Back in May of 2003, Captain Kujo received a call that took him on a quest for history, for renewal, and for knowledge. As a member of the Submerged Cultural Resource Unit within the National Parks Service, the Captain has had many opportunities in the past to dive some of the richest cultural sites in the country. Lake Powell. Lake Mead. The Amistad. Dry Tortugas. The Everglades. You name the place, and the Captain has probably been there with his dry suit on. This time it was the folks at the USS Arizona Memorial in Hawaii who made the call.
Oil Leaks from the USS Arizona
Ever since the ship was sunk in the Pearl Harbor attack in 1941, oil has been leaking from the USS Arizona. For the longest time, until the 1980s in fact, nothing was done about it. But as times changed and as people became more conscious of the environment, efforts began to examine the leaks with the ultimate goal to put an end to them. But first they had to study what was going on, find out where the oil was coming from and how much of it was leaking per day.
That’s where the Captain came in.
“They wanted me to build a unit that could trap the oil as it leaked from the ship,” says the Captain. “I put together a nylon structure that had a wetsuit sleeve at the end of it. When submerged, the whole thing stood up like a tent so it could capture the oil for further inspection.”
Thanks to the Captain’s work, they now know that the Arizona is leaking from 2 to 9 quarts of oil each day, depending on conditions.
The Captain didn’t just go straight to the ship and start diving. He first went through the whole memorial experience on the beach, and then took the solemn boat ride to the monument on the water. “You could tell you were at a cemetery,” he said. “You get the sense of the sacredness of the place. It’s hallowed ground.”
To this day, the USS Arizona houses over 1100 sailors and marines who were killed in the massive explosion that sunk the ship. The site is also an active cemetery. Veterans who served on the ship and survived the attack have the option to be buried there after they pass. Some survivors have their ashes spread over the water. Some choose to have their cremains taken under water by Navy divers to be placed in the ship’s gun turret #4.
It’s a touching reminder of the horrors of war, and the unthinkable sacrifice that the men and women of the US military made to give us the freedoms we hold dear.
The Captain says he was honored to be a part of the exploratory mission in 2003 and still holds a certain amount of satisfaction knowing that his efforts aided to solve at least a small puzzle in relation to the USS Arizona. The Captain and USIA are always ready to help, because, as we say, it’s not just equipment, it’s a lifestyle.
Sources: nysfda.org | wikipedia.org | nps.gov
Divers…what do you do when the inside of your drysuit gets wet? Okay, okay, I know. It’s called a DRYsuit. It’s supposed to stay dry inside. But life happens. People sweat. Condensation occurs. And then there are the unexpected events, the not-so-happy little accidents that we divers endure on a dive-by-dive basis. We can accidentally flood our suits or, dum-dum-dum…we can suffer the worst of indignities, a leak!
Any way you slice it, if you dive dry, despite your best intentions, you won’t always be dry. Most of the time that isn’t a big deal. Just turn your suit inside out and hang it in a cool, arid place for a few days and it will be dry. But what if you don’t have a few days? And what if you don’t have a suitable place to hang your suit to dry? Storing away a suit that is still damp can cause all kinds of problems from mold and mildew to odor and worse. A drysuit is expensive, and proper care can increase its life, thereby giving you a better return on your investment. So I ask again…what if you need to dry your suit fast?
Search the dive forums and chat rooms and you’ll find all sorts of clever home remedies for drying the inside of your dive suit. Nylon hose (pantyhose) filled with kitty litter is reported to do the trick. So does wadded-up newspaper. There are specific products made for this type of moisture removal, but they are basically just glorified silica gel crystals. While some of these solutions might work, they aren’t exactly foolproof, and some may take a long time for the drying process to complete.
Divers can be pretty ingenious inventors when necessity knocks on the door. Homemade devices and contraptions can address wetness inside a drysuit. But these are big, cumbersome setups made from PVC tubes and vacuum cleaners, fans and heaters. While they may be useful, most of the DIY designs are not at all portable or easy to use.
Boot dryers are an obvious solution, but these devices are specifically made for boots, not for whole suits. And, while they can dry your suit, it is not ideal. In order to fit your suit over the dryer, a certain amount of the material must be “bunched up,” folds which can eventually cause ruptures in the material.
From the website: “TriDri is a simple to use telescopic tube device with a small low voltage fan powered from any USB socket.” Sounds simple, but the genius is in the telescoping tube, which not only makes the unit easy to apply and use, but also makes it supremely portable, a must for sports people on the go. It is also a great solution for commercial divers, military frogmen, police and fire search and rescue personnel, and many more. Here’s more from the TriDri people: “We have the gut feeling that seals last longer when you wash the suit out regularly. Normally this doesn’t happen because they are so hard to dry. So far we have had great feedback from divers who have started using TriDri to dry the insides of their suits.”
Right they are! Seals do last longer when they are cleaned regularly, but many divers ignore this crucial step, mainly because it is so inconvenient and, as the TriDri people have stated, it takes too long to dry the inside of the suit. Now, with TriDri, that is a problem of the past.
Sources: tridridiving.com | scubaboard.com | scubadiving.com