goal is to have the house spotless, not an easy chore to say the least. Next we packed up Terence’s truck with all of our dive gear because he is going to bring it all down to the boat we will be going out on tomorrow. The plan is for Boz, Woody, Josh, Amy and I to do some drift diving. After that we sat around the house and watched movies till we realized that we should go to bead because we had to be up early the next morning.
We went to Blue Springs so Terrance could work with Josh, Woody and Boz on their open water certification. After they did two dives Terrence and I did a cave dive on sight. This dive was through a fisher in the bottom of the spring. We descended 120 feet deep and swam about 140 feet into the end. At the end the cave becomes a first magnitude spring. This mean it puts out 64 million gallons of water a day. Needless to say that’s a lot of water. Nobody has ever made it past the part called the cork rock alive. We stopped there and made our assent. We went to the dive shop to get a whole lot of tanks filled and then went out for dinner and chilled at the house and just relaxed.
The team went to Rock Spring to collect samples. Terrence led the way followed by Renee, Carl, and I. Our mission as we dove into the cave was to collect the first set of samples. While they had warned me about the sharp rock and mega flow, no one had mentioned how low and tight it was going to be. There were a few spots that were so low I was not sure I was going to make it through. The team then exited the cave and brought the samples up.
Terrence and Renee went the furthest back from the stations and Carl and I went to go collect different cave organisms. This was not an easy task in the high flow. I ended up having to crawl on my stomach and push on the cave sealing with one foot to get by without damaging the cave. This was one of the most beautiful caves I had ever seen. The neat thing about this cave is that it is not open to the public. There are fossils and undamaged cave everywhere. Amazingly it still has the original survey lines in it. When we exited the cave we were met by a lot of curious people. This is mainly due to the fact that the cave is right next to a big swimming hole. I do not think the life guards liked us to much. After that we went and tried to get tanks filled but the dive shop was closed.
We went back to the house for a well need rest and said good-by to Carl as this was his last day with us. The project came to an end as soon as it began. We had a big debriefing meeting and called it a day.
The team headed to Sanlando Spring to gather more research data. The cave team consisted of Terrence, Renee, and Carl. Since this cave is very low it can not be dove with back mount tanks, instead it is a side mount cave. My job was to sit by the entrance and bring the samples up to the surface. This meant the divers did not have to squeeze through the hole each time to bring the samples to the surface. At the end Terrence took me into the cavern section, it was very tough getting there due to the small hole and having to fight the current to get in. From there the team went out to a late lunch/early dinner. Every restaurant we tried to go to was closed. Finally we found a place that was open. After dinner we went back to the house to get ready for the next days events.
Some places God doesn’t mean for man to go. Today Terrence, Carl, and Rene went into the no mount section of Wikwa Springs to gathers samples. iI you didn’t know, no mount diving is when you don’t wear any tanks because there is not enough room . This means that the diver has to push his or her tank ahead of them. I sat underwater just outside the small hole they squeezed themselves through and brought all the samples to the surface. Once I hit the surface I handed the samples to Amy. Some one is planning on using the samples to figure out how to get things to grow in a 0 light areas. Last but not least we all went to get tank fills and to get a bite to eat. We had our nightly briefing on the days activities and discussed the next days dives.
We got an early start to collect samples in DeLeon Springs. Terrence briefed me on the flow and our mission to collect 6 water samples. We suited up to venture into the cave. The entrance into the cave is a tube that has a tremendous amount of flow coming out of it. As we walked to the spring I could see the huge boiler of water coming out. We made our decent and hit the entrance of the tube. It was spewing out rocks and other things.Terrence made entering the tube look easy. When it was my turn I pulled myself into through the cave. Let me tell you this was a lot harder than Terrance made it look. I had to fight all the water coming at me.
Once through the entrance the flow got a little better. Since this cave is not open to the public it is very rarely dove which meant that every time our bubbles hit the sealing bacteria and silt fell. This caused what is known as a silt out. On our way out Terrence noticed a new passage no one had ever explored before. This was an exciting dive made even more exciting when we hit the surface and Terrence told me that of all the caves he dives this one is the worst one and that I had made my first advanced cave dive.
After my dive Josh Woody and Boz did their first open water dive in the spring. After all the days dives were done we headed back to the dive shop to get fills and do a debriefing meeting. The next stop was to a Friends of Wikiva meeting. Here one of Terrence’s neice presented her State winning science fair project on water flow in the springs. . At the meeting we met up with another member of the Cambrain teem, Carl Shreves. We all went out to dinner and then we called it a day.
We went to Terrence’s storage unit to get 40 or so tanks to go get filled and pick up other needed equipment for tomorrow’s big event. Later that night Terrence and I went through my gear. He made suggestions to streamline my setup. The evening ended with Amy making a great dinner and lots of fun conversation ;-}. Tomorrow there will be more cave work and preparation.
