Rose Sink – June 27, 2010
My name is Sarah Brightman and I’m the 2010 Boston Sea Rovers Frank Scalli Annual Summer Intern. One part of my summer internship with the Sea Rovers includes spending a week in the Florida Springs working with the Cambrian Foundation. My main goal while working with the Cambrian Foundation is to learn more about research diving in submerged caves.
Today, the Cambrian Foundation made its way to Rose Sink (an offset sinkhole) which is part of Ichetucknee Springs State Park. After setting up shop and getting the gear ready, the first dive team consisting of Conrad Pfeifer, Bill Ward, and Karl Shreeves descended below the surface of duckweed and into the cave. After about an hour under, the dive team surfaced and brought back water, invertebrate, and bacteria samples.
As the second dive team, which involved Jef Frank, Terrance Tysall, and Carl Saieva got ready to go, the temperatures climbed to the high nineties. With little shade and no wind, the heat was practically unbearable as the research team on the surface analyzed all of the water samples. The surface team (comprised of Amber Taylor, Dr. Franklin, Marissa Williams, and I) was analyzing the water samples for alkalinity, ammonia, sulfide, and iron while on-site. Each of these parameters plays an important role in the way that microbes make food inside the dark cave.
At the end of the day, everyone packed up our small caravan of cars and headed to Amigos Dive Center in Ft. White, Florida, where Wayne Kinard provided the Cambrian Foundation with donated air fills. Thank you so much, Wayne! Chef Marissa and her kitchen assistants provided a lovely meal of tacos and appetizers and LOTS OF WATER which marked a yummy end to a wonderful (but hot) day!
During my stay, I am beginning my cavern training with Conrad Pfeifer, a cave diving instructor and scientific diver with the Cambrian Foundation. Due to the short time period I am spending in Florida, I may not have time to finish a course, but I hope I will! So far I have learned that it is one thing to read a cavern diving manual and another to put your skills to the test. Just practicing line drills on land is hard enough! However, the more I am around the research divers at the Cambrian Foundation, the more I learn from them and the advice they have to offer to a newbie. The surface team is fun, but it’s much cooler in the water! Hopefully tomorrow after we finish our sampling and analysis, I’ll be able to experience a taste of what these divers are getting to do on my first cavern dive!
Sarah Brightman, Boston Sea Rovers Intern
Rima Franklin, Ph.D
Alex Houston, Cambrian Foundation Intern