Thursday, June 27, 2013

You never know what you’re going to find!...


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 swimming  beachs 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 around  and 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 at it.
  It was 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, so  the 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.

Tom 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. Tom  and 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!


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

BayHead Recovery Day ~2013~

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 or .


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

World Oceans Day ~Jenkinson's~ 2013


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.