We spent the day at Terrence’s wife’s parent’s house so that he could use the pool with the other interns. This was not an easy task since we had to time the pool dives in-between the frequent rain storms. I did some book work for the courses I will be taking when I get back to Connecticut. During the remainder of the day we went and got the tanks filled and went over logistics for the project at hand.
Gill and I followed Terrence to the airport to pick up Josh , Woody and Boz. All three are other interns that I will be working with during my time at the Cambrian Foundation. After getting them settled we piled into the car and set off to meet a well known biologist. Of course Gill and I got lost on the way to meet the biologist.. That night I sat and watched Terrance start to teach Jon, Will and Boz their open water course. I was very impressed. He is a very good instructor probably the best.
Upon landing in Florida, I attempted to navigate through the airport to find my bags. Not an easy task, I might add. Luckily I met up with Amy and her husband Paul. Amy is the Cambrian Foundation president. Amy and Paul took me out to dinner with their daughter. During dinner I told them about my experiences thus far as the 2005 Frank Scalli intern. Shortly after dinner we met up with Terrence Tysall, one of the funniest men alive, also one of the best divers I have met, along with his friend Gill. Here is a piece of Terrence’s biography as it is listed on the Cambrian web site…it speaks for itself!
“Terrence is the Special Projects Director for the Foundation. Terry holds Instructor / Evaluator ratings with IANTD, NSS-CDS, SSI, TDI, PSA. He also sits on the Board of Directors for the Florida Speleological Researcher and the Advising board for the League of the New Worlds with Scott Carpenter and Clive Cussler. He has led multiple expeditions around the world including: The S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald, The Great Blue Hole of Belize, The Andrea Doria, The U.S.S. Atlanta, The U.S.S. Monitor Survey and numerous cave explorations.”
Can you guess what I started out the day with again? You got it, food prep. Today, however, I got to do the 10 o’clock dive, and scrub the tank. Sometimes I get side tracked and play with Murtle. She likes to be scrubbed with the scrub brush. After the dive it was off to the farmers market. This is where the Aquarium purchases the food for the fish and Murtle. Holly taught me proper etiquette for the farmers market. Rule number one, You don’t pick out what you get. Don’t even think about it. Rule number two, DON’T, I really mean it, DON’T touch anything. We hurried back for the 1:15 cleaning dive. The rest of the afternoon was spent doing general maintenance and cleaning. My time at the New England Aquarium came to an end to quickly. I enjoyed working with Holly and the many volunteers, to numerous to name. Thank you to all of them for making me one of the “Crew”.
I started off the day, of course, with food prep. It takes a small army to prepare the food. The aquarium depends on many dedicated volunteers to keep the tanks up and running. The ten o’clock feeding time rolled in before I knew it. It was my turn to feed Myrtle and keep her occupied. Her morning meal consists of protein and assorted produce. Top of the line produce I might add. After lunch Holly and I went to dip the last of the fish that she had collected on her last collecting trip. The day would not be complete without my daily scrub time. My mother only dreams that one day my room would be half this clean.
I started off this day with food prep again. It is amazing how much food 800 fish can eat in a day. Next Holly and I went to do the last stage of dipping with the new fish. We put the fish in cages and put them in the Giant Ocean Tank. This was done so the fish could get accumulated. Before I knew it, it was time for me to do the 1:15 dive. Each day there are four feeding dives and one cleaning dive. I will let you guess which dive I got to do………
You got it–the cleaning dive. I am not to keen about the sharks and the eels in the tank, however I am warming up to them. Holly said they have never bitten anyone on purpose. Makes me wonder how many so called “accidents” they had!!! In all seriousness the nurse shark and the sand tiger shark are very docile and wouldn’t harm anyone, unless provoked. In other words stay out of the way.
The day began with me learning how to prepare the food for the variety of different marine creatures living in the Giant Marine Tank. Then I got to feed Myrtle, a 600 pound sea turtle. I had to keep Myrtle occupied because she likes to harass the divers in the water. After doing some more cleaning and after feeding Myrtle again, it was my turn to dive in the tank. I suited up and headed in. I put to use my excellent scrubbing skills once again. This time I was playing with Myrtle.
Holly, Kate (2004 Frank Scalli Intern) and I went to go dip the fish collected over the winter. Dipping is when you put the fish in fresh water for four minutes to kill any bacteria. This was done to prepare the fish for entry into the Giant Marine Tank. Last but not least we cleaned up the kitchen and called it a day.
I started off my time at the New England Aquarium working with the penguins. In the morning I learned how to prepare their food. They eat better than most of us, only being served restaurant quality fish. I donned my wet suit and recorded everything that the penguins were fed on a clipboard.
