BY JODY BARKER
Randy Rush and I were dive partners last August on the Aucilla at the Latvis/Simpson site. It was your typical, hot afternoon in the northern Florida Panhandle with a pleasant breeze. This would be my first experience with underwater communication. We would be able to communicate between each diver and also with the divemaster on duty topside via radio sets built into our full-face AGA masks. We had low visibility in the dark tannic-stained water. We were "hogging" out overburden sediment with the six-inch dredge. We had been down for a little over an hour, and the one thousand watt snooper light was giving us a hard time. The light blinked a few more times and Elnally went out completely. Randy called upstairs to advise them he was sending me up to get a hand-held light to finish out our shift. Now you have to understand one thing about Randy, he has been a professional diver for many years. Traveling around the world doing commercial diving he has acquired an expertise in getting the job done efficiently. He has a tendency to be on the serious side, where, an the other hand, (which would be my left), we sport divers are not quite so serious. A few minutes later I returned with the hand-held light, and operations resumed. Randy was using the shovel, while I held the dredge in my right hand and the light with the other. We were hunkered down, going to town, cooking on the front burner, going through that overburden sediment as if there were no tomorrow! Well, just about that time the light got just a tad too close to the dredge and "whom!" in the blink of a eye, it sucked that baby right out of my hands and right up the hose! We both watched the light go up through the transparent hose all the way to the surface where it would be discharged unceremoniously onto the screendeck. I was laughing so hard I could hardly stand it. Looking over into my partner's mask, all I could see was Randy's patented "I don't believe this" look. About then, our radio silence was broken by the divemaster on the surface, "Hey, big boys, did you lose something?" I took a deep breath, and with a calm, cool, collected, even official sounding voice, I keyed my mike,
"YES, RANDY DID, OVER!"
Diving Operations Supervision
PHOTO Joe Latvis
Reprinted with permission, St. Paul Dispatch, St. Paul Pioneer Press, "Route About", Winter-Spring 1980
Andy Hemmings desired to be an archaeologist ever since he has been able to define the word. Archaeology is the study of past cultures and their remains. As might be expected, Andy collects fossils and has about eight arrowheads he found at a building site near his home. However, Andy's pet hobby is gathering something some people feel is reflective of our culture - beer cans.
As a result of can collecting, the upper half of the back wall of Andy's bedroom looks like a montage of beer commercials, row after row of beer cans held up by clips. That is only a sample of his collection. The majority of it is in storage. He has been at it for three years.
"I started collecting with a friend," Andy said. "Of course I had to try and outdo him. It just stuck."
Andy also enjoys playing on the St. Peter's basketball team. He is in 7th grade. His favorite subject is history. In fact, he is taking an evening course in Minnesota history, through Oneida Community College with his father.
"The question I would like to answer is 'who was in America first and why,"' Andy said. "If someone said Columbus, all I'd have to do to defeat them is say, ‘how come the Indians met him?".
In spare time, Andy likes to read 17th century historical books. But he keeps pretty busy. He has had a newspaper route for four years. His major plans are to buy a car and to go to college. He has one sister, Shannon, 10. They have three cats, Buttons, Spook and Bits.
PHOTO Michael Faught
PHOTO Joe Latvis