More Than We Bargained For
The official web site for the Monitor Expedition is http://monitor.nos.noaa.gov/.
August 22, 1999 – The weather yesterday was thunderstorms, high winds and heavy seas – so the team took a well deserved day off. As we headed to the site today, the seas were about 2 feet with a steady breeze. The float ball indicated that there was little to no current, so the chase boat crew deployed two aluminum anodes for protection of the wreck as well as the drop camera, supplied by Sartek Industries, for John Broadwater, the principle investigator and chief archeologist, to view the excavation inside the turret. Communications equipment supplied by John Chluski of Swift Current Productions was also utilized so that John Broadwater could talk to the divers operating the drop camera and dredge.
The team assignments for today were:
- Captain, R/V Cape Fear – Dan Aspenleiter
- Principle Investigator – Dr. John Broadwater
- NOAA Historian – Jeff Johnston
- Diving Safety Officer – Dave Dinsmore
- Dive Supervisor – Cindy Creamer
- Diving Medical Officer (DMO)/On deck Standby Diver – Michael Ott
- Dive Medical Technician (DMT)/Chase Boat Support Diver – Glenn Taylor
- Chase Boat Operator – Mike Smith
- In-water Support Diver/Chamber Operator (deep) – Jay Styron
- In-water Support Diver (shallow) – Kyle Creamer
- Research Diver – Chris Cote
- Research Diver – Terrence Tysall
- Research Diver – Tim Gallagher
- Research Diver – John Chluski
- Research Diver – Shawn Douthat
- Research Diver – Doug Kesling
Doug Kesling and Shawn Douthat were in charge of taking more readings with the stab meter and installing the anodes. After getting their readings, they installed the first anode on the turret. A second anode is stage at the downline and is ready for deployment tomorrow. These anodes are made of aluminum and corrode before the iron of the ship, thus slowing the corrosion of the Monitor.
John Chluski and Tim Gallagher shot video of the armor belt and the area aft of the engine room outside and in the small spaces around the propeller shaft. Again, this video will be instrumental in assisting the engineers with the recovery of the engine.
Terrence Tysall and Chris Cote gave a final test to the procedures of utilizing the drop camera with communications equipment while dredging inside the turret. The drop camera and communications equipment worked well, and the turret was found to contain an appreciable amount of dead coral. However, there was not enough time to continue dredging to attempt to locate the Monitor’s guns. At the end of the dive (a 25 minute bottom time), the teams sent the dredge and K cylinders to the surface with lift bags.
While debriefing during our ride back to shore, a call came in from a local dive charter that they had an overdue diver on a wreck dive about seven miles from our current location. We had been in route to their location for about two minutes when a mayday call came in over the radio that a small fishing boat with three people aboard was sinking. They were only three miles from us, so we diverted to assist them. After getting them and thier gear aboard, we headed back toward the dive charter and missing diver. The Coast Guard was also in route, and passed us before we arrived on site. However, we had the luck today (or maybe just the good eyes), because we spotted the diver drifting on the surface about a mile behind the dive charter vessel. We picked up the diver and headed for shore. Score 4 for the R/V Cape Fear!