Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Ed and the youths help restore a coral reef

Hi all

Today started the second exciting part of the project with Youth Dive with Purpose. I was going to find out today how the Coral Reef Restoration Project is helping to restore coral reefs and I would get
a chance to join in.

 The following bog was written by one of the youths.

Today started coral restoration, which meant no more yoga. Although the extra sleep and the lack of bugs were nice, in a way yoga was mixed as I felt the need to run. Anyways being the first day of coral restoration we had to attend the classroom part.

To me this was so interesting. Despite the presentation being mostly review, as I already knew the material since I did the program last year, I was still very engaged (for I want to do work with Cnidarians professionally).
After the presentation was the hands on portion, where we practiced what we will do underwater on land. This was quite fun, but really just made me want to get in the water already.

Luckily, the next thing on the schedule was diving!!! As we all made out way to the boat (including Ed the bear) it was time to get in our groups to "plant a coral, restore a reef".

I was in group red or deep purple I should say as I soon realized that underwater red is one of the first colours to leave. Once underwater we toured the facilities.
Everything looked amazing even the 2nd time around. Surrounded by coral trees, it was time to get started.
The first part was staging which our instructor cut off some of the coral for us to stage. Although this was exciting the next part was probably the most rewarding.

We got to plant the coral! This took quite a bit if time, as I wanted to plant each piece of coral with care. Finding the right spot, clearing it of algae, and giving it the support that's needed to grow, to me was a huge responsibility and task.

As I completed it however I would hover over the coral to make sure everything was perfect not wanting to let it go as if it was a parent sending me baby off to college.

However I had to move on as there was more coral to be planted before the end of the dive and end of the day.

Finally as I felt I perfected each one, my group came up and our 2nd dive was over along with the activities for the day. With the day winding up I couldn't help but feel accomplished

Sunday, 12 October 2014

YDWP Community Out-Reach Event

Hi All

Before we start the Coral Restoration Programme there is one more very important thing for the YDWP Youths to do and that is to share the project and their experiences with other youths. This is done through a special community out-reach event.
This is a blog from YDWP

Greetings: The final day of YDWP – Archeology {Friday} is our community out-reach component. Like last year we reached out to a local community and this year it was the city of Delray. {a small costal city about 80 miles from Florida City} We were able to go to Pompey Park ,one of Delray’s community centers. 

Once there the YDWP youth introduced themselves to a very excited and inquisitive group of young people. They asked so many good questions that we did not have time to answer them all. 

Idris Philogene and David Furst talked about the archeology and what we accomplished during the past week and Rachel Stewart and Gabriel Soto talked about our upcoming Coral Restoration Program.
After our inside activities we over we were able to go outside to the pool and give a demonstration of the scuba equipment, again the enthusiastic group was very much interested in the equipment. We also let some of them breathe off the regulator. What a day it makes it all worthwhile.
Ordinary youth doing extraordinary things

This is another interesting blog written for me by one of the YDWP youths.

Hey my berry good friends! This morning I was already to do yoga, but our instructor let us sleep in. I was actually disappointed. On a happier note, today we are going on a community service trip! 

We are going to teach young people about what we do, and to inspire them to do what ever they want. We started out by having 2 of my diving buddies present a slide show of marine archaeology, and how we do it. Then we had 2 of my other dive buddies present a slide show of the coral restoration program, and young people and even bears can do it. It may be hard work but if you set your mind to it, you can do anything you want. 

Next, we took the children out to the pool where 5 of the divers were ready to do a demonstration. We showed them each piece of equipment and explained the importance of each piece. Then came the fun part, some of the kids got to try and breath from the regulator to see how it feels to breath underwater. I hope that we inspired some of the kids to become divers in their future. 

Now I know what I'm going to do when i get home, I am going to present everything that I did so that I hopefully inspire some of the other bears to become divers. After our community service trip, we went to Hollywood Florida and had dinner. Then we had some free time to walk around for a little bit, and I couldn't help but be drawn to the water like always. I walked along the beach with some of my new friends. While they had to take off their shoes to feel the warm water, I just walked right in. The benefits of being a bear with paws too big for shoes.

It was a great day of excitement and sharing and I can't wait to share my adventures when I am back in the UK.

Come back soon to see the final part of my adventures with YDWP when we help restore a coral reef.

Friday, 10 October 2014

Final ship wreck Dive (part 4)

Hi everyone

Well its our final day of diving on the ship wreck and everyone including myself were looking forward to getting into the water.

The following blog was written for me by R J Holman.