I was handed a bucket and scrub brush and told to start scrubbing islands. “No really, what do you want me to do,” I said. Laughing they pointed me in the right direction and off I went. As I diligently scrubbed the islands as penguins nipped at my heals. Time passed quickly and it was time for the afternoon penguin feeding. I actually got to hand feed them. Soon it was clean up time in the food prep area. We scrubbed until the area was clean enough to eat off.
Before I knew it Jim and Pete were throwing me out of the car at the airport. It seems like only yesterday that I had arrived. Although it was only a week, I felt like I had known Jim and Pat a life time. They are wonderful people who open their home and their hearts to fellow divers. I learned so much and am inspired to continue and learn more about the field of underwater film making. I can’t thank them enough for all that they have done for me.
I learned going through airport security that there are those who walk among us those who have never seen a regulator before. These same mortals believe that regulators are a danger to others, especially those in flight. Any one who dares to take their regulators, dive computers, and other accessories, should be duly warned that it may take an hour or more to pass those diligent mortals who will attempt to inspect and dismantle this equipment in the name of passenger safety.
Of course when the wind blows it can’t last for one day it has to last for two. I decided to finish up my editing and assemble my first DVD ever, thanks to Pat’s help. Some of Jim and Pat’s friends arrived including Pete V. a friend from Connecticut. We did our daily tradition of laying around in the pool talking about diving.
We got blown out due to the weather. Since we couldn’t go diving we decided to go explore the Lake Heron Light Ship Museum. This is a light ship put on land and made into a museum. We explored every nook and cranny of the vessel. Next we went back to Jim and Pat’s house to work on my video. I never realized how labor intensive making a video was. I spent numerous hours assembling my footage.
As the Wildkat pulled up to the mooring on the Sport I was very surprised, I could see the wreck from the surface. It was amazing that while looking up from the bottom I could see Jim and Pat’s boat. I got the overwhelming urge to call my father and joke about the horrible visibility on the wrecks. He was not amused!!
Most of this wreck lies on its side. As I explored all the Sport had to offer, Pat took some footage of the wreck with Jims new camera. On the next wreck the Elisa H. Strong the visibility wasn’tthat great, maybe 20 ft, the water however, was a warm 60 degrees. A very nice relief from yesterday’s coldwater. Later, back at Jim and Pats house I started assembling my footage. With Pat’s guidance I know that I will pull togethera video that captures the amazing experience I have had this week.
As we drove out to the wreck in the hot 90 degree Michigan sun I could hardly contain my excitement, especially afteryesterdays great diving. Before I knew it we arrived atour destination in Jim’s boat, the “WildKat”. We were floating over the wreck of the New York. This ship sits in 120 ft of water, upright, mostly intact. As we where suiting up the heat almost over took me, but soon enough I was floating on the surface, camera in hand, waiting for Jim. As we descended we passed threw the thermocline. At 50 feet we slammed into frigid 38 degree water. As we hit the bottom I could see one of the ships predominant features….
The wreck still has half of its arch-up, which was difficult to see in the 20 foot visibility.While viewing one of the ships two portholes I was overcome by the cold, Jim and I made our accent. The next wreck we dove was the Colonel A.B. Williams. This ship sits in 90 ft of water. Despite the fact that this wooden ship is only semi intact its beauty and story drew me forward like a magnet. The ship’s bow was very elegant looking resting on the bottom of the lake. The excellent visibility on the wreck made me forget about the cold. Filming this ship allowed me to hone my underwater video skills. Later that night Jim got a big surprise, his new housing came for his high definition camera. I could be wrong, however, I think Jim spent all night setting it up to use the next day.
We gassed up the boat and took the 6.2 mile ride to the Mary Alice B. a 65.5 foot tug boat that sunk in 92 feet of water. Although I was told that the ship sits upright, fully intact on the bottom, I was not prepared for what I was soon to experience. Before I knew it we were over the wreck and suiting up. As we descended the wreck came into view at about 50 ft. Being from Connecticut I had never really seen a fully intact wreck with artifacts still in place. The only thing I could think of on the dive is how every thing was frozen in time.
The next site we dove on was the Regina it sits in 77 ft of water and sits turtle. This was a very cool wreck. In Connecticut, with all my prior wreck diving I have never seen rows of intact portholes still on ships. On this dive I also got my second experience shooting with Pat’s video camera. I give them a lot of credit, it’s not easy shooting video. Before I knew it Pat had me editing my footage and giving me pointers on how to improve my video footage. This most incredible day came to a close with me helping Jim fill tanks and get the boat ready for tomorrows dives.
