Project Baseline Weekend – July 24-26 and the SoCal GUE Team of Fulks, Fulks and Millington

We are proud to report (okay…”Blog”) that our efforts in building Project Baseline: Lake Tahoe were immeasurably supported July 24-26, by a SoCal contingent of GUE trained divers that took their personal time to come to Reno and support New Millennium and its Project Baseline: Lake Tahoe endeavor.  The overall weekend goals were two fold.  Mission One, establish the fifth underwater, Project Baseline: Lake Tahoe, monitoring station at Bliss State Park and Mission Two,  conduct two video transect dives along the Rubicon Wall (between Bliss State Park and Emerald Bay) at 150 feet, recording the spread and growth of attached algae (periphyton) at depths far below that which present science is recording (15 feet to the surface and above).   

Pete, Trevor, Martin, Steve and Marc (L-R)

New Millennium divers Martin M., Marc B. (Boat Captain) and Peter F., along with GUE Instructor Steve M. of LA SCUBA Diving and Trevor F. of Partial Pressure Productions, all GUE trained divers, not only accomplished the goals mentioned above but all enhanced their personal connection with the underwater world, supported science in understanding better what is happening below the surface of Lake Tahoe and by their very actions, effected positive change for the future of the lake. Thanks Martin, Marc, Peter, Trevor and Steve! 

The first Mission, (Friday, 24 July) was to establish the monitoring station on the underwater sandy point where the beach at Bliss State Park ends and the granite wall begins.  This monitoring station contains a depth and temperature gauge, distance markers every 10 feet away from the station benchmark that allows divers to accurately determine visibility and a station placard that identifies the station and provides instructions for use.   
Our video here shows the work that was done in successfully establishing this station but what it does not show is the almost 1 knot current flowing north up and over the abyss of the Rubicon Wall.  We all enjoyed the fresh water flowing by.


If you can not view the video above, click here.

The total Mission time was about 45 minutes in the water with 30 minutes on the bottom setting up the station as a team.  The station rests in 25 feet of water.  Temperature was 62 f and the visibility was just 40 feet; not quite what you might expect for Lake Tahoe.  

[Station GPS location: 38.999598, -120.095012]
Mission two was to be conducted during two separate deep dives along the Rubicon Wall.  Dive One took off right from the newly established monitoring station (Friday, 24 July).  The divers descended quickly to a depth of 150 feet and began a video transect at this depth looking at the growth and spread of the attached algae (periphyton) on the massive boulders and granite walls this area is famous for (video below)… 

It was an eye opener for all! This algae, and in some places a type of “sponge” growth (probably another type of algae) was present along the entire transect and became more prolific as the divers came shallow to complete their decompression.  

Some of our equipment, at waters edge –
waiting patiently for someone to claim!
Dive Two (Saturday, 25 July) was a continuation of this deep transect from Dive One’s ending spot to just about 1500 yards north of the entrance to Emerald Bay.  On Dive Two, much of the same algae and sponge growth was noticed.  The divers also reported three distinct thermocline levels (dramatic changes in the temperature of the water).  One at 60 feet, then again at 90 feet and the final thermocline at 120-125 feet where the water temperature was between 44 and 46 degrees Fahrenheit.  Visibility was also very inconsistent; at depth the divers we experiencing about 30-40 feet but shallower and toward the end of the dive, the visibility improved to about 50 feet.  Deeper there seemed to be a lurking “white cloudy” substance in the water.  

Dive One – 157′ w/ total run time of 87 minutes / Dive Two – 154′ w/ total run time of 75 minutes

We leave you with this thought:  
Environmentally speaking, globally, which is what we support, our personal efforts are, “to effect positive change within the world’s aquatic environments that are measurable in terms of improvement within our lifetimes”.  The sad fact is that science by itself is incapable of achieving this.  What is needed is you, us,“society” to become involved and the only way that is going to happen is to reconnect people with the world outside (underwater in our case) and visually demonstrate to them (“Baseline Shift”) how our world is being effected by “society” and our decisions for energy, transportation, living, etc.;  bottom line….What society today is doing to our world; specifically underwater in our case. New Millennium, Global Underwater Explorers, Project Baseline and Project Baseline: Lake Tahoe all feel strongly that this re-connection of the “people” to the outside world (underwater) is going to be the fuel for environmental improvement.  


The Dive Team – Trevor, Martin, Pete, Gil (Rescue Support) and Steve

Steve at the 22 minute, 20 foot decompression stop.

Peter and Trevor also hanging at the 20 foot stop.

Martin, “Hey guys…wait for me”!  Lagging behind as usual!