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Journals 2003/2004

John Langella
East Providence High School, East Providence, Rhode Island

"Deep water excavation of ancient shipwrecks in the Black Sea"
R/V Knorr, Black Sea
July 22 - 29, 2004

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Tuesday July 22, 2003

I met the team members staying at the Crowne Plaza at 7:30 am. We checked out of the hotel and were shuttled to the shipyard where the Knorr is being repaired. Still no word on my luggage from Alitalia. I'm starting to get worried, the ship is scheduled to depart today. Cathy Offinger gives me a rundown on the ships layout and procedures and gives me a cabin assignment. I've got 1-33, meaning its on deck 1 but the Knorr has a strange layout. Some deck one cabins are on the main deck and some are one the deck above. My cabin is on the upper level.

I worked with Tom Orvosh until lunch. He gave me a rundown on the underwater acoustic communications systems. We work running data cable to the transponder below the lower lab to the control van. This transponder, wired as a responder will communicate with the ROVs.

I met with Jim Newman, Todd Gregory and Sarah Webster. They are the main design engineers for Hercules. They are still putting the ROV together! Hercules is pretty impressive, as big as a mini-van. They do a good job of explaining how it was designed and built.

Called Alitalia again, no bags. They say to call after the 2:30 flight from Milan comes in.

I left the ship with Martin and Sarah and a few others at 1:00 pm and checked in to the Park Hotel. The ship can only have so many persons on board when it does its dockside and sea trials of the repairs to the forward thrusters. After checking in and showering, I head out through the town looking for places to buy clothes, if Alitalia doesn't come through. It seems most stores are closed from about 2-4 pm for "siesta".

About 4:00 pm I call Alitalia again. Thank God! My bag is at the airport! To pick it up they require my passport. I have to explain that my passport is still on the ship (Captain Colburn has collected all passports on board for Malta security). After about 15 minutes I talk them into accepting my drivers license and a copy of my passport.

To get to the airport I take another taxi (another wild ride, this time with "Tony"). Later I learned from the crew to look for cabs that still have side view mirrors! At the airport I have to go through security and paperwork, but finally get my clothes.

I get back to the Park Hotel about 6:00 pm, find Martin and get an update on the ship. More delays and sea trials. We'll stay overnight in the hotel. I grab a bite across the street at a Chinese restaurant then go for a walk along the ocean boardwalk. It seems that everyone comes out at night when it is cool. There are many families with children and babies, all the playgrounds along the water are full as well as the waterfront cafés and it is almost 11:00 pm!

I walk about 4 miles then turn in for the night.

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9 > 10 > 11 > 12 > 13 > 14