ML 137977


Interview 2:29 - 47:03 Play 2:29 - More
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Bruce Cowden, Erv Garrison  






Archaeological diving  

Sound Effects 31:47 - 32:33 Play 31:47 - More
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Scuba diving  







NPR/NGS Radio Expeditions
Jun 1997

  • United States
  • 32.0 km E of Sapelo Island; Gray's Reef National Marine Sanctuary
  • 31.4   -80.93333
  • Marine
  • Ocean
  • Stereo
    Sampling Rate
  • 48kHz
    Bit Depth
  • 16-bit
    Equipment Note
  • Stereo=1; Dual-Channel Mono


BC=Bruce Cowdin
EG=Erv Garrison

On board, about to begin dive

O0:2:25 ** FX Breathing [just before diving]

02:43 BC: I'm staying on this side of the line

EG: I'll be on the far side of the line.

02:50 Be: Somebody want to give me some slack on this. Cause I'm going to slip into the water....And cool off for a Minute because it's very uncomfortable. Set to go, you're clear

3:12 Into water and down

EG: Dana, you need to hand Bruce the grid.

EG -How :you doin' down there?

BC: I'm doing pretty good

3:41 FX Breathing as go down

4:15 C : slate from above [First archaeological dive of the day]

4:20 -5:46 * Ambi: Good breathing as dive down with little talk

6:26 EG: *OK, Let's go to work

6:57 BC: *Uhh. nice and murky down here

6:59 EG: *yep, lots of stuff in the water

7:21 Be: My ears are ok, About 30 feet no\",

7:45 Be: Starting to see the bottom now EG: Bottom coming up Be: I think I'm just going to go down
EG: I'll take the tape and run it out on the bearing you give me.

8:09 BC: OK, My depth gauge is showing 55 feet on the bottom.
Hook your tape in here, and I'll give you a bearing off it when you go out and stretch it to the distance you want

CT: You guys are max on .:your line. we're at the end of the the anchor'//working back towards the boat.

[conversation re. laying out tape. Erv, come left, BC: left a little bit more....

10:30 BC: *There's a little back sea bass following me around. Oh, look at that, a little pink porgy!
11:22 EG: "We're marked at 31 feet.
12:38 -13:38 EG: what we did was we took the tape and the grid down to the anchor, then we attached the tape, regular carpenter measuring tape, and unreeled it for 51' out on a (?] direction -which Bruce says is due east then we took this one meter PVC grid and we swam it out to a place all along the patch reefs which are just outcrops covered with sponges and invertebrates, and what Bruce is doing now is fanning away the sediment within the grid square looking for fossils.

13:46: BC: What I've got is a little limestone area.... see fossil shell stuff in there, nothin real exciting in this spot. It's like finding that needle in a haystack. Just got to go down there and probe around and knock away the sediment, every little tiny piece, kind of like forensic guy on TV, might be a little something in there that tells you a story, if investigate further might be something good there. Just looking for telltale signs ..... . C]: Any biologicals .... corals, sponges?

15:10 BC: Oh, all around me. As soon as I start stirring up this stuff down here, get whole bunch [describes] very pretty down here. Stirring up a lot of excitement. Letting loose a lot of animals, fish feeding on them. I think everybody's having a good time today. [more] Here's Some interesting stuff here -coral -hard coral would usually find on a tropical reef. [finds debris]

17:40 -EG: ***I'm Erv Garrison from University of Georgia. We're speaking from the seafloor at Grays Reef NMS. It's 1:20 in the afternoon. we're at a depth of 58 feet, water temperature is about 75 degrees, visibility is not the greatest today, but we have quite a collection of fish ...... considering the exploratory excavations we're caring out here, [18:23] so it's not all in all the worst place to be.

18:42 ***BC: Hi, everybody, I'm Bruce Cowdin, I'm sixty feet on the bottom of the ocean out here at Gray's Reef NMS. And it's a very pretty day. Murky, lot's of fish. stirring up lot of dust. look through the sand and find something interesting. Found a 20 million year old shark shark tooth, not too unusual around here.

