Welcome to the new diving year juniors, seniors, and a special welcome to the program, our incoming sophomores. Jackson and Oskar have taken over the site this year, and if you’d like to contribute then keep on reading. An opportunity for earning extra credit and potentially – taking over the blog internship in your senior year by helping us write blog posts. These posts will be about what your class has been doing in the past month. Unlike last year they have to be about what your class is doing, and if you plan on writing them on something other than that, you must contact Jackson via Slack. We look forward to working with everyone. Good morning, and in case I don’t see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night!
The Harbor School Fishers Island Trip is a 3-day Trip where almost all CTE’s come together to help out on the Fishers Island Oyster Farm, a Harbor School tradition. During the 2018 Fishers Island Trip the divers got to experience many things. The weather throughout the trip was not ideal for diving but the outcome of the dives here a great learning experience for everyone. Fellow diver Chris Morales seemed to be experiencing signs and symptoms of hypothermia, and like many of the divers including myself we were all shivering when getting out of the water. This should allow you to assume how cold the water really was. It was unusual though because underwater my group and I didn’t feel as cold. We continued to find oyster cages and lost oysters in the water but as soon as we reached the surface it was hard to move as our body stopped responding because it was so cold. For the oyster cages we used lift bags to help them reach the surface which was a new skill we got to use as we hadn’t had any prior experience. I found and oyster cage and my buddy Hannah used the lift bag to help it reach the surface. What was cool about this is after we brought our oysters to the surface we got help separate them into piles to help the oyster farm. They would either use the lost oysters to grow spat on them or sell them if they were the right size. We also got to see all the marine life around the oyster cages underwater like sea stars and sea jellies but also a bunch of shrimp, crabs, and worms in the oyster cages we brought up. Overall, we got to use new skills and work with the other CTE’s, the trip was a great learning experience.
Professional Diving, we are a class of 48 in total. As our name implies, we scuba dive. Most people come into the program not even knowing how to swim, but now we are all certified divers and training to be more than that. We, as a TEAM, working together make the dream work, so we all went down to the Bahamas where the sun shines bright and the ocean is clear.
Down at the Island School located somewhere on a island, we trained ourselves mentally and physically. We would wake up early in the morning just to get more time out of our day. We carried gear up and down roads, ran for miles, and dived for hours. But at the end of all the harsh labor we came out with something that we didn’t have going in, Responsibility! Spending a whole week taking care of ourselves and maintaining our daily activities while helping others really changed our view on life. It showed that we cannot manage on our own, even if we think we can, there’s always a need for someone to help you and them pass the finish line. So we all need to take responsibility, be there waiting, and ready to jump in whenever they are needed!
We have been working on our first aid training in sophomore diving ever since we got back from the Bahamas trip. In the course we have learned how to assess the scene, perform log roles, CPR, and several other very useful skills.
It has been a great learning and bonding experience for the entire class to rely on each other in a way we never have before. So many amazing questions are being asked every day about the most obscure things someone could possibly think of. My top 5 favorites are as follows (in no particular order)
-“What if while you are performing CPR you have a heart attack and there’s no one else around?”
-“Why do the CPR dummies have a jaw???”
-“Hey Lenny, what’s the weirdest situation you’ve ever had to save a life in?”
-“How are you supposed to know if the wires are on?”
-“What happens if you don’t listen to the defibrillator and zap when you want to?”
Learning all of the skills we have has just been an overall great experience in how to think in a good way for problem solving and always come prepared for unexpected situations. The course we have been doing has around 30 chapters and we are currently up to chapter 22, when we learn about diabetes, asthma, and heart attacks. Lenny, Zoë, and Joe have been great at keeping the lessons both fun and informative at the same time.
It makes sense that SCUBA Diving is a perishable skill. A perishable skill is basically a skill that needs to be consistently practiced and executed in order to maintain, or else it “perishes”. In other words, you begin to lose the skill. However, the more accustomed you are to a certain skill, the more you’ve practiced and learned, the harder it is for that skill to perish as a result. Muscle memory is what pushes a perishable skill towards “non perishable”, even though that can never truly be reached. One factor that makes muscle memory easier to achieve is whether or not you love what you’re doing. I can safely say I do.
It was the sophomore class’ first time back in the water since our week-long trip to the Bahamas in January of 2018. We had just come off of what was a rather long surface interval, around two months. We set foot onto Bushwick High School’s pool deck at 10am on a Saturday. As the familiar scent of chlorine is absorbed by my nostrils, I finished helping the team unload the tanks, and I went to the locker room to change.
After a warm up of a few pool laps, we start suiting up and setting up our kits. I begin. I test my air. I attach my BCD to my tank. I screw my regulator into the tank valve. I attach the Regulator’s inflator hose to the BCD. I test my second stage. Before I know it, I’m done. It takes me a moment to realize that I accomplished that task without having to struggle to remember how to accomplish it. Upon entering the pool, I’m thoroughly convinced my buoyancy will be horrendous. It’s been too long. I hope my buoyancy work in the Bahamas stuck with me. I descend with my buddy, and we begin to work through the usual obstacles set up at the bottom of the pool.
As I approach the first floating square, I prepare myself for my tank valve to get caught. I move through it, and continue to do so. I then prepare myself for my legs to get caught. Once again, I continue to glide through the water. Ecstatic, I maneuver myself through the rest of the obstacles. I twist and do cartwheels while consuming little air. I hover using breath control. I descend to the bottom, stare at the surface and blow bubble rings like Lenny taught me. I feel like I’ve come home after being away for some time.
Eventually it’s time to wrap up. I get out, clean gear, disassemble my kit, change, and load the van. Before leaving the pool deck, I look back at the clear, still water. I’m so happy to be practicing again.
While this isn’t some crazy story that you would initially think to share with someone when enlightening them about your diving career, this experience is very meaningful to me. It reminds me how grateful I am to be a student of the New York Harbor School and the Professional Diving program, and how much I love what I do. In addition, it also reminds me how far I’ve come since beginning this wondrous journey. I use experiences like this one to help track my progress, to see how much I remember and watch myself grow as diving becomes a bigger and bigger part of me.
Being part of the diving program holds a lot of responsibility, one of my biggest responsibilities is to take care of the fish tank in the diving classroom. Bubbles was rescued from an oyster cage off the Eco-dock by divers. Bubbles lives in a 10 gallon tank, off to the side in the diving room. In the tank shown below is bubbles, live oysters, and oyster shells.
Bubbles is an oyster toadfish, who’s scientific name is Opsanus tau. A lot of people think this fish is very ugly, but it isn’t. It has patchy brown and black skin. Bubbles loves shrimp, crabs, and sometimes other small dried fish. Bubbles has been with me for about two years now and I don’t want to pass him down but I will have to. I am constantly checking ph, the salinity and the filter. I come in early and stay late for bubbles. Bubbles likes being alone and it’s pretty cool. Diving has given us so many opportunities and I am glad to be attending Suny Maritime, studying marine environmental science and learn more about the oyster toadfish.
My experience as a professional scuba diver for the New York Harbor School has been exciting and there’s still so much more to come. Swimming underwater is fun and all but being able to breath underwater and getting to see a whole different ecosystem right before your eyes is breathtaking! For example, during my sophomore year the professional diving program went on a week trip to the Bahamas, where we stayed at the Island School.
Staying there we were able to learn so much about the deepest parts of the ocean, the anatomy of a lionfish, and so much more! Professional diving has its pros and cons. Some pros being able to see what life underwater is like, but also putting yourself in great danger if you don’t know what you’re doing.