Diving the One More Time

FSU Scientific Dive Class Dives the “One More Time” Wreck: Story by Diego Mejia Pardo, FSU Literature Major & Scientific Diver, Photos by Nicole Martin.

Early in the morning, on Saturday November 23, 2013, the “Introduction to Scientific Diving” team arrived to the Florida State University Coastal & Marine Laboratory to start a journey in the research vessel Apalachee. Our mission was to collect data on fish abundance and diversity and to measure the “One More Time” wreck, sunken in the vivid waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

It was a cold, foggy morning in St. Teresa. We loaded the Apalachee with our scientific diving gear and, before leaving port, the captain of the vessel, the amazing Rosanne Weglinski, debriefed the team on safety rules, emergency procedures, and equipment on board. For a lot of us it was the first time on the majestic Apalachee, and even before seeing it navigate, we fell in love with its easy access, comfort and beauty.

As soon as we left the port, the skies cleared and the dolphins came to greet us with playful leaps over the stern waves of the Apalachee. The sea was calm and the sun warmed up the day while we reviewed the plan and methods for the dives ahead.

Once on site, the captain deployed the diving platforms, we did a final review of the gear and there we went… down under. The deck of the Apalachee and the diving platforms are spacious, which makes it really easy for the divers to gear up, and to get in and out of the water. At the surface and under water the currents were calm and the visibility was about 30 ft. Perfect conditions for mapping the wreck. Huge schools of grunts, invertebrates, and four enormous goliath groupers observed us calmly while we took measurements of the wreck.

After collecting the data we needed we went up for surface interval, lunch, and more debriefing for our second dive of the day, which included information about fish abundance and diversity assessment. For our second dive, the currents were stronger, making it hard to follow our compass bearings, but there we went: barracudas, sand divers, flounders, sheepsheads, wrasses, blennies, bat fishes, oyster toadfishes and seahorses were just some of the fishes we were able to register for our survey.

Our trip back to the laboratory was the opportunity to get warm, (water temperatures were in the sixties), to relax and enjoy the smooth ride and the sun setting in the horizon. We were thankful for such an amazing and productive day. Back in the Lab, we unloaded the Apalachee and loaded our truck with the gear for Sunday’s dives in Cherokee Sink. It was a beautiful day: great weather, great ocean conditions, great marine life, great work, great vessel, and great people; what else can you ask for on a FSU winning football evening? For more pictures of the dive trip click here:https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.603262083055482.1073741834.175992955782399&type=1