A few posts down, you will see a write-up regarding the passing of a close friend and dive buddy, Yasuko Okada. She had an accident while diving on the wreck of the Arundo on July 31, 2010. Exactly one year to the date, several friends, as well as her family, returned to the Arundo. Our mission was to place a granite memorial on the site, as close as possible, if not right on, the site where this happened. With the incredible help of many friends, this went off without a hitch.
At about 3 pm on Sunday, July 31, 2011, the Okada family boarded the Gypsy Blood dive boat from Brielle, NJ, along with eleven divers, with some of their family. The 173 pound memorial was loaded onto the boat, as well as a large bin of loose flowers. After the 15 mile ride out to the Arundo, we set in motion a plan that seemed to work. The memorial was rigged with a 150 pound lift bag and a 40cf bottle, and lowered to 15 feet with a heavy rope. Three divers, Joe, Sunny, and myself, entered the water and began the task of inflating the lift bag and lowering the memorial to the bottom. With the assistance of the belaying team on the boat, we placed the memorial at about 108' on the wreck. The next team had the task of moving it from his spot to the anchor line. While they were doing this, another team was searching for the final resting spot for the memorial, and marked it with a line from the anchor line. Once the memorial was moved to the anchor line, another team moved it from the anchor line and followed the reel line to its final resting spot. The divers included Stephan, Dan, Shelly, David, Sherwood, Elliot, Sunny, Joe, myself, and Rob. We also had supurb surface support from Jim, Bart, Craig, and Kera, as well as Carl.
After all divers returned safely, there was a flower ceremony where not a word was spoken for what seemed like an eternity. All we could hear the spash against the hull of the boat. It was golden silence while we reflected on the loss of Yasuko and what she meant to each of us.