What started out as just another day of sweeping the beach’s clear of storm debris turned out
to be so much more for the Dive Team. Tom C., Gibby, and I checked the water
this morning and saw it was just right for continuing our beach sweeps of the
swimmingbeachs along the shore. With a
flat ocean and good visibility we could get a lot done.
Launching rescue 34 at the foot of bay avenue and coming aroundand out into the ocean for the run down the
beach to Mount street in Bay Head. We got our tow lines set up and we got the
divers in the water and headed south for Mantoloking. Keep in the depth range
of eight to ten feet as this is the area that swimmers would be in at low tide.
After five hours of
towing we covered an area from Mount street to just a quarter mile short of the
Mantoloking bridge. We called it a day at this point and headed back to get
cleaned up. With the boat and all our gear back it the building getting cleaned
up, that’s when the real fun started.
We got a call from the Bay Head life guards about something
in the water and could we come down and check it out. With Gibby and Tom on a
first aid call, Sammie and I jumped in 342 with Jerry and Jen and our gear and
headed off to Bay head. As we walked down the beach Sabrina the first aid
captain came over and told us the life guards would point out where it was. I
walked out to the area the life guards were pointing to and started looking for
the object, within seconds I found it and started looking really close to it,
with one to two foot waves rolling in it was not that easy to get a close look
big and round and made of metal I could see that much but not much more, so I
started fanning some of the sand away from it. At some point in time I stood up
and let the people on the beach that I was OK. I wanted to mark the spot so I
stood on it and took land ranges , It was right about this time at I figured
out what I was standing on! It was a bugs bunny moment, If you remember the
bugs bunny cartoons as a kid, do remember the one were bugs was in the bomb
make plant with the hammer! Well that how I felt, I was standing on an
underwater mine! The kind of thing that sink really big ships!I went down again just to make certain that
what I saw.I could be wrong! I wasn’t,
it was a really big mine and it was time for me to go!
Getting back to the beach everyone is looking at me for some
idea as to what it is and all I could get out was “call EOD” (you know the navy
guys that take care of stuff that blows up!). That got everyone moving , mostly off the beach. The Bay Head police took
over and we headed back to the building to finish cleaning up and getting
everything ready for whatever came our way.
Two hours later we got a call to go stand by in Bay Head as
the EOD divers were on scene. We talked to the navy divers and showed them the
land ranges for it and they came out and said the same thing I knew, It’s a
mine! Plans were made to meet at 0500 the next morning to work on it.
At 0500 the tide was just coming off low tide and starting
to come back in, sothe EOD guys packed
ten pounds of C-4 around the mine and sat back and waited for the tide to come
in, as they wanted as much water on top of the mine as they could get.
At 1100 the take
cover sound was made and that was the end to the mine! Talking to the EOD guys
the mine could have had as much as six hundred pounds of power in it! That
would have made a really big bang! But with the mine being flooded none of the
mines power went off.
But a really big peace did land on the beach. After the
water calmed down the EOD divers went back in the water to check to see at
nothing was left. The all clear was sounded and life could go back normal.
The head of the
beach patrol did ask if the dive team could go in and remove anything that was
left over from the mine. I told him we would be back in an hour with more
divers and the dive truck to do a search of the area.
C, Gibby, Sammie and I got geared up and headed back to Bay Head to do the
search. The plan was I would find the spot the mine was in and mark it and
gibby and tom would do half circle sweeps around the marker out to an hundred
fifty feet. I found the spot it was in by using my land ranges and found some
of the sand bags the navy divers used to hold the C-4 in place. Tomand gibby did their sweeps and I looked
around the sand bags and we did come up with a few parts of the mine. After
being in the water over an hour we found what was to be found and finished up.
It was nice to get back to the building and get cleaned up.
Like I said “you never ever know what you’re going to find!
On Saturday, June 15, 2013, the Point Pleasant Beach First
Aid Squad was invited to participate in “Revitalize BayHead”.This half-day event was run to promote
businesses and tourism back into the town, especially in light of Hurricane
Sandy recovery efforts.