Hey guys it's Ed the bear and I am back! I woke up 5:00 am this morning to wash furry fur in the river. After my warm bath I felt I needed a little stretching, so I went to my yoga class at 6:00 am. It was just what I need besides the mean biting mosquitoes I got the right to boost for my day. After breakfast I went with my fellow YDWP (Youth Divers With Purpose) to Biscayne Bay National Park to finish up our in-situ drawing.

At once I got on the boat ready to get in the in the water because it was the last day of diving. Once I was in the water I got a little distracted by fish swimming around me but I got I back on my in-situ drawing. 
After my first dive I came up and have some lunch with friends. I had a delightful sub (the roll kind not the underwater type - Ed Bear) with roast beef, Swiss cheese, and top it off with sum good honey from pooh. Then it was time it get back in the water. My tummy was hurting little because I eat little bit too much good food but eventually dived in

This dive was all about going back over my drawings making sure everything is recorded right. After we finish diving today we went and have some delicious food provided by a fellow friend from YDWP at the park. I have had a fun exciting and interesting day today. I learned a lot and how to apply my knowledge to paper.

Great work everyone. A very busy but exciting and rewarding time. We had to fan the sea floor to expose the wreck and documenting the site using a ruler, pencil and slate with Mylar paper (special paper you can write on underwater). This type of diving it takes a lot of care and concentration as its important that everything is recorded accurately.
We all took part in underwater mapping and the complicated trilteration (the method archeologist use to map and measure the various sections of the wreck) and we were all up to the challenge.

But the fun is not over yet. Tomorrow we are going to help restore a damaged coral reef with Coral Restoration Foundation.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Ship wreck survey part 3

Hi all

Great news, my diving bell is fixed and will be off to join the youths down on the wreck site. This really is a great project. In my previous visits to Ken Stewart and the Tennessee Aquatic Project youths we explored some great underwater sites and took part in beach clean events

But Youth Dive with Purpose takes the whole thing one step further. As the name suggests the youths are diving with an important purpose - which at the moment is to help survey the ship wreck below us. This will reveal important information about the wreck and record the information for others to use.

The following blog was written for me by Olivia Frenczy

Hey friends! It’s Ed the Bear again. Today was the first day that i got to go diving into the crystal blue water. We started our day off great, with some yoga to warm up our muscles for a hard day of diving. After yoga and a nutritious breakfast, I applied a thick layer of sunscreen to my fur to make sure i don't turn into a bright red bear. I packed my diving bell, and we were off to the bright sun and splashing waves. On our way over to Captain Ed's Wreck was a lot of fun. The sun made it nice and warm on my thick fur, but the breeze made it the perfect temperature. I sat on the bow of the boat with all my new friends.

When we arrived at the dive site, I was ready to just leap right into the water, but I had to wait to get a dive briefing from the captain and the dive master so that I know what to do when I'm diving in the water. When it was actually time to jump in, I couldn't wait. My buddy was ready and so was I. One at a time we jumped in the warm water and started swimming towards the anchor and descended to the wreck. (I was lowered into the water slowly in my diving bell and David Furst carefully maneuvered my diving bell into the right position - Ed Bear).

Our first dive at this site was just a survey dive, which means that we just swim around the wreck to try and get to know what we will be working with for the next 3 days. It was a lot of fun to see the wreck. What I could see from this dive was that we had a lot of work ahead of us, but with all the divers and teamwork, it would be a piece of cake, and I love cake. 

For our second dive, we stared to place pin flags on different artefacts that we thought were interesting. That was easy for most people but hard for me because I found the whole wreck interesting, and I couldn't pick a spot to put my pin flags, but I eventually decided on a good place.
After those 2 dives there were many hungry divers on board, and one very hungry bear. So we went back to out hotel rooms, took a shower and headed out to dinner.

Now you may think that I am an extraordinary bear doing all this diving, but in reality, I am just like any other ordinary bear doing extraordinary things.

more to come soon

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Ship wreck survey part 2

Hi all

Today the youths would use the skills they had practiced on the land yesterday, but this time on a real ship wreck under the sea. I was very disappointed because my diving bell developed a problem and I could not go down with them.

This blog entry was was written for me by one of the youths

Today started early with yoga in the morning everyone was pretty tired but everyone enjoyed it and benefited from it in the long run. Next came breakfast;there was so many choices of food to choose from but I decided on waffles and bacon (my new favorite breakfast). After that we left early to head to Biscayne national park the car ride was long but I enjoyed the scenery along the way, there were many interesting plants and animals to look at(sadly no bears).

