One more time! Connecticut: Part…5? I started the day at Ricky’s shop, helping Anthony assemble 100 junior reels. If nothing else, I’ve got the bowline knot down for the rest of my life! Once we finished, it was time for lunch, and then all three of us headed back to Bigelow Hollow State Park for some diving. While we were at lunch, Ricky helped me outline and plan our dive. So, once we were in the water I was in charge of where we were going, and Ricky was in charge of kicking up silt…I’ve decided that I don’t like silt, but I DO like my reel. Ricky helped me get to the sunken picnic table, I tied off my reel, and then we went exploring. After a little while we went back, and then Ricky had me perform a search for my “lost buddy.” (I found him!). Besides one of my buddies getting “lost” and randomly being “out of air,” the dive was really fun. We explored the bottom, fed fish with clams, and Ricky showed me how to inflate Anthony’s emergency buoy. I don’t think Anthony really appreciated that… but it was funny to see him use it as a floaty! 🙂 All in all, the dive went pretty well for my first time being semi-in charge of a dive. It was stressful for me, but the environment was extremely controlled, and I had been there before, so that helped calm me down. But, the cure is practice, practice, practice! And, I’m sure I will be getting plenty more of it this summer! 🙂
I’m beginning to think that I should just move to Connecticut! Today I met Ricky at Brownstone Quarry for another day of diving. Brownstone also doubles as a huge water park type attraction, with zip-lining, bouncy bounces (in the water) kayaking, and a whole ton of other fun stuff. But, set off to the side is a large area just for SCUBA divers! It was really pretty, but the water was FREEZING! I was SO thankful for my DUI drysuit, and HOOD <3 ! Ricky and I started to set-up our gear, but we were slightly delayed because I had to run back to my truck due to the fact that I sorta left a certain piece of equipment that was “slightly important” on my front seat in my excitement *cough* my regulator *cough* ….yeah..won’t be making THAT mistake twice. But anyways, after we were set-up and ready, into the water we went! We worked on reel handling, explored an old truck, and then started to work on my buoyancy. After the first dive was over, we took a quick break, discussed the pros and cons, decided on our next plan of action, switched our tanks, and headed back in for round two. My buoyancy was TEN TIMES BETTER! Ricky had me practice hovering a foot above this one platform, and by the end of the dive, I could swim all around the platform at the same level! Then we went off to a sunken boat, and I kept my buoyancy almost the entire time! I’m not perfect by any means, but I’m getting markedly better every time! I can’t wait to see what I will be like by the end of the summer!
And back to Connecticut we go! Today was more of a “for fun” trip. I headed back to Diver’s Cove for their 30th Anniversary Event. It was kind of like a big open house. There was food, a couple booths, and a bunch of people. Rick had a booth set up for Manta Industries, and was co-hosting everything with Diver’s Cove. At one point Rick gave me an entire, behind the scenes, tour of Ed’s shop, and I got to see where everything happens. Ed and Diver’s Cove are known for their drysuit repairs, and I got to see where it was all done. Ed also has a very impressive collection of old dive gear. It’s like “The Museum of SCUBA” back there! It was really cool to see it all.
Rick also introduced me to Timothy Jencks, the Fire Chief, and SCUBA Rescue Divers Chief at Taftville Fire Department. Tim and the other members of his dive squad showed me the equipment they use, told me how they got started, and shared a lot of stories about past experiences. It was fascinating to listen to them, and I admire them for what they do. Right before I left to speak with another of Rick’s friends, they invited me to come watch, or even participate in their next training day. I really hope that it works-out!
While I was there I also got to talk with Rick’s dad, Eric Simon, and their friend Pete, about the commercial diving industry. I had heard the words together many a time before, but I never really knew what they meant. Boy was I in for one heck of a conversation once I asked. Eric and Pete took turns telling me about all the work that they do checking on the supports of bridges all over the country. Some of the crazy repair jobs that they have been charged to do on the bridges, and some of the mishaps that have, or almost befell them. I think “underwater construction workers” more aptly describes what they do. It sounds like a really intense job. They do all the same things construction workers and bridge builders do, (welding, inspections, directing cement flow, cleaning, etc) only they do it underwater on SCUBA. They had some really great stories too. I feel like every time I talk to people at these events, I discover more and more jobs and ways of using SCUBA diving as more than just a novelty for vacations, than I ever thought about. It’s really exciting, and I can’t wait to find out more. I could have stayed and listened to everyone talk for hours, but today is also the 18th birthday of my brother and sister, so I reluctantly left a bit early. But, I’m sure I will be back in the future! Congratulations to Divers Cove on 30 years, and happy birthday Mason and Megan! 😀
Today I headed off to Connecticut once again. But, this time I was off to meet with Rick Simon, one of the previous Scalli Interns (2005). He is now the owner of Manta Industries and Highseas Millwork (Privateer Divers LLC), and is an extremely accomplished diver on the side. When I got there he gave me a quick tour, introduced me to his best friend Anthony (who also works there), and then started quizzing me on dive theory. I was pretty happy about that review session Lee and I did right about then. Next, Ricky showed me how to build a dive reel (which is one of the things that his company makes a lot of). After that, he had me build my own reel! I also was charged with learning how to tie a bowline knot. Let’s just say that didn’t go to well the first couple tries. But, I got it eventually…kinda.