The Squad set up display tables featuring the numerous
services we offer to the community (first aid response, classes, etc.).A Hands Only CPR station was also set up with
a dummy for people to practice on, with “Stayin Alive” playing in the background.We also used the opportunity to promote the
“Monster Dash”, our October 5K Run fundraiser.
Along with the shore theme, the Dive Team brought along
Rescue 34, our 16 foot Zodiac.The Dive
Team display included our local shell collection, various marine artifacts we
have discovered in the areas local waters, and of course “Dry Suit Guy” – a
fully suited representation of what equipment we wear during our dives.
One of the highlights of the display was our Marine Touch
Tank. Kids and adults alike had a great time learning about the marine life of
New Jersey from members of our Dive Team. It requires a 6:00 am dive,about an hour to collect the proper specimens
and approximately 50 gallons of water to keep our touch tank and our specimens
healthy throughout the long day ahead. The touch tank included specimens such
as the Sea Star, Sea Urchins, Spider Crabs, Snails, Hermit Crabs, Star Coral
and the Red Bearded Sponge.
It was a beautiful, sunny day, so the entire event was
well-attended, and we had a small crowd visiting us throughout the day.
Congratulations to everyone who participated in this
wonderful community celebration.
We look forward to continuing our service to the BayHead
community and we wish everyone great success in their recovery efforts. If you
would like more information on the Point Pleasant Beach First Aid Squad or our
Dive Team please checkout http://www.pointbeachems.org/ or
On Saturday, June 8, 2013, the Point Pleasant Beach First
Aid Dive Team participated in the World Oceans Day celebration at Jenkinson’s
Aquarium.This annual marine
conservation themed event provided us the opportunity to share with Aquarium
visitors some of our adventures scuba diving locally..
The highlight of our day was conducting scuba diving
demonstrations in the harbor seal tank itself.Two divers a time entered the enclosure and finished their gear
preparation with assistance from a tender.As visitors watched from the top of the tank, another team member
outside the tank explained why a Jersey diver must wear a bit more equipment
and protection than someone in the tropics.(Even with the tank 15 degrees warmer than the ocean, our divers were in
full wetsuits, complete with boots, gloves, and hoods.)We also introduced the buddy system and some
of the hand signals that divers must use to communicate underwater.
The divers descended to the bottom of the tank, where most
of the aquarium visitors could easily watch them demonstrate the basic dive
skills used to safely explore the ocean.Divers easily showed off clearing a mask of water, drifting in the
middle of the water (neutral buoyancy), and even moving heavy objects (a tube
FULL of lead sinkers) with a lift bag.
The audience even got involved from outside the tank when
the divers offered a challenge from the inside.We held a race back and forth across the tank, with the diver swimming
and several children running.Even with
fins, we discovered that human divers aren’t fast compared to ocean animals or
running children!The divers were
determined to make a comeback though.In
the high jump challenge, our diver convincingly jumped, albeit slowly, all the
way to the top of the tank!The
properties of water that make water difficult to move through also all a diver
to perform some incredible feats.
During all of this, the three harbor seals that reside in
the tank watched us patiently.And one
of them is especially fond of Tom.
Several organizations involved in marine conservation were
also present at the event with table displays, and we all had visitors
throughout the day.Many were surprised
to discover that our collection of seashells and other artifacts were all found
while diving right here in New Jersey .Underwater video footage taken from Manasquan Inlet, right here in Point
Pleasant Beach, was also playing, offering a taste of local diving conditions.And as usual, SCUBA Man was available for a
photo opportunity for any curious visitors!
Just to keep us on our toes, two of our divers were called
out to assist with two sunken boat salvages/refloats, AND two of our divers who
are also EMTs were answering first aid calls in town!Could a busy day get any busier?
In the end, World Oceans Day was a success, and we thank
Jenkinson’s Aquarium for again inviting us to share our love of local diving.