2016 AAUS Lee Somers Internship – Week One!

Week 1 (6/6/2016-6/12/2016)

My 2016 OWUSS-AAUS Lee Somers Scientific Diving internship began with a road trip from Aurora, Colorado to Athens, Georgia. The trip was long, but I am excited to be here now. The first week of my internship was dedicated to getting all of the necessary paperwork and dives completed in order to process my Letter of Reciprocity (LOR) as an AAUS Scientific Diver with the University of Georgia (UGA). I have been working with Dr. Scott Noakes, the Diving Safety Officer (DSO) for the University System of Georgia. Scott took me on a tour of the UGA campus on Monday. The UGA Marine Science building has an indoor pool, which is where I did my confined water check-out dive with Scott on Tuesday. Then, on Wednesday we traveled to Lake Jocassee, which was about two hours away in South Carolina. We met one of Scott’s students from his recent semester-long scientific diving course at the lake and we did three dock dives. The lake was very cold, probably the coldest water I have experienced to date. We were able to hit 105ft maximum depth in the lake, which was pretty awesome and very cold.

My next big adventure was on Friday when Scott and I drove to Atlanta, GA to visit the Georgia Aquarium which is also an AAUS institution. The aquarium is very impressive and has the second largest exhibit in the world. The Ocean Voyager exhibit holds 6.3 million gallons of water, four whale sharks, manta rays, and many more incredible marine organisms. Scott and I were able to dive in this exhibit during the daily dive shows that the dive program staff and volunteers put on for the aquarium guests (see photos). The dive locker for the Ocean Voyager exhibit at the Georgia Aquarium was massive. They set us up with their dive gear and we hopped in. Diving in Ocean Voyager was incredible. It is not particularly realistic because of the diversity and the quantity of fish in the exhibit, but it was truly a VIP diving experience and I thoroughly enjoyed my time visiting the Georgia Aquarium. We also watched the aquarists feed the whale sharks in Ocean Voyager and then toured behind the scenes of the Tropical Diver exhibit and peeked in the massive filter room for Ocean Voyager. The Georgia Aquarium is truly a great facility which works to spread conservation messages, teach people about the threats to the world’s oceans and they also conduct various field research projects.

Myself and a bump head wrasse

Myself and a bump head wrasse

A manta ray  in the Ocean Voyager exhibit

A manta ray in the Ocean Voyager exhibit

Scott Noakes and I in the Ocean Voyager Tank

Scott Noakes and I in the Ocean Voyager Tank

 

Next, I will be traveling to Skidaway Institute of Oceanography in Savannah, Georgia where I will spend the remaining time of my internship working there and diving offshore of Georgia.

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Week 3: Floating Along

I didn't have any internship-related photos from this week, so here's one of me paddle boarding on downtown Orlando's Lake Ivanhoe on the Fourth of July. Love this city!

I didn’t have any internship-related photos from this week, so here’s one of me paddle boarding on downtown Orlando’s Lake Ivanhoe on the Fourth of July. Love this city!

They say if you can get a job doing what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. This is how I feel working at Scuba Diving and Sport Diver.

I can’t believe my internship is halfway over! I’ve learned so much already, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of my time here at Bonnier will bring.

This week was shorter, because we had off for Fourth of July, but it was incredibly busy. The managing editor of Scuba Diving, Ashley Annin, was out for the week at a friend’s wedding, and because we ship the magazine to the printer next week, I had to take over some of her managing editor duties. I was in charge of printing pages as they were ready to edit, putting them in folders to circulate the office, editing them and keeping our production tracker updated on the progression of pages. I had to print most of the magazine on the same day, and it was very fast-paced and commanding. I’m glad I got to take over these responsibilities and see just how the magazine operates when it’s crunch time. Everyone put in so much work that day to get things done on time, and it made me appreciate the Bonnier team even more.

This week I also wrote my first print story for Sport Diver. It was a dive brief about an archaeological site in Florida. I had great interviews with my sources — the kind after which you hang up the phone and know exactly what you need to write. I turned it in Tuesday, and Patricia, the editor-in-chief of the dive group, called me into her office Friday to talk about it. She had a few good changes, but she said she loved the piece overall. She said it was a blessing to have me in the office. What a compliment!

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Week 4: Pointing and Shooting

(From left) Becca Hurley, Robby Myers and Ashley Annin shoot at Alexander Springs.