After that the three of us grabbed lunch, and then Rick and I parted ways with Anthony and headed to Bigelow Hollow State Park for some diving in Mashapaug Pond! We carried all of our heavy gear down to a picnic table near the water, then came back and geared-up in our drysuits. It was my very first time diving in a drysuit! I was excited to see what it was going to be like. Ricky had me go through a bunch of skills, and we basically played “Simon Says” for most of the dive. I cleared my mask, took it on and off, removed hoses, put the hoses back, took off my BC, put it back on, swam blind, swam without a fin, and a few others of the basics. He also had me practice rolling forward in my drysuit in case I ever got air trapped in my feet where I can’t let it out. When we started he had me wearing ankle weights to keep my feet down and prevent this from happening. About halfway through our dive I took them off because they were doing more harm than good. Once that was done my buoyancy was easier for me to control (but I was still far from perfect), and then Ricky showed me how to do some things with a reel underwater. We tied the line to a sunken picnic table, and then swam off for a while, and came back. Little things. It was really neat, but when it was my turn to be in charge of the reel I discovered that it wasn’t quite as easy as it looks. You have to keep tension on the line at all times, and be careful you don’t get tangled in it. It’s going to take a bit of practice before I’m good at it. Ricky also had me do a skill test where I took down our psi, time, and depth every ten minutes in a wetnotes notebook that he lent me for the dive. I had never written anything underwater before, so that was an interesting experience. It’s not too horrible, but my handwriting looked like a four year old’s. Once we were done, we took our fins off, climbed out and trekked back to the van with all our gear on. After we finished stowing all our gear, we parted ways till tomorrow. 🙂
Today I drove down to Essex, Ct. to meet Captain Lee Livingston at Diver’s Cove. Lee is a good friend of the Sea Rovers, and was a huge help to me. He spent the better part of four hours refreshing all of the concepts and math, or Dive Theory, that I had learned in my Basic Open Water Course last summer (And boy, did it help! I can’t believe how rusty I was!). We also had some really nice chats, and he told me about a lot of his past experiences. It was a wonderful atmosphere to learn in, and we treated it more as a big long discussion and “story time” than a class. The whole dive shop was like a big family. The owner, Ed Rosacker, and his wife Chris were SO friendly! And, once Lee and I had finished going over everything, Ed took about 20minutes to show me how to work the dive computer that Bobby Boyle donated to me. Ed was extremely helpful, and showed me a few tricks on how to remember where things are in my computer. All in all, it was a great day, and I hope I get to work with everyone again in the future.
SCHOOL IS OUT! I just got back home from my Marine Ecology course in Costa Rica, which means that it is OFFICIALLY summer. Annd, that means it is time to start my adventures as the Boston Sea Rovers’ 2011 Frank Scalli Intern! Today I drove over to Undersea Divers in Beverly, MA to meet with Dave and Pat Morton. The owner of Undersea Divers is Bobby Boyle, the man who donated my wetsuit, BCD, octopus, dive bag, and dive computer. We were all re-convening to make sure that everything fit, and re-order things if they didn’t.
When Dave and Pat got there, they brought in a surprise with them. My custom DUI drysuit had arrived! We opened everything up, and then I got to try it all on. Now, I’d only ever put a drysuit on once before in my entire life, so everyone ended up helping me to get it on. I was so excited! It fit perfectly! And, it was VERY warm, I couldn’t wait to try it out! Bobby found out that I didn’t have any weights of my own, so without even a second thought, he had Sean, one of his employees, run in the back and get my 30 pounds in soft weight. I couldn’t believe it! Everyone is just so incredibly generous to this internship. I’m looking forward to making them all proud with what I accomplish this summer, and later in my life due to their help.
After we got everything packed back up, I said my thank-you’s and good-byes and headed back home, excited that my summer has finally started!
