I went diving today. It’s been about four months since my last dive and at that time it had been close to ten months since the dive before that. It is strange to think that while some programs have nearly closed up shop as a result of the pandemic, others have continued to operate daily with essential tasks and beyond. At either end of this broad spectrum, there have been extraordinarily difficult decisions and situations unlike anything any of us have ever had to deal with, both professionally and personally. I talk to people across our community daily and am continually impressed with the dedication to diver safety and perseverance in the face of unprecedented adversity. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m honored to be a part of our Academy and our community.
Ok, back to the dive. We were off to search for and (hopefully) recover an acoustic monitoring array in a flat, sandy area in about ten meters of water. My role in this dive took me all the way back to my scientific dive class, seemingly a lifetime ago. We were going to do a classic circle search and I was going to hold the reel. I have evaluated countless scientific divers performing this simple skill, but I couldn’t tell you the last time I did this with the goal of finding something that was actually lost. We discussed all the usual considerations for this search and headed down optimistic about our odds of locating the 5-gallon bucket-sized target. Visibility was hovering around two meters as long as we weren’t clouding up the silty bottom. We made four passes, avoiding entanglement with the anchor and rode and each other, and covered more than 600 square meters of area. Everything went well, except the finding and recovery part, as we came up empty-handed. Other than checkout dives, search and light salvage was the first thing I learned as a scientific diver-in-training. Even though we didn’t find it (yet), the great foundation I received as a student long ago served me well again. And that’s what I call coming full circle.
Please take an active role in our Academy and vote for your elected leadership this month!