Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Piano

An Attempt at a new dive site at White Star Quarry

At a family gathering my sister-in-law tells me that she has an awesome idea. Sink her Piano in the quarry. She had been trying to sell it/give it away/get rid of it for over a year and no one wanted it. It was an antique, a little out of tune but not old enough to have ivory keys. An old player piano with the player removed. It was something rarely even looked at let alone played.

Needless to say I jumped at the chance. A Piano sunk in a quarry would be an awesome conversation piece and a really cool dive site. My wife and I grabbed the pickup and drove over to pick it up that evening.

Saturday morning at White Star Quarry we arrived with a Piano on the back of my pickup truck. Needless to say it drew a lot of attention and a number of people were eager to help move it into the quarry. Many of my staff were there so help was plentiful. Getting a 300lb (ish) piano into the quarry would be kind of difficult but not impossible. I was planning on attaching floats to it so we could move it easily but not sure how negatively buoyant it would be proved a difficult thought so we decided to just dump it in and then figure out how to lift it and move it. Dropped off the wall into the quarry taught me and the other people a valuable lesson none of us would have otherwise learned.

As heavy as they are and nearly impossible to move, Pianos Float!

It took about another three hours to rig up a weight to sink it to the bottom... The plan was to weight it down, Let it water log and then move it to its final resting place. It took nearly 100lbs to get it to the bottom... there, suspended from the weight and floating upright it made for a spectacular photo opportunity. I was excited about the new addition to the quarry and the chance to take pictures of something rarely seen underwater. Heading home that evening I was looking forward to the dive on Wednesday to check it out.

Wednesday morning my dive buddy, Kevin showed up and we were getting ready to dive when the Operations Manager of the Park showed up and asked if I knew anything about a piano that had been put in the quarry. My first thought was "how did he know?" We hadn't told anyone about it yet. That's when I learned the second lesson about piano sinking.

Old pianos are almost entirely assembled with water-soluble glue.

As it turns out, most of the piano floated up in its component parts and had to be retrieved from the surface of the quarry. It had disassembled itself over the three days underwater and we didn't have much left other than the sound board and part of the base which had metal components. Still cool to look at but not much resembling the piano it once was.

Lots of lessons learned. You can find the remnants of this cool idea lying on the bottom near throne mountain in the center of White Star. Should be something to see for the years to come.

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