After a wonderful nights sleep, Dive Masters Chip Burger, Art Mehring, Course Director Devin Waddell and of course ME (Genette Waddell, Instructor) began our morning enjoying pancakes, omelets and coffee at the local IHOP...MMMMMMMM..
We received a phone call for Jill the lead scientist for Bimini Sharklab. Seems some equipment needed to be picked up from the Miami University and the Friday trip to set the equipment on the ocean floor would be delayed. No worries we found a local dive shop going diving and we all hopped on board....
Tonight the entire crew will be join at the dock to discuss the next days adventures....so far the word is we will begin with a little spearfishing, checking and setting some equipment and then some shark fishing.
Stay tuned for more -- will post picks once we return from diving and depending how the evening goes -----SHRIMP pasta and some beverages on the dock ....it could be tomorrow - no guarantees!
Day 4 began like the others - good breakfast and tank fillin'. When Devin and I arrived at the dock, Doc was there to see us off, wishing us better luck than the day before. We lovingly blame the day before on Captain Tony who mistakenly brought not one but a whole bunch of bananas on board-day three. We can only assume that was the cause for the low recovery and replaced stats from the previous day.
FYI Jupiter, Florida has CURRENT....if you can not see this clearly it is a diver on his back and just off the picture the other diver is kicking her butt off trying to catch the ball...How you ask did we see this -----we almost hit her!
And this is what the rest of ride out looked like on day 4!
Ok it is time for REDEMPTION!....Scientist Steve found data online the night before that the wreck did actually move therefore the receiver definitely was not in the same place. Therefore, Devin's previous days failure may not have been his fault. Steve began a series of SCUBA Morris code to the local divers and between them all they came up with 3 new coordinates to pick from....Steve decided he and a volunteer Abby would give it a run and if they did not find it them Captain Tony would take the scooter for another round about.
Guess What.......they found it!
Captain Tony with scooter in tow and all the cameras went on the next dive with Scientist SCUBA Steve and Happy Abby. They have a few extra things to do on this site and Captain Tony is going to film the master teaching the student.
Abby was on a good luck streak. Steve paired us up next, suited up and ready to go --- away we went 80 feet....taking a north direction and as I get north lined up there it is. We team up her doing the clipping off of the buoy and me handing the brush to her. Then the wire clippers, I clip the wire on the bottom and Abby begins with the shackles. I moved to the top of the receiver and she followed. You can guess what happened from there...done and on our way to the surface...FYI there was a huge Bull Shark as we exited the bottom.
RECORD TIME....GIRL SCUBA POWER!
Well, Devin laid the challenge out as Abby was falling backward on our next dive he says, "bet you can not break you own record". All of this I missed and another wonderful drop by our captain - we were on it again in no time at all. We teamed up again and did so good that we had time to look around. Thinking we had everything in the bag, I swam off to check a shell that I hoped was a conch. NOPE. But in the meantime, Abby was looking around too. As I inflated the surface signal, she found not one but 2 sand dollars... proud of ourselves we made a safe ascent and climbed on board with large smiles on our faces.
Great Job for the boys however, they did not beat the Girls Time....
they had one more shot before it was time to head back in. Successful on their second receiver, a good drop, excellent descents but they just were slower....that is until Steve points out we left the rope and time was still ticking on that drop until next weekend when we can drop in and remove it. Again AAARRRGGGHHH!
Day 3, THIS PICTURE SAYS IT ALL....read on I will explain!
Yep once again coffee and biscuits in hand, Devin and I headed off to fill tanks for the days adventure. We were looking for a 36% Nitrox mix but unfortunately the young man at the dive center topped them off with 36% giving us an average Nitrox mix of 26-28%. In an attempt to save time, we knew the depths we good for that particular mix so we loaded up the car and made our way to the doc.
At the doc, we were meet by the entire crew anxious to begin the day. The boat was loaded with care - dive gear check, O2 check, sandwiches check , divers, scientist and we are ready. Nope we are missing the captain.
Captain Tony came around the corner and surprised us all. Not only would he captain our boat for us he was also in the middle of filming a reality TV show about REAL divers doing REAL research. After a few more totes, cameras, mics and releases signed we were on our way. (Yes, once I know the exact showing I will let you know.)
studying the seasonal activity and distribution of large coastal shark species on the U.S. Eastern seaboard. His second postdoctoral at the University of Windsor as part of the Ocean Tracking Network (OTN) Artic component. Here he is studying the movements, migrations and tropic ecology of Arctic cod, sculpin and Greenland sharks. Following a five year long campaign, he finally received research permits from the Sudanese government, which will see the initiation of stage one of the Sudan Red Sea Shark and Ray Study in October 2012 (FYI we have been invited to join him ...so excited let me know if you are interested!).
Back to the days events, sorry but Steve is such an exciting fellow and a joy to work with.
So the next group, Devin and Lorena are all geared up. The captain and Steve discuss the probability that the marker could have moved even thought it was attached to a huge concrete culvert. As they discussed, I told Devin of the direction I had gone and it was obvious our brief bout on the surface pushed us too far east and as we headed north we had missed it by a mile. After deliberation they agree to give the Divers a few extra 100 feet to search with the currents pushing east. And away they go, Devin and Lorena textbook backrolls no air in their bc's and with in seconds their bubbles look like champagne on the surface. Lorena has the camera and takes a picture of Devin and some of the surroundings. (this may be the first time she has ever taken pictures underwater...not bad Lorena!)
So to no avail, Devin and Lorena missed also. As Lindsay and I are feeling a little better about missing our mark at least we were all even....but who is counting right?