There’s nothing like a trip to a dive show to cure a little cabin fever! This Friday I drove down from Unity College (Maine) to Vin Malkoski’s house in Massachusetts. Saturday we headed out, along with Vin’s wife, Dee, and Holly Bourbon, bright and early to New Jersey. Our destination? The 35th Anniversary Beneath the Sea dive show. Everyone kept telling me that this show was bigger than the Boston Sea Rover Clinic, but I still wasn’t prepared for the actual sight and atmosphere of 400 booths and vendors. “Overwhelming” pretty much sums it up in a word.
I met even more new people at this event. Among them was this year’s North American recipient of the Our World Underwater Internship, sponsored by Rolex, Christian Clark (They get FREE Rolex watches, and basically get to do something akin to my internship, but for an entire year! Sadly, I’m not old enough to apply…yet). Our two groups got to have lunch together, which was really fun. He is an extremely accomplished person, and I hope I run into him again sometime in the future (Best of luck with your internship Christian!). Amidst the sea of new faces, I also got to see some familiar ones. Dan Orr from D.A.N. was there, Faith Ortins, and Sarah Long from DUI were there, Rick Simon, a past Scalli Intern and owner of Privateer Divers LLC, and Bill O’Malley from Sherwood SCUBA, who graciously donated two pairs of fins and a pair of booties to me in support of the Frank Scalli Internship. I really can’t say enough about how kind, generous, and supportive everyone is, and I don’t feel like I will ever be able to express just HOW grateful I am to them all. Thank you, thank you to everyone.
While I was at Beneath the Sea, I was able to sit-in on a round table discussion of “The State of Our Oceans,” where an audience got to direct questions they had on the subject to a panel. AND, on that panel was Jean-Michel Cousteau, his son Fabien, and his daughter, Celine. It was a riveting conversation, and I was completely fascinated and slightly in awe of it. After the discussion ended, Holly was able to get me up and introduce me to Jean-Michel!!
Apparently they have worked together before! It was a true honor, and I don’t think I’m supposed to wash my hand after shaking his…however, I got a picture, so I think that nullifies the whole “smelly hand” obligation.
We spent a while longer visiting with everyone at booths, and Holly and I found a few spare moments to shop. On our way out we walked by a NASCAR Racecar: #19, Team SCUBA, driven by Ray Black Jr. Now, I’m not a huge NASCAR fan, but even I could admit that this was one really cool car.
After snapping a few pictures of it, we loaded back into our vehicle and started the drive back to Massachusetts. Tomorrow morning I’ll continue on back to Maine and less than two months of classes! Every day I’m closer to starting my internship! 🙂
WOW. My head is reeling from the past two days. It’s been a non-stop whirlwind of introductions, generosity, and amazing people. This year the Boston Sea Rover Clinic is being held at the Crowne Plaza
Boston North Shore hotel in Danvers, MA. This is the first time the Clinic has been held here, so there was a lot of pressure to get it right. I personally think it was spectacular. There were speakers and workshops going on all the time, a ton of awesome vendors, and everyone always had someone to talk with. I spent my time trying to meet as many people as possible. Between helping out at the coat room to raise money for the internship, walking among all the venders with Kim Malkoski (2008 Intern) and Sarah Brightman (2010 Intern) as my guides, attending several talks, after parties, and dinners, I felt like I’d met so many people, they couldn’t all possibly fit in one room.
At one point while we were walking through the venders, I met Dan Orr, the President of D.A.N. He was extremely kind, encouraging, and generous. D.A.N. donated 6months of insurance to me, and a drybag. I really hope I get to go visit them in NC this summer! I also received a mask and snorkel from the wonderful people at Cressi as I was meeting everyone. I also met with Fred Dion at Backscatter, who donates an underwater camera to each intern, and who also worked with Andrew Bausk at Olympus to get a still camera donated to the internship as well. I can’t WAIT to learn how to use them! During one of our other vendor ventures, Faith Ortins fitted me for my very own, custom DUI drysuit. I had never put on a drysuit before, so it was a pretty entertaining event for those watching. After getting fitted, and having Faith explain a lot of the basics and uses of drysuits, I couldn’t wait to get my own and try it out! Later in the day, I was given even more new dive gear for the internship! Bobby Boyle (Undersea Divers) donated an Aqualung wetsuit, BCD, regulator, dive-computer, tank, and dive-gear bag. I couldn’t believe it! I can’t get over how generous and supportive everyone is of the internship! I’m so grateful, and I’m pretty sure I said “thank-you” every other word this weekend!
