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!