Tending to Buisness

•Tuesday, April 10, 2007 • 6 Comments

n065176.jpgOver the past few months, I’ve devoted the majority of my posts towards what we do underwater as Divers. However, there is in fact, another side to this story, there is another side to the Divers hose. This side rests in the hands of the Diver’s Tender. I don’t understand why people here at school have such issues with the role of Tending. Tending is critical to both the Divers ability to perform a task, and more importantly, the Divers Safety. In my opinion, a Diver is only as safe and productive as their Tender lets them be. In my other opinion(I have even more than two), the Tenders role in a Divers life is one of, if not the most important. It’s a role that each one of us should not only take pride in, but strive to perfect. In fact, for all of us “Divers” about to graduate from school, it will be the this role that we become. Continue reading ‘Tending to Buisness’


Salvage Day Three

•Friday, April 6, 2007 • 5 Comments

Boat=2 Divers=1

dscf0663.jpg This picture is not the best of the bunch, but it is the only one that includes all 4 of us together. It does little towards showing the actual size of the boat. To put it in perspective, if I were to stand inside the boat, you might just see the top of my head. Shaun Broadley and I are sitting on the Starboard Gunwale of the boat(left to right). Jason White and Josh Percival are standing on the Port side Gunwale(Left to Right). Not only were we the first team in our class to successfully raise the boat, but we did it in record time; two hours and thirty seven minutes(167 minutes of actual underwater time)

The day itself did not get off to an ideal start. I arrived at 0615 in order to check out our hats, gear, and get the dive station set up for our 0800 splash. At 0715 our instructor was still nowhere to be found. Come to find out that his Mother was hospitalized the night before, and not doing very well. The Director of the school would eventually take over our class, but it was not until 0800 that we finally got our equipment. We worked double time in order to get everything set up and  Shaun and I in the water by 0845. Continue reading ‘Salvage Day Three’

Salvage Day Two

•Thursday, April 5, 2007 • Leave a Comment

Boat=2 Divers=0

It’s proving to be a more difficult task than what was previously thought. I was certain that today’s group would get the boat up and floating, but it just did not happen. I’m not  sure where they went wrong. I’ll leave it at that.

Tomorrow is, once again, another day. It’s funny that no matter how many times you say that, it’s always true. It may not invoke the same amount of confidence, but it’s always true; tomorrow is another day. If we float the boat, you will be the first to know. If we do not float the boat, well, you will still be the first to know.

It’s going to be as long morning. I’ll be underwater for at least four hours before lunch(0800-1200). I’m going to try and get some sleep.

Night all…

Salvage Day One

•Wednesday, April 4, 2007 • 2 Comments

Boat=1 Divers=0

As I mentioned in the previous post, for the next 6 days(5 as of now), my classmates and I, divided into groups of 4, will attempt to lift a sunken boat from the bottom of the canal. The first group of Divers made a valiant, but eventually unsuccessful attempt today. It was sad, after the Divers spent most of the day rigging the boat for a lift, to see the boats stern poke out of the water, only to immediately take a nose dive back to the bottom. Even though the class is divided into teams of four, it takes the efforts of the whole class to get things to work. Every member of the class has a role, on the surface, each day. My role today was that of a surface swimmer. This basically means that I was dressed out with goggles, snorkel, and fins and floated around in the water above the boat. My job was to keep a eye on the boat from the surface of the water, swim after any lost pieces of rope, hull patches, or plugs( both of which are made out of wood). Some people might call it “Snorkeling”; actually, I call it snorkeling. I was able to take a few photos before I jumped in the water, which I’ll post in the next day or so. While it did not work out well for the guys today, tomorrow is another day, and another group of divers. I can only hope that they fare a bit better. While my group is still two days from making our attempt(Friday), I can feel the anticipation growing. We still feel confident despite today’s outcome, and are taking into consideration the events that led to today’s failure; one of which seems to be a breakdown in communication and teamwork.

I’ll let you know how it goes tomorrow.

Night all

Salvage Theory

•Tuesday, April 3, 2007 • Leave a Comment

It’s finished. This morning we took took our Salvage Theory exam. Despite my anxieties, I managed to walk out of the classroom with 100%. This is where the fun begins. Everything we have studied over the past few days will be applied towards raising a sunken boat from it’s resting place, thirty feet bellow the D.I.T concrete barge. Shortly after the exam, we began a series of short( 30 minute), survey dives. There are six teams, each of which will have one attempt to raise the boat over the course of the next six school days. In order to do this, each team had 30 minutes to take a brief survey of the vessel. Measurements were taken, the hull was inspected for damage and holes, and ideas were then formulated. The first of the six attempts will begin tomorrow, with my team set to go on Friday. Continue reading ‘Salvage Theory’

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words. Or Is It?

•Saturday, March 31, 2007 • Leave a Comment

I’m not sure just how many of you ever read the comments occasionally left by Blog visitors, but often times they are much more interesting than anything I could ever write. I wanted to make sure that you had an opportunity to read one of the latest comments, so I decided it should become a full fledged Blog post. This was posted today by Mr. Ted Wachholz of the “Eastland Disaster Historical Society “, regarding the Divers who worked the Eastland disaster . It gives some insight into what these brave men were thinking while underwater. These men were pioneers of their industry, performing tasks that were considered almost impossible during these days. While I cannot be certain, I would imagine they were working for little more than pennies. They were not not just salvaging a ship there on the Chicago River, but the hundreds of bodies whose lives the Eastland decided to take from them. Keep in mind also, that every time they left the surface, they new there was an enormous chance they would not return.

“Time and again – over the course of days – these divers donned their diving suits and plunged into the Chicago River, weighed down by lead-soled shoes, helmets, and slugs of lead over a shoulder or around the waist. The divers fought their way through the heaps of water-logged scrap – picnic luncheons, parasols, pop cases, clothes, dolls, and teddy bears – items that were intended for picnicking and merrymaking. The divers’ exploits entailed great danger, and their assistants on the river’s surface were held in suspense many times as the divers fought for their lives while doing their jobs. “I was down in the dance deck when I got mixed up with some stanchions,” said diver Charles Gunderson (third diver from the right in the photo). “I had jerked the signal cord a half dozen times before I discovered it must be fouled above – and I hadn’t started jerking it until I was satisfied I couldn’t get free by myself. It was as tight a place as I had been in. And then I made another discovery. My air tube had fouled, too, and I couldn’t breathe. I was down there alone without air. Those above had no way of knowing what I was up against. It was up to me to live or die. I kicked until I must have been blue in the face, and then, all of a sudden, I was free. I took a step and the signal cord was cleared. Air began to come through the tube, but not enough of it to do me much good. You can bet I gave the [signal] cord a jerk!” Charles Gunderson lost consciousness on the upward journey, but recovered a half hour later.”

A Few Good Men

•Saturday, March 31, 2007 • 2 Comments

The Eastland DiversThese gentleman were responsible for the Salvage of the Eastland. The Eastland was a passenger steamer which tipped over while in port, on July 24th, 1915. The Eastland was in port on the Chicago River, preparing to cross Lake Michigan. Most of the passengers were Western Electric employees who were headed for their annual company picnic in Indiana. After having an opportunity to dive gear very similar to what they are wearing, I can you tell you that they make that stuff look a great deal more comfortable than it was, sometimes in excess of 80 lbs of lead and brass. Found this stuff interesting so thought I would share it with you. This is one of my favorite photos. Hope you enjoy. If you want to learn more about the Eastland, visit the Eastland Disaster Historical Society. The Society’s website has a ton of information regarding the Eastland.

Diver Recovering Bodies on the Eastland

The Eastland on Her Side