St. Paul Tells SCUBA Crew, We Need Your Help
Scouts Doing A Good Turn
‘SCUBA HELP NEEDED’ BSA Scuba Venture Crew 820’s Advisor Dean Soderbeck received this plea on August 7th from the City of St. Paul’s Park and Recreation Program and Facility Manager Tyler McKean. Tyler requested help retrieving two lost rudders at the city’s sailboat mooring site.
“One of the sailboat rudders was lost over the weekend’s weather, and another due to bad luck. We have pretty good idea on their location; they are in about 30 feet of water near the buoys at Phalen Lakeside Activity Center.”
Unfortunately, the majority of the scouts were busy the next few weekends with their high adventure dive outings. This is when Lisa Weis, one of BSA Scuba Venture Crew 820’s DiveMasters, saved the day. Ms. Weis and her friend and fellow diver, Diane Farley, jumped in and met sailing instructor Bryon Toole at the Phalen Lakeside Activity Center at noon Sunday, August 12th. The two women geared up as Bryon described the locations where the two sailboats were when their rudders disappeared. Entering the water on the hunt to find the first rudder, Ms. Weis and Ms. Farley started their descent at one of the mooring chains. They said the water clarity was like looking through lemonade at 4 feet down and the two divers could hardly see each other at 15 feet down.
The 53 degree water temperatures and heavy silt at 15 feet made the search challenging. They scoured the area near the moored sailboats, searching with their hands in three long passes, but only found fishing lures and trash. After searching the lake bottom for 40 minutes their air tanks were getting low so they returned to shore to swap out tanks. Changing out to full 3000psi air tanks, they headed back out to the location where the second rudder had gone missing.
Ms. Weis described this search: “I couldn't see a thing at 20 feet down, but suddenly I felt tugging on my dive flag rope, so I ascended to the surface to discover an elated Diane with the smaller aluminum rudder! We swam it back to shore and handed the rudder to Byron who said, ‘they don't make that boat anymore and parts like the rudders are impossible to replace!’” Ms. Weis and Ms. Farley made one last dive by the other moored sailboats looking for the first rudder. “We swam through some amazing visibility near the bottom...an abyssal plain with 10+ feet of visibility within 12" to the bottom as long as you did not touch the silt. Swimming out farther than were they thought the rudder was lost, diving deeper we passed through another thermal cline the water temperature dropped to a brain freezing 48 degrees. After a half hour searching at 30 feet down, it was getting late in the afternoon, we were getting colder, plus running low on air, we started to make our way back, suddenly coming out of the silt bottom was a single tree standing up...there aren't trees down there! I reached down and pulled on what I thought was a tree branch, and to my surprise it was the tiller handle and out came the rudder. We found it! I waggled my light at it and around in a circle to show Diane we'd found our quarry!
It took both of us to swim it towards the surface and I tied it into my flag line so it couldn't return to its watery resting place.” Floating the rudder back to shore on the dive flag float, the women handed it over to Bryon who was thrilled and astounded that two female divers, volunteers with time on their hands on a Sunday afternoon, found those two rudders. He quickly squirreled away those rudders before they could get pictures, unfortunately. But the women did a quick selfie with a note on her dive slate saying "Found"! Divers Log; 1 hour 10 minutes for two dives. Water temp 48 degrees at 30 feet. Average depth of the two dives was 20 feet deep.