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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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Thursday July 24, 2003
Somewhere in the Mediterranean Sea

We are already underway when I awoke. The Knorr is a stable vessel. I slept like a log!

We are on the long transit to Istanbul. At 9:30 am. the ship's first safety and security meeting is held. I learned about modern piracy and what to do if we are threatened (watch for "stalking" vessels and use fire hoses to repel boarders).

At 10:30 we have a lifeboat drill. My station is the starboard lifeboat because I have a lower bunk (upper bunks go to port). We muster in the main lab and bring our life jackets and "gumby" suits. People practice getting into the suits. I get some great photos. Then we head to our stations. It's still hot and humid outside!!

After lifeboat drills it is time for lunch (11:30). In the afternoon I worked with Mark DeRoche, the bo'sun of the ROV launch crew. Everyone seems to have multiple roles. Mark reviewed the launching procedures with me. Later, Martin set me to work finishing Hercules' launching cradle.

Later I spend time in the main lab getting to know other scientists and technicians and what they do.

During the evening I learn about the Sea Beam acoustic mapping system installed on the Knorr from two German technicians from L3 Communications. Jorg Brockhoff and Sven Rhode (who happens to be my cabin mate) are on board to install upgrades and to acquire test data. They explain that Sea Beam is for very deep, detailed ocean floor mapping and that most of the time they only test with computer simulations. They jump at any opportunity to collect real data as these opportunities are far and few between. The Sea Beam will be used to map submerged coastlines in the Black Sea. It will be an important tool in the search for and dating of evidence of flooding and sea level change.

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