Phase III – July 28

The skeg is removed – now on board the Weeks 526

The Weeks 526 Navy barge with her crane raised

The Navy divers exit the stage after their last di

The Big Pond

Friday, July 28, 2000 – Today’s participants:
  • Team 1 – Tim Gallagher
  • Team 1 – Chris Cote (NURC)
  • Team 1 – Grant Graves
  • Team 1 – Michael Barnette
  • Team 1 – Ray Blanchard
  • Team 1 – Cyndi Blanchard
  • Team 1 – Andrew Donn
  • Team 1 – Gary Byrd (ECU)
  • Support – Kyle Creamer
  • Support – Terrence Tysall
  • Standby Diver – Tane Casserley (ECU)
  • Chase Boat Support – John Barone
  • Diving Supervisor – Doug Kesling (NURC)
  • DMT – Michael Ott
  • Dr. John Broadwater – Project Director and Chief Archeologist
  • Captain, R/V Cape Fear – Dan Aspenleiter
  • The Mate – Mike Rodaway
  • Shore Duty – Bob Beckner
  • Shore Duty – Bill Gambrill

This morning when we got up, there were a few clouds in the sky and not much wind. This was to be the Navy’s last day on site, and the gods were smiling on them. The seas were calm enough for them to get the trolley down on the bridge and also bring up the skeg. The skeg had been dislodged several years ago and was out of the way when the prop was brought up in 1998. The Navy simply had to cut through some concretion and rig it for lifting. It will be sent to the Mariners’ Museuem for restoration.

When we arrived on site this morning, we had to wait before starting our dive because the Navy was just getting ready to bring their last divers out of the water and pull the skeg out and set it on the deck. We all anxiously watched (and took pictures) of the skeg as it was hoisted onboard the Weeks 526 barge. After this bit of excitement, we were asked to help again by retrieving some tools that the Navy had left on the bottom and securing the trolley to the bridge with chains and shackles that the Navy had staged on the bottom.

The divers reported the visibility to be about 30 to 40 feet with no current on the bottom. We splashed all eight bottom divers at one time for a 25 minute bottom time. They sent the tools to the surface using lift bags and secured several of the points on the trolley. We will need to complete this task on our next dive.

Because the Navy is pulling anchor today, we are planning a day off tomorrow to allow John Broadwater and Jeff Johnston to transfer their materials from the barge to the shore housing. The Cape Fear will use this day to perform some periodic maintenance and the divers will take some R and R while the higher-ups plan the strategy for the remainder of the expedition. Check back in with us in a couple of days!

Send questions or comments to the trilobite.
Questions and Comments To the Trilobite

Nice job guys! The pictures and updates are great. Your little joke on the Navy was classic. Nice to change the name of the participants.
Keep up the good work.

Thanks. Everyone has to have a little fun now and then.

Greetings from your PA family. Your mom gave us the information on the site and that you were diving. This really looks like a neat expedition. We will have to get together sometime in the near future to hear about your explorations.

Ray says, “It is great to hear from you. We are having a great time working on a piece of history. We look forward to getting together with you; of course, once we start talking about diving the Monitor, we may never shutup!”

I love the new response system. It is just what the site and the members needed. I think I will come down tomorrow to check you out.

Of course you love it, you have to.

Thanks for your response to my questions. What is EXO-BR-MS underwater breathing apparatus?

Diving Systems International’s military version of their EXO BR Full Face Mask (MS stands for Military Standard).

I noticed the Navy log (quoted below) for the Monitor Expedition on 7/26-7/27 differed somewhat from the CF log. Are there more details?

“NOAA divers continued mapping the engine room and began removing debris at the base of the engine. This area will be excavated to clear the engine for lifting next year. The NOAA dive team also left a surprise for the navy team today. When the two navy divers returned to the stage for their ascent, they found matching red and green plastic sand shovels and buckets (navy divers are designated Red Diver and Green Diver). On each bucket was written, “U.S. Navy Mark I Mod I Jr. Salvage Divers Kit.” Navy divers are already planning retaliation.”

Sometimes we just can’t help ourselves. They also left out one other small detail – the surprise was left by a Navy veteran.

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