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.