Day 1 on the Monitor
Monday, May 1, 2000 – Today’s participants:
- Team 1 – Ken Johns (NURC)
- Team 1 – Kyle Creamer
- Team 2 – Grant Graves
- Team 2 – Ken Schneider
- Team 2 – Pete Goutmann
- Team 2 – Mike Armstrong
- Team 2 – Frank Cantelas (ECU)
- Team 2 – Gary Byrd (ECU)
- Support – Steve Sellers (ECU)
- Support – John Barone
- Support – Carl Saieva
- Standby diver – Conrad Pfeifer
- Chase boat support – Tane Casserley (ECU)
- Chase boat/Chamber operator – Tim Gallagher
- Dive Supervisor – Terrence Tysall
- DMT – Doug Kesling (NURC)
- Project Director and chief archeologist – John Broadwater (MNMS)
- Monitor historian – Jeff Johnston (MNMS)
- Captain, R/V Cape Fear – Dan Aspenleiter (UNCW)
- The Mate – J.D. (UNCW)
Once again, we looked to the weather forecasters and hoped for good news. They were calling for calm conditions early but turning worse as the day went on. The conditions looked great when headed out this morning at 0800. We planned to dive in two evolutions with team 1 responsible for deployment of the downline and recovery of the current meter that we put down last year. Team 2 would deploy after team 1 was back on the R/V Cape Fear and had been given a briefing of the conditions. They would deploy the safety trimix cylinders and get an overall view of the wrecks condition with video.
We are utilizing our standard procedures for a Monitor operation, which were developed by the Cambrian Foundation and NOAA during early expeditions. We have a standby diver on deck ready to deploy to the bottom in case of an emergency. There is also a chase boat with a support diver to deploy on a lift bag in the event that one or more divers are swept off the wreck or decompression line. And, we have in water support divers, deployed off the Cape Fear, that are sent down during a normal ascent at a specific runtime to check on the bottom divers during decompression, to supply extra gas if needed and to report to the surface personnel. There is also a dive supervisor and a DMT (Diving Medical Technician) on deck.
The underwater conditions were far better than they had been during the tune-ups. We had about 50 feet of visibilty and the water temperature was 72 degrees on the surface and 70 degrees on the bottom. There was a slight current, and we were able to establish the downline. We also recovered the current meter and ended the dive at 14 minutes. Decompression went smoothly, however, when we reached the surface, the sea state had increased dramatically. A front was moving into the area and the weather was going south rapidly. Despite the favorable underwater conditions, Captain Dan and the Terrence decided to suspend diving because of the difficulty in recovering the divers.
The forecast for the next two days is not good, but stay tuned . . . you never can bet on the weather. For further information about the project, check out the official Monitor National Marine Sancuary web site and the Mariners’ Museum Monitor web site.