Phase I – July 26

The Cambrian Team

The wreck of the Monitor

Mike fills out diver debriefing form

Diver debriefing form

Archeology class on the Monitor


Before heading out this morning, a group photograph was taken. The boat left the dock at about 0730 and again arrived on site about 2 hours later. The boat crew was unable to locate the NOAA sub-surface buoy. So, Terrence and Kyle did a free drop several hundred feet up current from the wreck in order to drift into the wreck as they descended. The current was still very strong, and they passed over the wreck before encountering the NOAA sub-surface buoy line. They swam down this line and over to the wreck. They then deployed a downline on the Danforth anchor next to the turret.

The strong current of the Gulf Stream presented difficulties for the team and prohibited some divers from reaching the Monitor. Chad Roberts, Cyndi Blanchard, William Kikta, Shawn Douthat, Richard Harless, Michael St. Germain, and F.R. Hetzel accomplished their tasks which included site orientation, deterioration assessment, and identification of datum markers along the port and starboard sides from stern to the midship’s bulkhead, as well as thoroughly securing the downline. An unknown object was discovered lying in the sand approximately 100 feet from the turret which resembled a radar tower and is probably of modern origin. Future dives will reveal the identity of this unknown object.

After diving on the Monitor, each diver must fill out a Diver Debriefing Form. This form is used to produce the quick look and final reports that we must submit to NOAA after the expedition. Here, Michael St. Germain fills out a debriefing form.

The form contains the date, diver and buddies’ names, assigned tasks, information about the planned dive, actual decompression schedule, gases used, surface and bottom conditions (visibility, current and temperature), tasks accomplished, photograph and video logs, comments and artifact information.

This evening concluded with an interesting presentation by Dr. John Broadwater on the history and future of archeology on the USS Monitor. He discussed the previous archeological expeditions on the Monitor since 1979 and the evolution of equipment and techniques utilized on these expeditions. Other topics included Monitor history, recent deterioration of the wreck, and future conservation operations. He also elaborated on future plans to stabilize the wreck and preservation of the steam engines and turret over the next few years.

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