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.