After the car ride was over everyone got there equipment out and loaded it on to a big boat called “the lost continent” I thought that was a really cool name for a boat .The boat ride took a pretty long time but that’s OK because I took a nap on the way and I had the best seat on the boat .I watched every one get into their gear and I tried to get into mine but sadly my favorite dive bell would not work so I was not allowed to enter the water with my friends. 

Even though I did not get to go  into the water I watched the others from the boat and they looked like they were having lots of fun. They all had tape measures and were placing down little flags next to artifacts in the wreckage of a ship. After they all came back up from their dive we all had lunch and we talked about the dive so I made sure to get all the details from everyone. After lunch was done they were right back into the water they were swimming around measuring things on the wreck and it looked confusing but they seemed to be doing a good job. 

After the second dive it was raining and we headed back to shore and everyone seemed tired so I let them have their rest. After the boat ride was done we all packed up our things and congratulated each other on a job well done and we called it a day.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Ed helps Dive with Purpose to survey a ship wreck part 1

Hi all.

Well it takes a long time to write up all my experiences, check through all the photographs etc but at long last here is my first blog from my visit earlier in the year with dive with Purpose.

Well I have arrived in the USA to help out with two very important project. First I will be helping the youths from Dive with Purpose in an ongoing project to document a ship wreck and then I will be helping them, restore a coral reef. I can’t wait to get in the water again. My diving bell is too big to transport to the UK and so I only get to explore underwater properly when I am in the USA.

Sharing  a ginger beer with Ken Stewart Director of Dive with Purpose

This will all be new to the Youths so I will get to learn what we need to do at the same time. I did learn about protecting and monitoring shipwrecks back in 2012 when I visited South African Heritage Resource Agency

Here I am with Ken Stewart and the superintendent at Biscayne National Park Brian Carlstrom

 Charles Lawson who is the park archeologist 
Justine Benanty another archeologist

Dave Conlin the Submerger Office Chief

Before we can dive on the wreck we need to practice the necessary skills on land first. 
Everything will be much harder to do when we try to do it underwater.

Ed the Bear on the baseline. The base line  is used to measure the direction and location of an artifact or part of the ship structure.

The students will be using a survey method called trilateration which uses the Side-Side-Side (maths) Theorem to generate a map to scale of the shipwreck. Very complicated for a little bear like me, so I let the youths get started and I helped out where I was needed.

Ed trilsting with Joshua Harrison

Eric Solis
Madison Jack
Rachel Stewart

Julian Perez

Surveying wreck sites used to be done by laying a grid over the wreck and then recording the details in each square. The trilateration technique of mapping doesn’t require permanent grids

Everyone knew what they needed to do and the activity was accomplished with some great team work. 
 Ed and Olivia Ferenczy with insitu (onsite) drawings

Tomorrow we will do it all again, this time underwater on a real ship wreck.

I spent some time working with one of the youths Adrian Baptiste and he wrote the following blog entry.

Adrian Baptiste

Ed the bear here checking in. Just had another awesome day here at YDWP and I can't wait to tell you about it!. So I started my day off with some morning yoga taught by Mr.Kamau, the class was really helpful and loosened my muscles up and got me going. 

The class started at 6:00 and I got to watch the sun go up while I stretched. Later I had some breakfast and went to Biscayne National Park  to do some class work so that I know what to do tomorrow when I go on my first dive. The instructors taught us how to use the metric system and how to do trilaterations and much more. You would normally think that being in a classroom all day would be very boring, but It wasn't, the teachers were very engaging and really made sure that everyone knew the content. 

So as the day continued there were occurrences where a crab would walk into the classroom; now let me remind you that we are in Florida and there is aquatic life everywhere so I guess it's a normal thing down here. So every time a crab would come in there were always someone  who got up to catch them, it was so funny seeing kids run around the classroom getting pinched just to get it out of the classroom, these events only happened a couple of times and after the we continued.

After we listened to all the information the instructors taught us we went straight to practicing outside. 
Practicing was very fun but I couldn't stand getting bitten by all the Mosquitos that were out there today, They were everywhere and I couldn't stand them I basically bathed in bug spray and I needed to get away from them, once  it was time to leave I rushed to the car and was so grateful to get away. 

When I left the park it was around 6:00 the group had dinner at Denny's and I left most of the group to have and early night and to come back to write to all of you. I hope you enjoyed to my post and excited to tell you what happens tomorrow, so this is Ed the bear signing out.