We are Guests…

Mr. Smetana, our sponsor, and Renee

Rima filters her water sample

Karl, Renee, and Bob discuss the dive

His Excellency the Governor and Lady Vereker

Pre-dive briefing

The team, our sponsors, and our hosts

It was an early day to rise and shine! Somehow, all of the food has ended up at the guys’ cottage, so we girls made our way up to their place at about 7:30 today looking for a morsel of food. (What they don’t know is that we kept the Oreos here at our place!!). After a leisurely breakfast and discussion of the day’s dive plan, we loaded the truck and car and headed on our way to Cliff Pool. Today’s mission is to sample the cave for bacteria and microbes that might be found in the sediment or on the walls of Green Bay.

Once on site, we unloaded our truck and transported the 21 tanks down to the entrance of Cliff Pool. Today, the dive team is diving four tanks each, and so we had a bit of rigging to do. During this time, Rima prepped the coolers and readied herself for the sample analyses that would soon be required.

The dive objective today was to collect water and bacteria/sediment samples for Dr. Franklin. The Cliff Pool entrance to the Green Bay System provides access to about 2/3 of the system. We had not been beyond the cavern zone at this site, so a map of the system was consulted. Sampling stations were also determined from the map. Samples were to be collected along a transect at five subsurface stations. Since we were unfamiliar with this side of the system, we took care to reference the guideline often. We found that because of tidal influence, much of the first few hundred feet were covered in a light fine sediment. Marine growth including sponges and hydroids were scattered about on the rocks, on some stalactites, and even on the line. Seems odd to have marine life in a cave…the best of both worlds! There were several jumps and T’s (intersections of line) off of the main line. At all of these areas each team member marked the exit side of the line so we would know our way out upon exit. Our dive time today was approximately 90 minutes and included only 11 minutes of decompression.

Once on the surface, Amy, Betsy, and Rima measured pH, alkalinity, dissolved oxygen, iron, and sulfide. Water samples were also preserved for later ion chromatography analyses of calcium, sodium, ammonia, nitrite, nitrate, chloride, phosphate, and potassium. Each sample was secured in a cooler of ice and off Rima, Renee, and Amy went with Gil to Fed Ex. It was a relief to arrive at this Fed Ex counter and NOT have them ask, “would you like this to ground service to the USA?”…and “is the USA a country or a state?” (see our earlier updates). Whew! Samples were shipped overnight to Aaron Mills, Ph.D., at the University of Virginia. Aaron will process the samples and prepare the sediment for eventual analysis at NASA. Aaron is also a microbial ecologist and has collaborated with us for several years on the Central Florida Karst Project.

Betsy, Jen, and Bob headed back to the cottage to rinse gear and sort equipment, while Karl again joined Annie at Triangle Diving for fills. Eventually, we were reunited and it was time to get ready for the reception at Government House.

Our taxi arrived at 6:00 pm, and we boarded our cab to the home of His Excellency the Governor and Lady Vereker, who were hosting a reception in support of the exploration and conservation of Bermuda caves. It was an enjoyable evening, and we were able to meet and talk with many of the project sponsors and supporters. We had a wonderful time and shared in the company of many Bermudian folks who are interested in protecting these beautiful systems. A nice dinner followed at Rusticos, a local (and delicious!) Italian restaurant, where we were joined by our sponsors, Mr. and Mrs. Joe Smetana, as well as Annie, Jen, Tom, Mr. and Mrs. Jack Ward, and Mr. and Mrs. Gil Nolan. The evening ended with a late, but necessary, dive planning session before we greeted our pillows.

Team Members

  • Jen Cate
  • Rima Franklin, Ph.D.
  • Amy Giannotti
  • Bob Giguere
  • Anne Glasspool, Ph.D.
  • Betsy Hackley
  • Tom Iliffe, Ph.D.
  • Gil Nolan
  • Renee Power
  • Karl Shreeves
  • Bernie Szukalski
  • Terrence Tysall
  • Jack Ward

Greetings from New England!
Looks like you are having too much fun to call it work. We love your daily updates, it makes us feel like part of the project. Keep up the good work……… and we will continue to stalk your web site. Amy………We are looking forward to another weekend in Boston with the Sea Rovers. PS Happy birthday to Rima and Congratulations to Allison and Terrence.
Heather and Margaret

Mom and Margaret,
I’m so happy you’re enjoying the updates… we’re working hard and everyday I learn something new and different. I love being here and being a part of the expedition, but I do miss New England a little bit.
See you soon,
Betsy

Hi Team,
The daily updates are great and makes those of us who are back home feel we have a little part of your adventure. Glad to hear you are all having a great time and staying safe! Would love to see some underwater pics of the cave interior.
All my love to Karl….miss you honey.
Shawn
P.S. Congratulations to Allison and Terrence for the new baby on the way…that’s awesome!!

Hi Shawn,
Thanks so much for writing to us! Karl was working on the reply to you earlier in the evening, but our taxi came and whisked us away to Government House for the reception. We’ll try to get some underwater cave shots up on the web tonight as tomorrow is a photography and line assessment day. Thank you for following along, and hope you can join us on this one day!

Amy

Happy Birthday Rima!!!! Wish we could have helped you celebrate. Enjoy Sweetie.
Linda and Jim

Thank you Linda and Jim! We wish that you could have been here to share in my birthday pizza. It is beautiful in Bermuda, though I miss everyone. Hoping to see you soon back in Florida.

Rima

Just wanted to send an email to Terrence about Legare. My husband, Randy, worked with Legare at Fanny’s when he was killed. We now live in PGH and I ran into Conrad Pfeiffer at a party on Saturday and he told me about the scholarship in Legare’s name (small world). I just wanted to tell you that I cannot think of a better way to honor our friend. He was someone who offered so much and would have appreciated this opportunity for young people more than anything. I read the bio stuff about him on the site as well which was so beautifully written. I still think of him often and am so glad there is something out there in his honor. God Bless. Julie Wehunt

Hi Julie,
Wow, what a small world! Amazing – things happen for a reason!! Thank you very much for writing, and we’ll make sure that Terrence gets your message. Ironically, Betsy Hackley, the 2006 Legare R. Hole, III, Memorial Scholarship recipient has joined us on this expedition. We are very honored to be able to share with young people and hope to inspire them the way that Lee was inspired to learn more about the underwater parts of our planet. Thank you for corresponding, and please continue to follow our journeys!

Amy

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