My first task as the intern was to get my advanced dive certification. I worked with Rick Simon, a past intern and an excellent diver. He owns Manta Industries, Shoreline Diving and a farm. I met Rick at a dive site called Ft. Wetherill in Rhode Island. This site is all too familiar to me. I’ve done a few dives here before including the New England Aquarium dive club’s fish hunt, and I’ve gotten to know the sight pretty well. One thing about this sight is that it has pretty bad visibility most of the dives I’ve done have been 2-6ft vis, so pretty bad, but that makes for great low vis training! We started the dive on the left side of the cove going along the wall of the short peninsula jetting off from the parking lot. We started the dive heading down to 60ft, I measured my psi and depth as we went so I could figure out my breathing rate. Rick had me practice my skills as we went. For having such bad vis I still really like Ft. Wetherill because of the amount of interesting life that lives here. Spider crabs flare their claws as we swim by, northern star corals line the wall sucking up any of the plankton in the water, and cunner swim around us. After completing the dive we do a surface interval and head back in, completing my low vis training.
The next day I trained with Vin Malkoski, a Dive Safety Officier and senior biologist at the Department of Mass. Fisheries. Vin and I decided to head to Back Beach in Rockport, Ma. to do my navigation training. Back Beach was absolutely beautiful, glass water, perfect vis. Vin briefed me on the training that I would be doing, and we geared up and headed into the water. Vin placed a marker buoy that would be our starting and ending location. I first did compus work, starting with a straight line out from the buoy and back, then a box, and then a triangle. Passed all with flying colors. Then came the complex box, an odd misshapen rectangle. I didn’t do as well with that, after three tries, a surface interval, and two more tries I finally got it. The only thing I could think of was that the flounders watching were laughing at me fumbling around with my compass, turning it back and forth trying to find my heading. We did a few search and rescue patterns and headed back in.
The next day I again worked with Rick on my nitrox training. We met at Divers Cove a shop in RI, where I did the classroom part of the nitrox training. We analyzed a few tanks and headed to the sea. We went to DeBois beach to do an evening dive on nitrox. The dive was nice, pretty low vis, but only a few feet into the water we saw a burrfish, it came up from the Caribbean on the gulf stream. Armies of spider crabs lined the sea floor all crawling along. A few horseshoe crabs sat amongst the mass of crabs, including the biggest horseshoe crab I have ever seen, it must have been about a foot and a half across. Overall, the dive was really nice and a site that I would love to go back to.
With my limited vis/ night dive, navigation, and nitrox done all that was left was to do a deep dive, which I plan to do on my upcoming trip to Roatan for the Digital Shootout.