We had to call in the big guns....the captain...Tony!
Although, I failed to get you a complete picture...Tony's gear is very Technical with a scooter and don't forget he is doing a reality TV show, so there are 2 cameras going down with him. His mission....to located what the other divers could not find based on last years data of the coordinates. The plan was he would go to where the last spot known was then scooter around in a pattern till he found the receiver. Once Captain Tony located the receiver he would float a marker and Scientist Scuba Steve (hope he doesn't kill me) would descend and replace the receiver. After an extended period, out popped the tube and Steve went overboard (in a good way). A lot of time went by as we waited.......SUCCESS - Scientist SCUBA Steve said that a storm must have move it a hundred or so yards from where it was suppose to be. By now it is close to 3 pm, a lot of time was lost but at least we found it and it was not lost or destroyed. On to the next site.....
Lindsay and I are successful with our next drop and redeemed ourselves form the earlier dive. I replaced the receiver on this dive and in good time. The next receiver was not too far away so Lindsay and I stayed suited up and dove for the next receiver...once again success.
Devin and Lorena were up next, so Lindsay and I could relax and get warmed up. Devin and Lorena get their orders and over they go. Way too soon they surface, missed it? Steve asks, "Can you guys try again maybe the current was pushing too much...Certainly they agree and position themselves ready to roll. Dive Dive Dive.....unfortunately another unsuccessful drop. Devin and Lorena disappointed to have missed the mark twice as the visibility is 60 feet or so, current not too bad. Devin is now thinking did I really miss that bad, ego took a little hit. Meanwhile, trying not to do our victory dance...Lindsay and I sit quietly.
The sun is beginning to set so we all agree to begin again tomorrow. The ride back in was long, wet and very quiet. A goal to get all 6 receivers replaced and only replacing 3 was a bit disappointing.
Let's go eat dinner!
And we did. Doc, Steve and the gang was so kind to serve us Steak! And if any of you know me, you know how unusual that it is for someone to cook and me not be in the middle....it was hard but oh so good! Thanks DOC!
Good night! Till Morn day 4.
This morning with my McDonald's coffee and chicken biscuit, Devin and I made our way to the dock to begin the days adventure. Upon arrival, Mother Nature thought we needed a pre-rinse. So as we loaded the gear, the talk among the captain and the scientists was focused on the weather that was upon us. The forecast called for 5-6 Seas about 6 seconds apart. As you can see by the pictures attached, our boat (Enterprise) was not real big. I began to recall the story awhile back about a boat that capsized - killing a few...quickly I dismissed it from my mind.
As we left the dock, we waved goodbye to our host Doc Gruber.
Even though there is water on the lens check out the seas behind me....As is said before , I dismissed the thoughts of capsizing until now and with DEVIN telling the entire store to the young grew girls. But thank God we had an awesome Captain. Cheryl was truly a seasoned captain and she took us through the waves with ease (no i did not say with out seasickness....I and a few other members felt a little green around the edges.) Luckily no crew member fed the fish on this trip.
So we begin to dive, the captain doing her best to drop us on the GPS coordinates and the waves fighting her every step of the way. The first group of divers is ready, Devin, Steve and Abby 80-90 foot dive water temp 74 degrees and no idea of the conditions below, but praying they are better than the surface.
The descent is fast and quick no time for OK's at the surface...19 minutes later a buoy breaks the service...one diver...where were the others....oh there they are, I could not see them for the waves.
Wonder what went on underneath? We were dropped in the water south of the GPS coordinates due to the seas. So once on the bottom we headed north looking for the picture above. Fortunately, every drop the divers were able to locate the receivers and replace them with new ones.
The receivers have been in the ocean collecting data on the lemon sharks for about a year, as you can see they definitely have some ocean life growing on them. A few of them I had to convince a resident goby he really did not want to go to the boat with us.
As the pictures below unfold you will be able to see the process. With a few tools, rope and shackles the new receivers are installed.
With rough seas sometimes brings a very calm bottom...all divers agreed that today was a day to be under the water where it was so calm!
Today the divers were left to do their task, the sharks off doing their thing, but deep in the distance you could see them checking us out and their dinner (barracuda's) were hanging out very curious of what the divers were doing.
So a would say a very successful dive, science and boating day, 6 of the 17 receivers have been replaced and all divers are safe and sound in their beds awaiting what we hope Mother Nature will agree to be very calm, clear and successful dive day tomorrow.
We have arrived in Jupiter for our Keystone Species with Lemon Sharks. Upon arrival, we me the team...Doc Gruber, Scientist Steve and Tony, 3 volunteers and the Captain Cheryl. The team has been working hard to prepare the equipment to be replaced in the ocean tomorrow. After the brief introductions we were off to eat dinner. Doc found us a quite Oceanside restaurant (I believe it was SeaSide Grill but I am a little tired so I will verify that tomorrow along with the three lady volunteers).
Dinner was so interesting, between Doc, Tony, Steve and Cheryl's experiences with the lemon sharks the stories were full of excitement and adventure. We discussed the winds, currents and oh yes the sea that are calling for 3-5 foot with 6 second intervals. So tomorrow will be a bit choppy and getting back on the boat should be like getting on a bucking bronco. The plan is to go south and retrieve as many of the receivers placed in December and replace them with new receivers. GPS coordinates are good but in current, low visibility, deep water and choppy water keen skills are a must to keep from wasting time and efforts.
Stay tuned tomorrow and the coming weekends should be exciting!
PS. there are a few spots still available contact email@example.com for more details.