On my way to the airport my mom commented, “Why is it that every other day of the week I can’t get you up, but if your going diving you’re up bright and early.” Hmmm…wonder why? While sitting waiting for my plane I realized that I’m trusting all my diving gear to the airport, scary thought. I hoped it would be there when I get to Detroit, and it was. The next thing I can remember was cooling off in Jim and Pat’s pool with some of their friend’s. Later that night both Jim and Pat taught me how to putogether their cameras.
When I met up with Dave and Pat in the parking lot of Stage Forte Park, I knew it was going to be an exciting day. From the first moment that I saw my new dry suit I was in awe. I still cannot believe that it is mine to use for the internship. During the Boston Sea Rovers 51st Clinic, when Faith fit my suit I had no idea how perfect it was going to be. Faith cut my neck and wrist seals so that my suit would fit like a glove. Next she showed me how to properly take care of a dry suit.
Vin and I then suited up for my first dive in my new suit and to check out all that Stage Forte Park had to offer. I was greeted when I got out of the water by Patrick Scalli who was there checking up on me. Patrick was pleased to know that all was going well. It was nice to get out of the water and still be totally dry. Soon after exiting the water, I changed out of my dry suit, and had the opportunity to enjoy lunch with the many volunteers and guests at the DUI DOG Days event.
I woke up with an excitement and a sadness that the weekend was coming to a close. The alarm clock was screaming and I knew if I didn’t get out of bed I would be late for Kate’s presentation. After hearing Kate’s presentation and seeing the high standards she has set I knew I had my work cut out for me to raise the bar even higher for next year. I went to see some more presentations then off to lunch with Dave and Pat Morton. We discussed the internship and most importantly diving. After getting fitted by Faith for a new DUI Dry Suit I didn’t think my day could get any better. Once again I was mistaken.
Before I left Pat and Dave asked me to stop up at the suite. When I arrived Dave emerged from the room and presented me with the dive gear I would be using during my internship. I couldn’t find the words to express what I was feeling. I slowly opened the bag Pat exclaimed that it was Christmas for me. As I packed my bags and prepared to leave I still could not get over the weekends events. The ride back to Connecticut went by quickly. Before I knew it I was back home to catch up on some well needed rest.
I woke up bright and early to get ready for the 51st Clinic. The presentations that I attended were outstanding. My only disappointment was that I could not be in two rooms at the same time. I took a quick break to go out to lunch with my friends from the Gillmen and Innerspace Explorers. I could not wait to get back to the Fairmont to attend the afternoon program. Before I knew what was happening I was back into my suit and heading to dinner with the Sea Rovers.
At dinner I sat with Ernie Brooks II on one side of me and Dave Morton on the other. The other people at my table were Kate Douglas, the 2004 Intern, Al Giddings, and Mike DeGruy. Looking around the table I could not believe the wealth of dive history and knowledge I was surrounded by. It seemed impossible but every event that I had attended seemed to out do the one before. I could not imagine how this evening could be any better. Little did I know what was in store for me that evening at the Film Festival.
Walking into the John Hancock Hall through the sea of people was incredible. I took my seat in the front row anticipating the events to come. Before I knew it Patrick Scalli was at the podium speaking about his father’s love of diving and desire to inspire young people to discover the underwater world. As I hung onto Pat’s every word I heard my cue and walked onto the stage. As I went to head back to my seat Dave Morton pulled me back stage and had me wait. Ernie Brooks II was next up to speak. I was so intent on listening to his message that I almost didn’t hear him call me onto the stage. He presented me with a copy of his book, inscribed with a personal message. His love of diving and compassion for people make him a truly remarkable person. He made an evening that was already special even more memorable.
The ride from Coventry Connecticut to Boston Massachusetts, while only two hours long, seemed to take forever. Navigating the Boston streets was no easy task. After finally locating the hotel, I took a moment to gather my thoughts and prepare for an extraordinary weekend. I had no idea what was in store for me. As I rushed into the Fairmont Copley Hotel, I was momentarily taken aback by my surroundings. I took my seat in COMS (Career Opportunities in Marine Sciences) and began my journey as the 2005 Frank Scalli Summer Intern.
Time seemed to fly by and the next thing I remember is getting ready for the Pre-Clinic reception. My heart was pounding the entire ride to Gamble Mansion. I must have had 500 names and faces swimming in my head. I don’t know what I would have done without Cynthia Butts as my evening guide. She introduced me to many of the distinguished Sea Rovers and divers in attendance that evening.
What stands out the most during the evening was meeting the Scalli family and hearing about Frank Scalli during the evening tribute. He was indeed a remarkable man who had an impact on both the diving and non-diving community. I was left overwhelmed and speechless, something that does not happen often, by all the wonderful people that I met that evening. It seemed to take forever to fall asleep that night as the days events played back in my head.