By Holly Perdue, Graduate Research Assistant - Texas A&M University
July 24, 2012
Our fifth day out to sea was once again filled with challenges that our group overcame by working together, in conjunction with the crew of the R/V Wheatherbird II. Mother Nature's wrath poured upon us throughout the morning. Winds were approximately 10-12 knots with sea swells between 3-5 feet. The morning was utilized assessing the needs of the expedition and assigning tasks to do to assist in the daily upkeep of the dredge. One dive was completed and confirmed that the dredge hose was clogged. In fact, the last 80 feet of hose was filled with lodged sediment and shells.
By late afternoon, the gloomy skies and downpours dissipated enough to recover the 200 feet of hose back onto the deck to clear the clog. This portion of the recovery was an adventure itself, as it took the entire excavation team and much of the vessel's crew to heave and hoist the hose. Donned in hard hats and bright orange safety vests, after 1 hour and 6 minutes of teamwork, we successfully accomplished our immediate goal. Once this gear was secured and a new dive plan was created, a short dive was completed to recover the buoy, which was tangled with the anchor line.
Following dinner, the second dive re-deployed the buoy and completed a reconnaissance for a secondary unit to dredge for Wednesday. This second dive was a complete success. A new rock outcrop was identified along the edge of the Paleo river channel. Deeper sediments were identified in this particular location. The datum pole was hammered to a minimum of 5 and a half feet with further room to go. This 27 minute dive concluded with the five divers surfacing with big smiles for having located a spot with so much potential! We anxiously await the arrival of Wednesday, as we will begin to uncover the mysteries that await us a mere 3 feet under the sand.