(From left) Becca Hurley, Robby Myers and Ashley Annin shoot at Alexander Springs.

Thanks to Roger Roy, the gear editor of Scuba Diving and Sport Diver, I got to go diving again during my internship! I went with Roger, Ashley, Robby and the Dive Group digital editor, Becca Hurley, to Alexander Springs to test underwater cameras, including a SeaLife camera, a DSLR in waterproof housing, GoPros and and an Olympus point-and-shoot.

Robby takes a photo of Ashley with a point-and-shoot camera in waterproof housing.

Robby takes a photo of Ashley with a point-and-shoot camera in waterproof housing.

Alexander Springs is a smaller spring and swimming area in the Ocala National Forest. Despite going to school in Gainesville, which is about a half-hour drive from Ocala, I’d never been there before, so I was excited for the dive.

We met at the office at 7:45 a.m. and loaded up my Jeep with tanks, gear and a rolling cart. Then we caravanned an hour to the spring.

It was already pretty crowded when we got there, so we got our gear on quickly to try and beat dive classes to the boil.

A bass swims in Alexander Springs with Ashley and Becca in the background.

A bass swims in the beautiful Alexander Springs with Ashley and Becca diving in the background.

After playing around with the cameras we tried out full-face masks, which were a little bit weird to me. It just doesn’t feel right to be able to breathe regularly underwater!

The spring is beautiful. It’s clear as glass and full of friendly fish, bright green eelgrass and white sand. It was great to work with the different cameras and capture my co-workers in their element.

 

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2016 NPS / OWUSS Intern – Denver

Hi there! My name is Garrett Fundakowski and I am the 2016 Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society National Park Service Research Intern!

This summer I have been given the opportunity to travel the country to live, work, and dive alongside leading underwater archaeologists, photographers, and research scientists in our nation’s National Parks. Thank you to both the Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society and the Submerged Resources Center for their overwhelming generosity in putting together and funding this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Last Saturday, following a late night filled with packing and repacking and triple-checking my lists, my parents dropped me off at the Philadelphia airport to send me on my way. I was both excited and nervous to start my journey! To kick off the non-stop summer of adventures, I spent my first week at the SRC office in Denver, Colorado.

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I landed in Denver Saturday evening and stayed the night with my friend Abby and her family. To make sure I really hit the ground running (pun intended), I joined Abby and her father for the Stadium Stampede 5K run along the Platte River in downtown Denver bright and early on Sunday morning before heading over to meet up with Jessica Keller, an Archaeologist for the SRC and my gracious host for the week.

After settling in, Jessica and I quickly got acquainted and bonded as we watched the epic season finale of Game of Thrones. The next day we carpooled to the office, where I was given my visitor’s badge and a tour of the facility. As the remaining SRC crew entered the office, I was greeted with warm smiles and friendly faces; it wasn’t long before I was joking around with everyone else. Since everyone had just gotten back from various projects and this was one of the only times everyone would be in the same place all summer, Dave Conlin, Chief of the SRC, gathered the staff for a meeting to debrief the most recent projects and discuss the travel schedule for the group for the next few months. It was fascinating to see how the whole operation works from the inside.

After the meeting, I sat down with Brett Seymour, Photographer and Deputy Chief of the SRC, and laid out my own schedule for the summer. This summer, my travels will take me from St. Croix to Hawaii, Florida to California, and even as far out as American Samoa! Having only ever dove in the Caribbean, I am extremely excited to head out to the Pacific later this summer and be exposed to an entirely new ocean and its fauna.

The following day, Jessica and I spent all morning at Presbyterian/St. Luke’s Hospital. In order to dive with the NPS, I need to acquire a Blue Card. The Blue Card is the NPS’s diving certification and it not only requires passing a written test and demonstrating physical fitness and diving skills in the water (which were scheduled for later in the week with Brett), but also visiting a hyperbaric doctor for a dive physical to ensure their divers are in tip-top shape before getting in the water. After squeezing me in for a last-minute appointment, Dr. Clem cleared me to dive barring my results from the required medical assessments were normal. I managed to get a chest x-ray, blood work, and an ECG done at P/SL in one day, with my audiology appointment scheduled for the following afternoon, earning myself the “record” for the fastest intern dive physical.