Saturday night, before the film festival, I was invited to the Board of Directors dinner, along with all of the presenters for the film festival. Kate Douglas (First Scalli Intern) was my wingman, and introduced me to as many of the presenters as she could. I was in awe when I found myself at a table with Stan Waterman, Bob Ballard, Rick Rosenthal, and Marty Klein, this year’s recipient of the “Diver of the Year” award. Throughout dinner I was privy to all of these inspirational people exchanging stories of shipwrecks, dives, equipment, and life experiences. It’s going to be one of those events I tell the grandkids about. After dinner was over, it was time for the Saturday Evening Film Festival to begin, which meant it was almost time for me to get officially introduced to everyone as this year’s Frank Scalli Intern!
The Film Festival was absolutely phenomenal. We got to see footage from Dr. Bob Ballard, Rick Rosenthal, Berkley White, Canadian photographers Michel Gilbert & Danielle Alary, Joe Romiero and Bill Fisher, and Dr. Gregory Skoma. I could have sat there all night. At one point between the films, Patrick Scalli called me up onto the stage to officially introduce me as the 2011 Frank Scalli Intern. My constant thoughts throughout this process were: “SMILE!” “Don’t Trip!” “Oh my gosh I can’t believe this is happening to me!” and a few similar sentiments. By the time the Film Festival had ended, I officially felt like I was in some kind of fantasy land, where anything was possible. I can’t WAIT for my summer to start!
Sunday was filled with more introductions, some time in the coat room, walking among the vendors (Now I had people that I could say “Hi!” to!), and then lunch with Dave and Pat Morton to discuss the internship this summer. There are already so many amazing opportunities lining up in front of me! I can’t thank everyone enough for all that they have done, or are going to do for me this summer!….can I start yet!?
My first time driving in Boston, I had woken-up bright and early to make my way to the Boston Public Library in order to attend the Career Opportunities in the Marine Sciences Symposium (‘COMS’ for short).
This was the first event I attended as the 2011 recipient of the Boston Sea Rovers’ Frank Scalli Annual Summer Internship. COMS is a program, sponsored by the Boston Sea Rovers, geared towards expanding hishschool students’ understanding of the world’s oceans. Before the symposium started I was put to work, along with several other past interns, Kim and Sarah, and Amy Giannotti’s daughter, Allie. We quickly worked out a system, and began folding and handing-out all the programs to the students.
Once it was time for the program to start, I grabbed a seat and listened to all of the amazing people talk about their stories, jobs, and experiences. We heard from Amy Giannotti about cave research and the Cambrian Foundation, Chris Diperna about remotely operated submerisibles, Sarah Taylor about her job as the senior aquarist at the New England Aquarium, George Buckly and Vin Malkoski about their work with horseshoe crabs through the Mass. Division of Marine Fisheries, Paul Cater Deaton about the invasive lion fish and underwater cinematography, and Sarah Brightman about her experiences as the BSR Frank Scalli intern last year. I was floored to actually be able to see the diversity of jobs and paths that had all originated from a love of the ocean.
After the speakers finished, I found myself being called onto the stage, along with all of the past Scalli interns present. Now the students knew about the internship, so each of us was introduced, and after some clapping, allowed to sit back down. Soon after, the symposium ended, and then it was lunch time! Turns out that there is a restaurant inside the Boston Library, and I was got to have lunch there with all of the speakers. I felt extremely honored to be at the same table talking with these people after finding out what they do, and how they got to where they are. I couldn’t believe how interested they all were in me. When lunch was over, I felt as though it had been a real privilege to meet all of these amazing people, and I hope I get to work with some of them this summer.
Speaker Reception at Topsfield Commons
After COMS, I had some free time until the evening. Then, it was time for the speaker’s reception at Topsfield Commons. I met a lot of very interesting and inspiring people. Kim Malkoski (2008 Intern) and Sarah Brightman (2010 Intern) both did wonderful jobs of helping me to network around the room and meet as many people as possible. At one point during the night, the newest Sea Rovers were awarded their black badges, and one of them was Kate Douglas! The first Frank Scalli Intern! She has been working extremely hard ever since her internship to help the Boston Sea Rovers, and her efforts were rewarded. Congrats on coming full circle Kate!
After a lot of applause and pictures, I was surprised to find that Dave Morton was calling me up onto the stage. When I went up, he announced me as being the 2011 Frank Scalli Intern, and gave me my shiny blue name tag (which I am NOT allowed to lose without fear of calling down upon myself the almighty wrath of…everyone). So, Intern Rule Number One: don’t lose your name tag. All in all, the entire day and night were amazing, and have left me overwhelmed with possibilities. It’s time for me to hit the hay now. Tomorrow promises to be another whirlwind of opportunities.