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Everglades USA Exped – Day 11

Blog written by Theresa Kaiser

Today, Wednesday, I had to wake up quite early because of my anchor watch from 2 – 3 AM. It is really important for the safety of everyone and so a big responsibility for me but this time I wasn’t as nervous as I was at the last time.

After my watch I went back to bed for a couple of hours to sleep before breakfast at 8 am. It was the first breakfast on board of Pangaea after the Kayak-trip and it tasted really good; the perfect start into an intense day.

Before we started with our exercises we got a lot of information from Mike and the team about the next few days.  He said we would continue to be diving, and we’d have a party for Dan’s 20th birthday today and tomorrow, Mary and Luke (the two Americans on Mike’s staff) would teach us about their Thanksgiving holiday traditions and celebrations. We all got really excited and looked forward to the day. After this briefing we said goodbye to Mike as he had to go to a meeting in Germany so would have to fly there, attend the meeting and join us right away on Friday. 

Next, we were ready to jump into the water. In the water we did some interesting snorkeling. We dove with the snorkel 5-meters down to the ground, beneath PANGAEA and swam in the Atlantic Ocean. The exercises for our lungs and water-skills were really helpful and they were also a lot of fun.

In the afternoon we jumped into the water again, for a second dive that was quite different from our first one yesterday. We got ready for the dive then piled into the dinghy to ride to the place where we would dive from. This time it wasn’t possible to dive directly from PANGAEA because we had strong currents around. I haven’t too much diving experience that’s why I was quite nervous at the beginning about how it would be like and I hoped that I could manage it without any problems. When we went down to the ground I got more and more relaxed because I realized that the current between the corals was much less in the new location Christian selected for us and I start to enjoy the dive. It was just amazing to dive trough the corals and to explore the underwater world. The time flew by and when we got back to the surface almost one hour later I would have wished to stay under water for longer.

Swimming back to PANGAEA was quite challenging because of the strong currents. The team took our dive-equipment on the dingy and told us to swim back to the boat but after a couple of minutes we realized that we weren’t able to come closer to the boat… we actually drifted more and more far away! The only thing us Young Explorers could do was stay as close together as possible in a team. Doing this I felt safe. While swimming back, we got caught in a swarm of what seemed like a hundred jellyfish!  The swim was really hard and we were all happy when the team came picking us up with the dingy and brought us back to the boat.

After having washed our diving equipment in fresh water and having eaten dinner we had a great party for Dan’s birthday.  We decorated the boat with balloons, Martin made a champagne toast and Christian baked chocolate cake. We played music, sang along with Dan who brought his small guitar on this expedition and we laughed a lot. Finally, went to bed looking forward to all the next days in the Florida Keys will bring to us. Happy Birthday Dan! 


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