The remaining hours of the day were spent in the dive locker with Brett, pulling gear for my summer travels. In the past, some interns have visited places where colder waters necessitated packing a dry suit, but as I won’t be venturing too far north, I will only need a standard wetsuit. We fit me out with a wetsuit, a shortie, rashguards, booties, gloves, swim trunks, and a BCD, as well as a variety of SRC apparel that will serve as my uniform for the next few months.

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That night the SRC had their annual summer barbeque. Steve Sellers, the National Dive Safety Officer, and his family graciously had the entire office over for a delicious potluck dinner. Not even a little light shower could stop the SRC crew from firing up the grill and laughing around the table.

Aside from that, the rest of the week went smoothly. I was a bit nervous for the Blue Card test, but being a former swimmer of 13 years has given me a calm disposition in the water and helped me complete even the daunting “ditch-and-don” skill. In fact, my previous swimming experience really came out when Jessica took me to Underwater Hockey practice. After a quick orientation to the rules and a couple rounds of observation, I joined in on the chaotic mess at the bottom of the pool. Admittedly I committed a couple fouls, but I managed to shimmy my way to the puck and score a few points by the end. And I was playing alongside some of the men and women who have competed for the National Team, so I consider it an accomplishment to have scored a goal or two. Overall, it was a ton of fun and I would definitely do it again!

When Saturday finally rolled around, I had some time to explore the rolling hills of Colorado and go on a hike before my flight left the following morning. I hiked up Green Mountain just down the road from the SRC office and it provided a breathtaking view of the city in the distance. A spectacular way to end my stay in Denver!

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The next morning, Dave dropped me off at the airport and I was on my way to St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands to work at Buck Island National Monument!

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Thank you to the entire SRC staff for being so warm and welcoming! You invited me into your homes, let me stay on your couch, took time out of your day to teach me new software, had me over to join in on board game night, talked to me about my future career plans, introduced me to your family, assisted me in the process of arranging travel, and tailored my journey to fit my personal career goals. Without you, this internship would not be possible. Once again, I am thrilled to have been given this opportunity and am amazed at how willing each of you are to help me on my journey to discover my passion. I hope I make you all proud!

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Blue Grotto: Week 2

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Week 2 at Bonnier was a blast because I got to go diving! Holding an internship during which you’re surrounded by scuba 24/7 but at a desk 40 hours a week is tough; you want to dive more than ever, but it’s hard to find the time.

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The crew sets up gear while our videographer does test shots.

Luckily, this week I got to get my fins wet at Blue Grotto Dive Resort in Williston, Florida, with Scuba Diving’s gear department, ScubaLab. We were filming ScubaLab TV spots in which an underwater videographer films staff members diving with different pieces of gear. The divers test gear like computers, regulators, wetsuits and BCs and give them scores in a number of categories such as ease of use and effectiveness.

 

2015 OWUSS Intern Robby Myers hovers underwater at Blue Grotto. How does he do this? Well, he’s just that awesome.

2015 OWUSS Intern Robby Myers hovers underwater at Blue Grotto. How does he do this? Well, he’s just that awesome.

Blue Grotto is fantastic. I got to use a SeaLife camera for the first time to take my own photos (half of which did not turn out — hey, I’m used to just a GoPro, not a whole mini rig), and it was fun to capture some of my co-workers underwater.

My favorite part of Blue Grotto is its friendly resident softshell turtle Virgil. He’s very curious and nice, and he’ll come right up to you to check you out — and see if you have any food for him.

 

Here I am with Virgil, the resident softshell turtle. Usually softshells can be very aggressive, but Virgil is the nicest turtle I’ve ever met.

Here I am with Virgil, the resident softshell turtle. Usually softshells can be very aggressive, but Virgil is the nicest turtle I’ve ever met. Photo by Robby Myers.

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Mary Frances Emmons, the deputy editor of Scuba Diving, tells what she loves about the Suunto Zoop Novo dive computer.

Another part of the ScubaLab TV shoots is stand-ups, in which the divers are filmed talking about their favorite aspects of the gear.

In all, it was interesting to see what exactly went into shooting the videos, and of course, any day diving beats a day in the office.

(Special thanks to Dive Group editor-in-chief Patricia Wuest for letting me borrow her 5mm wetsuit!)

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Jumping In: Week 1 at Bonnier

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Here I am at my desk at Bonnier.

