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.