I was greeted at the airport by Terrence Tysall, president and founder of the Cambrian Foundation and Artie the summer intern coordinator, with a “Kate Cambrian Foundation” sign. That was a surprise!! After drinking a Starbucks coffee with a shot of espresso I was finally awake enough to keep up with Terrence’s and Artie’s quick sarcasm. We drove back to Cambrian headquarters to meet five more college interns, James, Lee, Paul, Tim, and Josh, and Amy Giannotti who is the VP of Science and Research and Educational Director for the Foundation. After the introductions they took me to see my first Florida Spring.
Wekiva Spring water is beautiful and crystal clear. Terrence and Artie showed me three of their test sites there where they take daily water samples. Members of the Cambrian foundation were actually the first and only people to be granted government permission to dive there, on the basis that NASA is interested in their data and sample collection. The water has been tracked to filter through the ground for 27 years before upwelling into the springs, so what we put into the ground today is feared to severely harm the system in the future.
Once we got back to Terrence’s house, we organized and cleaned out the Cambrian Foundation dive locker. After that, Terrence taught us how to O2 clean, fill, and analyze a tank firsthand-not something that I could do in a dive shop, or even in the nitrox class! I used a metal broom-like whip on a shaft attached to a power drill to clean the rust buildup off the inside of the tank. After that, I turned the tank upside down, banged out the rust, and stuck a low pressure hose into the opening to blow out extra particles. The tank is now O2 cleaned! Artie and I screwed the valve on, and we affixed special Cambrian foundation special mix, nitrox stickers, or VIP stickers on. After that we filled the tank using the cascade filling method and with a little bit of air in the tank, we were able to analyze the contents of the tanks.
Amy later invited everyone to her house for a welcome party, where we had delicious brownies and fudge sauce, and watched Shrek. This has got to be the epitome of an awesome diving internship…life just can’t seem to get any better! [but wait, it does…]