My first week as an intern at Bonnier has just come to a close, and I couldn’t be happier.

Monday was a great introductory day. I met the whole team, including the editor-in-chief of the dive group, Patricia Wuest, and the managing editors of Sport Diver and Scuba Diving, Andy Zunz and Ashley Annin, respectively. I also saw Robby Myers, the 2015 OWUSS intern who currently works for the dive group. I had met him in New York during the OWUSS awards weekend in April, and it was great to see a familiar face in the office. One thing I was surprised to find out was that not everyone who works at these magazines is a diver. Impressively, even as non-divers they probably know more about the sport than half of the divers out there.

By Tuesday I already had assignments piling up: book reviews to write, articles to edit and web pages to create for Scuba Diving. I worked mainly on the reviews, skimming six books that ranged from an autobiography to several fish identification guides and writing short blurbs about their content. I also worked on one of Scuba Diving’s Ocean Action briefs. Ocean Action is the section in which they highlight a conservation effort and how readers can get involved. The brief I wrote was about International Coastal Cleanup, which is supported by the Ocean Conservancy and Project AWARE and aims to get people picking up trash on the shore and while diving.

Wednesday I got to help out on my first photo shoot. It was to shoot dive computers in Bonnier’s photo studio. I’d never been involved in something like this before, and it was really interesting to see what went into getting each shot perfect. Depending on the details of each computer, different props and stands had to be used. Also, the kind of lighting and positioning that worked for one computer was completely different from the next, so there were a lot of test shots to get the desired image for each piece of equipment.

Scuba Diving's photo editor, Kristen McClarty, holds a dive computer to be photographed.

Scuba Diving’s photo editor, Kristen McClarty, holds a dive computer to be photographed.

Thursday morning I wrote my first piece that was published on Sport Diver’s website. It was a promotion for Shark Week on the Discovery Channel that included a few paragraphs of text and the schedule of what was airing when.

Thursday afternoon and nearly all of Friday I sat in on Sport Diver’s 2017 planning meeting. This is when they map out every issue of the year, come up with stories and flush out ideas for different features of each issue, such as best dive sites to see certain animals, good tips for divers and things of that sort. It was really cool to see how the team comes together to plan an entire year’s worth of content, and I’m glad I got to share that experience.

Can’t wait to see what the next week has in store!

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PRESENTATION BY DR. JOE MACINNIS AT THE 0WUSS 42ND ANNUAL AWARDS PROGRAM

CLIMATE CHANGE: Anyone Can Change Everything
Dr. Joe MacInnis
Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society®
42nd Annual Awards Program
New York Yacht Club
April 16, 2016

 

IT’S AN HONOUR to be in your company. Each one of you from Rolex Scholar to intern, from
supporter to sponsor, confirm what can be done when good people do small things with great love.

A month ago, Jim Corry and Lionel Schürch of Rolex SA in Geneva asked me to talk to you for ten minutes about climate change. My heart sank. How do you describe the planet’s most pressing environmental problem—a biological crime scene—and our response to it—in 600 seconds? Faced with the possibility of certain defeat on this stage, I did what any ancient diver would do. I sat down and opened a bottle of black rum.

As the days passed and my anxiety increased, I kept thinking of the words from the Rolex Spirit of Enterprise mission statement: “Anyone can change everything.” An electric call to action. “Anyone can change everything.” But, for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how to use the words in my speech.

Two weeks ago, I’m in a service station filling my Toyota Prius. I put my credit card into the slot and look at all the cars and trucks. Black Cadillac. Ford Fusion. Big Hummer. An 18-wheeler sucking up diesel fuel. This is a front-line of climate change. This is where energy-intense carbon molecules really hit the road.

I ease the nozzle into my gas tank. During my lifetime, I’ve done this more than a thousand times. When you factor in all the ships, trains, and planes I’ve taken, I’m a poster boy for global warming. On the plus side, I’m a nation builder. My fossil fuel payments support the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

As the gas runs into the tank, my mind drifts to New York, this stage, and the speech I can’t write. I think of rising sea levels in Manhattan. There will be water taxis on Wall Street. Wind surfing on Park Avenue. At the New York City Yacht Club, you’ll go to the front door, walk out on a pier, and hail a yellow gondola.

