Manta Divers August 2010
For the last 14 years, Mike has been obsessed with finding a St. Christopher medal that was lost at the bottom of Little Fork Lake, in the face of great odds and an ongoing chorus of naysayers, this year he prevailed.
It was the summer of 1996 and the Bain family was spending a week enjoying the north woods of Wisconsin. The Bain boys, Dylan and Boomer, and a couple of their friends were horsing around on the neighbor’s raft, knocking each other into the water. Determined to get the best of his big brother, Boomer charged at Dylan and grabbed onto his life vest, accidentally hooking the gold chain that carried the St. Christopher medal Dylan got for his First Holy Communion. Dylan was quick enough to grab the broken chain, but alas, the medal sailed through the air and plunged into the drink. When such losses occur, everyone has their own unique response. Boomer felt so bad to have caused the loss of his brother’s special remembrance. Dylan was angry with his brother for breaking his chain and at himself for forgetting to remove the chain before entering the water in the first place. I had moved toward acceptance of the loss and planning to replace the item, but Mike was already pondering how the medal could be recovered.
Over the years, when we came up to our cottage, the conversation would come around to the lost medal. “It has to be just laying down there; we know just about where it fell,” Mike would say. I would counter, “Some fish ate it, or it has been moved elsewhere by the ice, waves, or weather, “ “How could you hope to find such a small thing in this whole lake?” “Can you even see anything in that dark water?” Occasionally, we would bring scuba gear with us on vacation and look around, but we never got lucky.
Since opening our dive shop, we have been called upon to search for many lost items in lakes and quarries. We started to do it just for the fun of getting wet, but it is also a challenge to plan the search and to engineer the recovery, especially when the item is large, heavy or unwieldy. This July, we planned the shop’s first ever search and recovery weekend, planning to find anchors that were hooked on various underwater obstacles: fish cribs, logs, downed trees, etc. and then work with lift bags to bring them up. I was conducting an open water class by our cottage a few days before the search and recovery weekend and with unusually clear water, I got a chance to really look at the lake’s underwater topography. The bottom is sand with a thin layer of silt over the top. Stirring up the silt meant zero visibility: a perfect way to assess a student’s buoyancy control. This information, though, provided fuel for Mike’s obsession with finding the medal.
The next day we headed to our friend’s lake for the official search and recovery event. We found and recovered 3 anchors, a cell phone, and a propeller, but nothing tops the recovery of the medal!
In other news.....
Get your reservations in to join Team Manta on 2011’s tropical adventures!
January 8-15, 2011 we have a date with the whale sharks that cruise past Utila! This phenomenal deal includes 3 boat dives per day, including 2 night dives, a whale shark presentation, accomodations at Utila Lodge, one bottle of wine per room and ALL MEALS. The price is $2260, but ask about our cash/check payment discount.
Of course we offer a discount for those paying with a check or cash! $500.00 holds your spot.
March 12-19, 2011 will find Team Manta in Bonaire. Our trip includes one boat dive per day, unlimited shore diving, unlimited nitrox, breakfast daily and accommodations in a 3 BR condo at Buddy Dive resort. The cost is $1935, with a discount for cash or check payment. If you are not nitrox certified, I am offering $45 off the price of the class for travelers.
Congratulations to our newest team members, Jim Rutkowski, Sheryl and Jerry Brandes, Dominique Bain, and Jake Jahimiak.