Letters to the Editor
Dear Dr. MacFadden,
It has been a long time since we last talked. I thought of you and my past adventures as I read the current issue of the Aucilla River Times (Vol. XI No. 1 March ’98).
1968 was my last year in high school and I was doing a lot of scuba diving in the Aucilla, St. Marks, and Wakulla Rivers. A friend of mine, Charles Parker, called me and said he had met Dr. Richard Ohmes and that Ohmes needed some divers to help get some mastodon material from the bottom of Half-Mile Rise. I had no idea where I was going but met Dr. Stanley Olson for the first time this day. This was the first time we all had seen the mammoth remains on the bottom near a cavern entrance and I remember everyone making a big deal out of it. I guess it was the best specimen found to that date.
Enclosed is a picture of me when I was about 18 years old. Dr. Stanley Olson is in the background with his two sons, who are now grown. Dr. Ohmes is hanging off an intertube in the water, which was his trademark when resting. The photo was made by Charles Parker who died last year of a blood disorder. I had sent Charlie the only pictures I had two years ago so he could write to the FSM about this experience. I did not know if he ever did, so I thought I’d write. All the bones collected that day (including a mastodon skull) were taken to Dr. Ohmes home in Chaires, Florida. I never saw Dr. Ohmes again nor the bones. I did read about FSM diving the site around 1970 and collecting the remainder of the specimens. We had to sink a row boat full of hay in shallow water then roll the skull into a boat and bail it out until it floated.
Time is really flying past. It doesn’t seem like 30 years ago.
Dear Dave, Your article on page 18 of the 1998 Aucilla River Times titled “Coring is Not Boring” brought to mind how the first attempt to core “the Sloth” was done. It might amuse Sloth Hole workers. My equipment was a length of rope, a four foot length of pipe and a ten pound sledge hammer. I drove the pipe down a couple of feet into what I judged was the deepest part of the Sloth Hole and fastened the rope around the protruding tee, clambored back in the boat and almost swamped it before the suction broke loose. I finally managed to obtain a six inch core. Disappointed, I tried again. Same result. Fortunately there was no one within earshot to hear my cussing. The “cores” sent to Dr. C. Vance Haynes in Texas, were, as I expected, useless.