I look at the cash window on the gas pump: $10 . . . $12 . . . $15. I’m more than a poster boy for climate change, I’m a carbon addict. Every day, in one form or another, I mainline diesel fuel, jet fuel, natural gas, and plastics. For years, I thought ExxonMobil and Volkswagen were ethical companies. I know I need help.

I pick up my receipt, slide behind the wheel, and drive off. The good news is that I’m in rehab. I have weekly sessions with my fellow addicts. We tell stories of binging on tail-pipe emissions at the Indy 500. People we know buying mega-stretch Hummers with a helicopter pad. But we exchange encouraging information. How 150 nations came together in Paris to sign a climate change agreement. How cities from New York to San Francisco to Toronto are shifting to green energy. How inspiring institutions and individuals including World Wild Life, Greenpeace, Bill McKibben, Naomi Klein, and Justin Gillis are showing us what we can do.

My rehab assignment this week is to produce a short guide about climate change, and how we can adapt to it. With Rolex’s assistance, we have printed copies for each of you. Please read it. Absorb it. Pass it along. Take action. And remember . . . When it comes to minimizing the effects of climate change…with leadership and passion, “anyone can change everything.” Thank you, Jim and Lionel. It’s been a pleasure speaking to you. Justin Gillis Article

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PRESENTATION BY DR. JOE MACINNIS AT THE 0WUSS 42ND ANNUAL AWARDS PROGRAM

CLIMATE CHANGE: Anyone Can Change Everything

Dr. Joe MacInnis
Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society®
42nd Annual Awards Program
New York Yacht Club
April 16, 2016

IT’S AN HONOUR to be in your company. Each one of you from Rolex Scholar to intern, from supporter to sponsor, confirm what can be done when good people do small things with great love.

A month ago, Jim Corry and Lionel Schürch of Rolex SA in Geneva asked me to talk to you for ten minutes about climate change. My heart sank. How do you describe the planet’s most pressing environmental problem—a biological crime scene—and our response to it—in 600 seconds? Faced with the possibility of certain defeat on this stage, I did what any ancient diver would do. I sat down and opened a bottle of black rum.

As the days passed and my anxiety increased, I kept thinking of the words from the Rolex Spirit of Enterprise mission statement: “Anyone can change everything.” An electric call to action. “Anyone can change everything.” But, for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how to use the words in my speech.

Two weeks ago, I’m in a service station filling my Toyota Prius. I put my credit card into the slot and look at all the cars and trucks. Black Cadillac. Ford Fusion. Big Hummer. An 18-wheeler sucking up diesel fuel. This is a front-line of climate change. This is where energy-intense carbon molecules really hit the road.

I ease the nozzle into my gas tank. During my lifetime, I’ve done this more than a thousand times. When you factor in all the ships, trains, and planes I’ve taken, I’m a poster boy for global warming. On the plus side, I’m a nation builder. My fossil fuel payments support the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

As the gas runs into the tank, my mind drifts to New York, this stage, and the speech I can’t write. I think of rising sea levels in Manhattan. There will be water taxis on Wall Street. Wind surfing on Park Avenue. At the New York City Yacht Club, you’ll go to the front door, walk out on a pier, and hail a yellow gondola.

I look at the cash window on the gas pump: $10 . . . $12 . . . $15. I’m more than a poster boy for climate change, I’m a carbon addict. Every day, in one form or another, I mainline diesel fuel, jet fuel, natural gas, and plastics. For years, I thought ExxonMobil and Volkswagen were ethical companies. I know I need help.

I pick up my receipt, slide behind the wheel, and drive off. The good news is that I’m in rehab. I have weekly sessions with my fellow addicts. We tell stories of binging on tail-pipe emissions at the Indy 500. People we know buying mega-stretch Hummers with a helicopter pad. But we exchange encouraging information. How 150 nations came together in Paris to sign a climate change agreement. How cities from New York to San Francisco to Toronto are shifting to green energy. How inspiring institutions and individuals including World Wild Life, Greenpeace, Bill McKibben, Naomi Klein, and Justin Gillis are showing us what we can do.

My rehab assignment this week is to produce a short guide about climate change, and how we can adapt to it. With Rolex’s assistance, we have printed copies for each of you. Please read it. Absorb it. Pass it along. Take action. And remember . . . When it comes to minimizing the effects of climate change…with leadership and passion, “anyone can change everything.” Thank you, Jim and Lionel. It’s been a pleasure speaking to you.

Justin Gillis Article

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