Everglades USA Exped – Day 19

Water testing, USCG Cutter Duane wreck dive

When I woke up this morning after a calm night without watch here on board Pangaea, I thought about the last few weeks, full of unforgettable moments. I can’t believe the time went so fast.

After breakfast we had a long briefing with Mike about the plan for the next few days. We talked about our feelings throughout this expedition, and about the future plans of the Young Explorers Program. We were all very interested in what he had to tell us and wanted to hear more. At the end of the briefing we got an assignment: we should prepare a 7-minute presentation about our experience scuba diving in the Florida Keys.

This is an exercise that put me under a lot of pressure because English isn’t my first language but, I wanted to do my very best. Before I began working on my scuba speech, the seven young explorers finished a video we had created about life on Pangaea. It was really fun to film the video clips and finally put the scenes together.
After lunch, we did some ocean measurements of visibility, water temperature and salinity. We will send the results of these tests to Dr. Roswitha Stolz at the University of Munich. I’m looking forward to learning more about the samples we drew because this is something that I’m really passionate about and possibly want to work with in the future.

After the measurements we got ready for diving. Today we dove the USCG Duane in Key Largo, Florida. My heart always starts beating faster when we are informed about our daily diving spot and prepare our equipment to jump into the water. This time there was a bit of a current so we had to jump from the bow of the boat because the line buoy was at the front of the boat but the current made it too difficult to swim the 35-meters from the sugar scoop.

The visibility was very good and after some meters of diving down we could already see the wreck. When we finally were on the deck of this wreck at 26 meters depth I looked around; it is an indescribable feeling when I saw this sunken wreck full of life. We dove into the wreck and explored some different rooms and when I saw all the stuff– the cupboards, tables, mirrors — I thought about how it was on board this boat when it still was intact and afloat.

Every dive is different and there is always a stand-out moment which I will stay with me from each dive. This time there were some stairs on deck and we all got out of our fins and tried to walk up the stairs which wasn’t easy, but very funny.

After we ascended and washed our equipment back on the boat, we got to work on our presentations straight away as they had to be completed by 7PM. I was really nervous about this presentation but when it was finally my turn, I began to speak I became more and more calm as I went along. When we were all finished, we were evaluated by Mike and then he told each team member that they too would have to give a presentation to show us how it’s done. He called his whole staff up one by one and assigned them a topic on the spot. Everybody had to present – first Mary from America and then Luke. Next Doctor Pat from New Zealand, Javier from Spain, Dima from Russia, Christian from Australia, Moose from South Africa, Fred from Switzerland, and finally Martin, Mike’s brother. We all laughed a lot on this evening.

The USA expedition gave me a possibility of lifetime experience and I’m really thankful to have this amazing opportunity. I’m looking forward to the final few days and I’m excited for what else left to learn.

-Theresa

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