Earlier this week, 18-year-old Riley Tudor cemented the last stage of his senior project – literally. Though he graduated from Moses Lake High School, Tudor decided to dedicate his senior project to the Edmonds area by creating underwater street signs for the scuba diving park just north of Brackett’s Landing. The four markers, one of which was installed back in September 2013, have cemented bottoms to support the clam-shaped metal signs.
The choice to help the Edmonds underwater dive park for his senior project was natural, as Tudor began diving in Edmonds two and a half years ago while visiting his grandparents John and Kathy Dewhirst, who are Edmonds residents. “I am deathly afraid of heights, so I thought, ‘If you can’t go up, go down,’” Tudor said. He fell in love with the hobby right away. “You feel like you are floating, but there’s no weight on your body… you’re weightless and it’s the best feeling in the world.”
Tudor has since completed his PADI certification through the Underwater Sports dive shop in Edmonds, and holds the advanced open water diving certificate. “I’ve been to Hawaii a couple of times and I dove there, but [Edmonds] is definitely my favorite spot,” he said.
Tudor built the signs in his metal shop welding class at Moses Lake, where he supervised some of the other students as foreman. “I kind of got free run of the place,” he said. “I used the plasma cutter to cut [the signs] in half, separate them, make them a clam-shell sort of shape, and then just weld them back together.” Each of the four signs Tudor made reads “Cathedral,” to mark one of the dive park’s largest pathways.
“Part of the park is laid out like a small town. It’s a very grid-like shape. One of the streets that runs vertically throughout the entire park is Cathedral Way, so [the Parks Department] wanted me to create a way to orient yourself in the park… in case you’re lost, you can help navigate yourself back to the shore,” Tudor explained.
The dive park already holds some underwater signs, including a few reading “Jetty Way” that a Boy Scout built out of PVC pipes and pallets in the past. Tudor’s additions will sit in their clam shape, slightly out of the sand, so divers can see them clearly. “They asked that I cut the holes of the letters out of the metal, so that you could see the light filtering through it, and it would maintain its shape and dexterity,” Tudor explained.
The signs are estimated to survive 20 years before they have to be replaced, a fact that surely contributed to the acclaim of Tudor’s project, which was awarded one of the top 10 senior projects at Moses Lake High School. On Saturday, Tudor will serve as a part of the volunteer work team installing the last three signs in the dive park. See how the signs will be placed by watching Jim Middleton’s September 2013 installation of Tudor’s first sign on YouTube, which we’ve posted on My Edmonds News TV.
— Story and photos by Caitlin Plummer