A few members of Oconee Dive team assembled at Cain Creek Landing on Lake Keowee to test the county's SeaBotix ROV just back from repair. And then dive a new DESCO Mark 5 Helmet, and test the new Air Control Station.
This was an impromptu gathering due to not having a Mark 5 Umbilical until last night. Members present where D. Hardin, S. McClung, Jeff Dover, and B Kinder. We had a number of children present along with several bystanders, that happened to be near the area and noticed the activity.
After a successful test of the ROV, we set up the dive station. Bob dressed out in the Mark 5 with the assistance of Margarita, Jeff and Sam, just as it became time for the weight belt Dallas drove up and helped get it in place. Then came the heavy weight shoes, followed by the helmet and umbilical. With a lot of help Bob waddled down the boat ramp, and out into the water, using a Mark 5 for the first time in over 30 years. As the water lapped over the lights all proved watertight.
After a few tests it was off to a great walk on the bottom of the lake. Visibility was 6 to 7 feet the water was cold the excitement of diving vintage equipment had the effect of not noticing the cold. It was great bouncing across the lake bottom. All was fine for the first 10 minuets, until the car appeared; topside heard the words we have a vehicle, to which all believed a joke was being played. After a few questions, Oconee Sheriffs office was notified. An initial evaluation was performed confirming the windows where down in the front driver and passenger windows. All doors where closed with no external sign of damage to the car.
We deployed the ROV to the car in order to fix the position, once the ROV reached the car; Bob walked back to the boat ramp, and with the assistance of all returned to street clothing. After a few moments of discussion, Bob refused to muddy up the Mark 5 dry suit just to hook up a car. The team went after Dive 1 and the Trailer, along with a little more modern equipment. On arrival we deployed a second Umbilical, with lights and video. Jeff and Dallas, dressed out in Viking Dry Suits with mated helmet yokes, all equipment was tested Jeff and Dallas put on the teams Kirby Morgan 37 helmets, and proceeded into the depths of Lake Keowee, following the ROV Umbilical to the car.
On arrival the car was rigged for a recovery, after several problems where encountered the car was successfully recovered. Divers where observed by the ROV during this mission. Helmet cam back to the surface confirmed the rigging. This was a perfect mission, and a perfect way to break in a Mark 5 helmet. It just does not get any better, ROV worked great, new Umbilical worked great, new air control box worked great, and best of all we got a taste of what the old timers went thru using a Mark 5 to investigate a Car under water.