Ron Sylvester / Las Vegas Sun
Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012 | 2 a.m.
Workers never know what they’re going to find at the bottom of the bay at Treasure Island.
Shopping carts, baby strollers, even a heavy concrete trash receptacle are among the items found when workers drain the 1.5 million gallon Siren’s Cove for its annual maintenance. Since Dec. 3, the bay where "The Sirens of TI" plays nightly has been empty for painting and repairs.
Steven Frey and Wayne Miller are technical directors for the free show that provides a big boost to casino revenues, as the songs of the sirens literally lure people off the street.
The show reopens Wednesday, and more than 4,000 people are expected to pack around the dock to watch the show on New Year’s Eve.
Throughout the year, divers try to keep the reservoir clear of debris that can be dangerous to cast members, who dive into the water.
“Some people just look at this as a big trash receptacle,” Frey said
When it’s time for cleanup, the strangest things end up on the bottom.
Here are some of the more unusual items that have ended up beneath the surface:
Yes, there are real treasures to be found at Treasure Island. “You can sit up in the booth during the show and see the couples get in arguments and watch them as they throw their engagement rings and wedding rings into the water,” Miller said. “They then make up and come to us asking to get their rings back. We send in a diver to find it. Most of our crew is dive certified.”
They may float at first, but even paper bills eventually sink and become worthless. “You see them on the bottom when your down there, but when you try to pick them up they just disintegrate in your hand," Frey said.
The first couple of years after Treasure Island opened in the fall of 1993, the casino tried to collect the coins at the bottom of the bay and donate them to the Red Cross and Opportunity Village. But by the time workers scooped them up, they were rusted and worthless. "Only about one in 30 you can use,” Frey said. “The rest you can’t tell the denomination.” Still, the coins reflect the economic climate. “Since the recession, we’ve found about one-fourth of the coins we used to find,” Miller said.
Dolls, action figures and various plastic toys end up at the bottom of the bay. Frey and Miller stuck one of the dolls that washed up into the show's control room onto an electrical panel as a mascot.
“Some people just drop them in, others get thrown in after a fight,” Miller said. “It’s like the wedding rings. People will throw their spouse’s, boyfriend’s or girl friend’s phone into the water.” Moral of the story: Try not to get in arguments in front of TI.
Other remnants of domestic spats. Men like to throw things into the water when they get angry, apparently.
They might not be found at the bottom, but people get so enthusiastic during the show that some jump into the water. Usually fueled by liquid courage, they nearly always regret it. “This water isn’t heated, and it can get very cold,” Miller said. “And people will jump in and get washed back into the wave machine. If you get an arm or leg caught in there, you’re taking a trip to the hospital.” It’s not an easy place to swim. Even people wanting to perform in the show find jumping into the bay is more of a challenge than a still pond or swimming pool. Many have to be fished out by divers during auditions.
These are the most dangerous items, and they turn up frequently. “New Year’s Eve, we’ll have it all cleaned out, and the next day there will be 50 wine bottles in there,” Frey said. Divers are vigilant about keeping bottles out of the water, because they pose hazards to the pirates in the show, who plunge off the ship. “Someone didn’t see a dark bottle one night, and one of the cast members hit it with their head and just started gushing blood,” Miller said. “Some guy had just chucked it in right before the diver went off the ship. We saw it from the tower. Security immediately 86ed him from the property.”
That’s plural. Usually a wheel is missing, signaling it had broken and the owners disposed of it by throwing it into the water.