Phase I – April 10

divvies up tasks

Team set to splash

Artifacts are mapped before recovery

Support diver/web updater Nat

A group of local teachers

Items recovered today off the wreck

Back in the Water Again

Tuesday, April 10, 2001
Wind reports at 4AM were reading 25 knots at the tower and the pessimistic Captain Dan thought that we were a ‘no go’ again for today. By 7AM the winds slacked to 10 knots, so divers loading aboard the R/V Cape Fear and were underway to the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary by 8AM. Though it was a little choppy for the ride out, it laid down during the dive. The temperature gods were not with us today, though. Surface water was a chilly 56 degrees Fahrenheit and we didn’t hit the thermocline until 130 feet, where it changed over to 68 degrees Fahrenheit. The gulf stream took a vacation.

The down line surface float was not visible (actually it broke free and is floating somewhere out in the Atlantic) so the team of five divers were splashed and conducted a free drifting descent. Wewere close, but we missed the wreck by about 150 feet. We ended up down current by the NOAA subsurface buoy chain (chain mooring placed by the Sanctuary years ago). We traversed the bottom until the shadow of the wreck came looming in the distance…then went to work.

Terrence took MNMS’s video camera and captured shots of the floor (now the ceiling in the Monitor’s present position)of the engine room and determined attachment points of the Worthington pumps. Pete and Conrad began artifact collection (and were later joined by Tami). The dynamic duo worked to excavate a bowl , lantern and a glass globe that was located inside the armor belt in the stern on last year’s mission. The brass lantern top came up as well as a glass tube and a brass container top. Tane and Tami continued measurements on the ELF (Engine Lifting Frame) plumb-bobs…but because of the current, were sent frantically searching for hand holds to avoid getting blown completely off of the wreck.

The 4:30PM meeting at MNMS’s Headquarters went well, the video was reviewed and tasks were assigned for tomorrow…more artifact excavation. We also need to rescue NURC’s safety tank, regulator and lift bag. Hopefully the weather will cooperate, the forecast suggests that we may have a window again tomorrow morning.

Cambrian divers were join by Captain Dan and Mike R. for dinner at South Shore Grill in Frisco, NC. The group surprised Nat Robb and picked up his dinner in thanks for supporting for the whole mission. Now that you’ve done your time…the bottom awaits in third phase.

While out eating dinner, the team met a group of local teachers. We are looking forward to educating their students later this summer during phase III.

Productivity at its finest:

Captain- Dan Aspenlighter (UNCW)
Dive Supervisor – Jay Stryon (NURC)
Chamber Operator/DMT- Doug Kesling (NURC)
Principle Investigator – John Broadwater (MNMS)
Bottom Divers
Pete Goutmann
Conrad Pfeifer
Tamara Ebert
Terrence Tysall
Tane Casserley ( MNMS)
Support Divers
Mike Barnette (NOAA)
Nat Robb
John Barone
Sweat Diver
John Barone
Zodiac Support
Nat Robb
Mike Rodaway (UNCW)

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

Hey wish I was there .Take care.
Your friend Ken Schneider

We miss you, but we’re sure that you wouldn’t miss the exceptionally rough seas!

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