Friday, November 5, 2004
Brett Seymour is the
underwater photographer and production coordinator for the NPS Submerged
Resources Center (SRC) based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. His primary
role within SRC is to document underwater field projects and work with
media partners to communicate NPS stewardship of underwater sites to the
Preservation in Public Places
The early start times and forward momentum Matt spoke of yesterday were
quickly eroded Friday by the two most powerful forces in the universe,
the weather and the US Navy. The downpours of yesterday were with us all
day today. I realize that many would question the professionalism of an
underwater archeology team making such a big deal over some rain. (Yes,
we have all heard the related comments about getting wet anyway.) It is
amazing how torrential rain just sucks the energy right out of you. And
that’s coming from a fortunate member of the team. I was in a wetsuit
all day. Dr. Johnson, Randy and Dave were not so lucky.
Dave, Dr. Johnson and Randy brave the elements in the name of science.
Photo by Brett Seymour, NPS.
Even though we battled through the forces of
nature, we were no match for the US Navy. Early in the morning, just
when we were reaching stride, we found ourselves dead in the water, so
to speak. While Art and I were retrieving our stealthy little 18-foot
Whaler from the Navy pier, Harbor Control cleared the massive aircraft
carrier Abraham Lincoln to enter Pearl Harbor. There we sat,
requesting permission to transit and the US Navy had locked down the
harbor. It was very clear who runs Pearl Harbor. The thought of sneaking
off the pier and motoring the short distance to the Memorial quickly
dissipated when the Harbor Police passed with a manned .50 caliber on
the bow. Art and I looked at each other with that “I dare you to go”
Our “inconvenience” actually was a stirring
site to witness. As is tradition for the US Navy, ships that pass by the
USS Arizona man their decks with sailors, dressed is crisp white,
giving salute to fallen brothers. There was something moving about all
those sailors motionless, at attention, in the pouring rain. After
nearly an hour and several requests to Harbor Control, security had
accomplished whatever they do to make safe a floating city and we were
on our way.
USS Abraham Lincoln enters Pearl Harbor. Photo by Brett Seymour,
Today included more ultrasonic thickness
testing of Arizona’s hull. But as the title of the update
suggest, it was primarily about working in the public places. Working in
direct view of roughly 4,000 visitors a day is something we have become
familiar with during our years at Pearl. Today those masses were huddled
into the few dry, protected confines of the Memorial. As has been noted
previously, we make great efforts to limit our visibility so as not to
distract from the visitor experience on the Memorial. Our limited cable
length on the UT probe mandated we work briefly from an “inconspicuous”
location on the Memorial itself. On a positive note, we finished the
remaining UT measurements with success, something that has eluded us in
previous years with this type of science. Jay Schraan and Randy Jones
deserve a great deal of thanks for their dedication and expertise they
brought to this part of the project.
The public looks on as UT measurements continue. Photo by Brett Seymour.
Kelly Gleason, a NOAA Maritime Heritage intern and PhD candidate
from East Carolina University, joined our team today. Our goal was to
introduce her to research on Arizona and impress her with our
streamlined operation. Her first dive consisted of seeing all of a
twenty foot section of Arizona’s hull and surfacing repeatedly in
an oil slick to retrieve UT probes. We did our best to explain the
science, I'm not sure how did on the "streamlined operation" part.
Regardless, Kelly will be joining us periodically through the project.
A new member of the team, Kelly Gleason, experiences the benefits of
diving at Pearl.
The last action item for the day was to
epoxy the areas we have removed the encrustation to re-establish a
barrier to prevent accelerated deterioration. Dave and Jenni were up to
the task and managed to work through both the starboard and port sides
in the course of a dive. So tomorrow, we will push forward the frontiers
of science yet again. The good news is there more rain in the
forecast. . . .
Dave applies epoxy to fill the sample areas
from ultrasonic thickness. Photo by Brett Seymour, NPS.