Friday, August 16, 2013

Object recovery...

The Dive Team got another call from Bay Head about another object in the water.  (The last time it was an underwater mine, so now what?)  Tom C. and I headed out to answer the call, ON THE SAME BEACH AS THE MINE, with the First Aid Captain right behind.  On arrival, we spoke with the head of the beach patrol, who informed us of a pipe sticking up out of the bottom in the swimming area.  The lifeguards had tried to pull it out, but couldn’t get it to move.  But they did mark it with a float.
Tom and I suited up in dive gear and Sabrina suited up in her surface rescue gear to be our surface support.  The “dive” part was easy – short swim, flat ocean, and good vis.  Sure enough, attached to the float was a 2 inch diameter steel pipe, with about 5 feet sticking out of the bottom.  We just had to get it out.

The lifeguards had tried to pull it out with no success, so we had no idea how long the rest of it was.  They were thinking we might have to dig, but I was thinking about a WET PAINT sign that makes you want to touch something!  I just gave it a pull, and it started moving.  Being on SCUBA, we could get a good look at how it was inserted into the sand, so we just kept working it from the right angle, and 12-14 feet of pipe came free.  We swam it in and handed it over to beach patrol.
In the meantime, Sabrina did do a bit of talking with people on the beach about the First Aid Squad and Dive Team.  She assured them that, other than this random object, the swimming beaches are generally clean and safe.

A few days later the team got a call from Someone Who Wished He Hadn’t Dropped His Only Boat Keys off a Dock.  He had apparently dropped his only boat keys off a dock and asked if we could help recover them.  We got to the marina and suited up within an hour.
Someone showed us exactly where the keys were dropped, but he was concerned that they might truly be lost - it was only two keys on a large rubber band, the current may have taken them away entirely, and the bay bottom is incredibly muddy in that area.

Even with these challenges, the search area was narrowed down to one boat slip, so we decided to put one diver in at a time.  I started out with maybe 4 INCHES on visibility.  Even on this bright, sunny day, in 7 feet of water, you needed a dive light.  It took 45 minutes, but got the keys back.
Never say Never!

Friday, August 02, 2013

Wooden Boat 2013

Each year we are proud to be a part of the Wooden Boat Festival sponsored by the Toms River Seaport Society and Maritime Museum. The day includes a collection of wooden boats moored along the canal, vendors selling nautical goods, pirates and of course the Pt. Pleasant Dive Team touch tank and display.


The Dive Teams day starts at 5:30 am as we don our scuba equipment to collect our specimens for the touch tank. It takes about an hour to collect the proper specimens and enough water to keep our touch tank and our specimens healthy throughout the long day ahead.

Our displays at the festival included photos of various marine life found off the Jersey coast, a multimedia display showing artifact recovery, marine life and Dive Team drills, our shell display case, a sample of our bottle collection and of course “Dry Suit Guy” – a fully suited representation of what equipment we wear during our dives.

We spent quite a bit of time explaining about the different bottles and artifacts we find on our dives. It never fails to interest people when they find out the age of some of the bottles we find. Chief Nesley is quite good at dating bottles and makes it seem so simple once you know the features to identify. One of the games we played was to ask “What is the oldest thing on the table?”. Each time someone from the Dive Team would reply “Chief Nesley!”. Sorry Chief, but you have a few years to go to beat that lump of coal!!

The highlight of our display was our Touch Tank. Kids and adults alike had a great time learning about the marine life of New Jersey from members of our Dive Team. Our Touch tank included specimens such as the Sea Star (or Starfish as most would call them), Spider Crabs, Snails, Hermit Crabs, Star Coral and the Red Bearded Sponge.

The weather was a scorcher this year. Everyone was doing their best to stay in what little shade they could find. Hydration was the key word of the day. Of course a few Italian Ices didn’t hurt either. The canal’s waters were quite tempting throughout the day, but we refrained from jumping in the cool inviting waters in fear that everyone at the festival would join us!
12 hours after starting our day and we were finally on our way back to the RR Bridge to release our marine specimens. The Chief and Joe S. took a few minutes in the refreshing waters to cool off. A much needed treat after a long day in the heat.
A huge thanks goes out to all who helped make our 2013 Wooden Boat Festival Display a great success. We hope to see everyone next year!