20:40 EG: One thing we have to do when Moving sediment is we don't want to disturb any of the biota in the the form of encrusting invertebrates. don't want to knock loose or damage them, not down here to disturb the environment, down here to explore it. so I've got a couple of little -looks like gorgonions here -removing the sediment.... Sediment cover is about 6 inches. in Metric talk 25 centimeters, and when get through the sediment layer, you're coming down on what we call the reef substrate, or the rock itself, and it's a gray color, and it's pretty eroded looking, kind of like an old wet towel that's been wadded up, probably eroded by currents, then it gets covered up by sands and shells, depending on what currents doing, hurricane which really disturbs the sediments ..... [23:19] 1'111 coming down onto the reef rock too. Bruce and I have pretty much covered this particular area.... have blennies excited, think they're getting a free lunch.

BC: attracted quite a bit of fish over there

BC: How's fanning over there. Finding anything interesting?

EG: Not much

CJ: You've dived on a lot of marine sanctuaries How does this one look?

24:49 **EG: For pure pizazzz, can't really top something like the Florida keys, in all that pretty clear blue water, and beautiful coral.

BC: I'd much rather dive here. It's way more exciting.

EG: From a scientific standpoint, I think you're right.

BC: Keys, nothing but a bunch of sport divers ....

EG: What Bruce is saying .... depends on what you consider to be of interest. Here see more sealife in terms of larger shell fish, loggerhead turtles,. a passing Manta ray, whale, barracuda. Places like the Florida Keys, just see tropical fish. Same kind of things in aquarium, only bigger.

CJ: What about the seafloor?

EG: Well, it's patch reef sand hard grounds. On a good day, it can be stunning. Today like looking in a bog bank. I can 10k right below m)/ knee here, several different variety of sponges, shells ..... Awhile ago, we saw more impressive barrel sponges ....

27:45 ****EG: Whoa, hello That's called a fossil We have something, looks like a [Be: ]bone fragment or
something coming off a rib.....
EG: looks like something found three years ago. It's about 3 inches long. It's probably a fragment of a long bone or rib, it's heavily mineralized. Stands out very distinctly. Going to call this unit #34 left, and we're going to put the little fossil in it. [28:55] Be: Seems like a little stuff underneath the sand....pretty good sand dollar.

29:53: Where did you find the fossil

EG: Found it about mid depth, four inches under the sediment. Midway into the grid. Another one of the fossils that's been deposited here probably by the currents. What's interesting is that this is one of the first ones we've1 ever found by having to dig for it, the others we've found, have been found lying on the surface or right at the surface, so this represents a new phase for us. We're working in the area where found loose fossils, but we're preempting mother nature
here. Instead of letting the currents expose the fossils we're going after them a little more
aggressively. [31:08]

EG: and BC: Time check and an air check

BC: Got 24 minutes and 1200 pounds of air. Get another 5 minutes out of it. Work this little spot here.

31:47 - 32:33 AMBI: Good breathing as move around.

BC&EG: How are We doing on time? Got 4 minutes before head up. Make me a little devise to blow sand away. This area we are working in right now is a little deeper -6-8 inches deep before get to harder bottom part.....

EG: we've got the frame on patch reef.. ... got about 5 minutes before thinking about air.

BC: 3 minutes then head up -suck air on deck

CJ: One fossil in half an hour?

BC: Sometimes .you can hit a lot of em, sometimes working for hours and not get anything at all. Just takes a lot of patience and time and determination. But you can be successful.

CJ: How do you feel?

EG: Just breaking rubber bands together.

BC: I could do it all day long, but don't think law of physics would let me.

35:52 CJ: What are you ultimately trying to find down there?

EG: ***Ultimately, I'd like to find an articulated fossil skeleton. Perhaps an old camel, or maybe just a little old prehistoric horse, I wouldn't be greedy_ we would love to find some evidence of humans, in the form of a piece of tool, but we'll take what the reef gives us, and today it gave us one little bone fragment, but we've only been down here half an hour, so it sounds like what we're doing is pretty much on target." [37:01]

BC: Untangle line and start Coming up
38:45 EG: So we're coming up. . .

38:50 - 39:09 Ambi breathing

39:10 well. we've left the bottom. Can still see patch reefs, but awfully murky four of us coming up the line. Gray green haze ..... .

BC: Nice slow ascent taking it easy maybe use with Bruce re. bends]

47:00 END

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