On Tuesday night July 27, 1999, the Cambrian Foundation presented it’s first ever award, the Giant Stride. The name of the award is derived form the water entry technique used by divers of the same name, and given to the individual that has helped the Cambrian Foundation make “Giant Strides” in it’s mission of protecting and understanding the aquatic environment.
The recipient of this prestigious award was the financial director of the Cambrian Foundation, Mr. Kyle Creamer. In an extremely emotional address by the Cambrian Foundation President and Founder, Terrance N. Tysall, a brief history of the Foundation was explained and many members, sponsors, and directors were recognized for their dedication and assistance throughout the years. He then singled out Mr. Creamer and explained to the assemblage just a sampling of the many highlights of Kyle’s work with the Foundation. In a presentation that was often paused to control heartfelt emotion, Terrence presented the award to an equally moved Kyle Creamer. The ceremony was closed with the first public viewing of the Environmental Hero Award presented to the Cambrian Foundation by the Vice President of the United States earlier in the year. It is through the tireless efforts of Mr. Creamer and others like him at the Cambrian Foundation that Giant Strides are being made in the Research, Education, Preservation, and Exploration of the Aquatic Realm.
Once again Mother Nature attempted to impede Cambrian Foundation divers from reaching the wreck of the USS Monitor. When arriving on the site, Wednesday, July 28, 1999, no surface markers could be seen. The forceful currents managed to drag the floats attached to the previously established downline nearly 100 feet under the water. Surface divers succeeded in locating the down line and raising it back to the surface. Without the aid of this line, divers would have been forced to attempt a more demanding free descent to the wreck. Despite the current, all the divers deployed successfully made it to the wreck.
Research divers from Team 1 continued their work from yesterday by placing more positioning markers along the port side armor belt at 10-foot increments. Starting from the tip of the bow, Richard Harless Ray Blanchard, and Chad Roberts laid down markers at the 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, and 60-foot points. This critical task will continue during future dives until the length of the boat is covered. Andrew Donn accompanied Team 1 and filmed video of Richard, Chad, and Ray to record their scientific measuring procedures.
William Kikta, Shawn Douthat, and Mike Armstrong of Team 2 identified, cleaned, and relabeled datum point markers from the Monitor’s bow. They confirmed the bow anchor well marker, number 18, as well as markers 2, 10, 14, 16, 23, 30, and 32. The datum point markers were labeled with florescent tape for easy identification and surveying on later dives. They also marked an artifact off the port bow for further examination.
Terrence Tysall and Kyle Creamer, on the video team, captured footage through the ship’s engine room and galley. Encrusted gauges and ancient linkages resting on the bottom for over one hundred and thirty-six years were once again illuminated by the video camera’s light. They also examined an unknown bowl shaped object, possibly one of the ship’s illusive heads. This artifact will be tested and verified for possible safe removal.
Safety divers, Joachim Pleil, Tony Bielawski, and the crew of the Miss Lindsey were on the ball for the recovery of divers. The teams of bottom divers gathered together on the ascent line yet had to separate due to fierce mid-water currents. The first group of 4 divers broke off and deployed a lift bag to the surface where a support diver entered the water to provide cover. Meanwhile, the second group of 5 divers remained on the breakaway line and then executed a normal breakaway. A second support diver was deployed on this group. The crew of the Miss Lindsey skillfully recovered entire team. The Cambrian divers performed their post dive briefing immediately after the dive. In addition, they completed their diver debriefing forms while the data gathered during the dive was still fresh in their heads.
Support diver, Joachim Pleil, continued the EPA Oxidative stress analysis study by collecting breath samples from his test subjects, Cyndi Blanchard, Chad Roberts, Kyle Creamer and Terrence Tysall.