NPR/NGS Radio Expeditions
5 Jan 1999
- Monterey; Coast Guard Pier
- 36.60889 -121.89111
- Marine Shoreline
- Sennheiser MKH 40
- Sennheiser MKH 30
Stereo=2: 1=L, 2=R; Decoded MS stereo; Sennheiser MKH40 Cardioid Mid Mic and MKH30 Bidirectional Side Mic
00:00 - Seals barking, Chuck Thompson says ¿good morning, .recording will be of wildlife, talks with man asking questions about who will be here etc.
01:26 - 04:54 GREAT SOUNDS:seals sounds, in the water, water ambiance, sounds of hosing down of seals, water swirling around, seagulls, seals panting
04:55 Chuck stops down due to hose noise, people etc.
05:21 - GREAT SEAL SOUNDS, RESUME barking, splashing, water swirling,
VERY CRISP, seals breathing and snorting
08:26 Horn honk, man asking questions
8:37 stop down
8:59 Chuck says ¿we are with the coast guard, then someone¿s name ? ¿
9:04 - 11:38 Seals resume barking
11:39-13:00 Seals BARK VERY LOUD
13:01- seals get quieter, still making sounds, quieter noises and barking, babbling? (do seals babble ?)
14:13 - 15:43 seals sound like they are neighing like a horse, sea gull sounds, seals coughing, (there is hose noise in background and it gets louder)
15:54 Chuck ¿this will be a stop down at 16:05 ¿
16:14 - ¿another start- up¿
16:218 - seals resume barking and speaking
17:13 DIFFERENT SEAL W/DISTINCTIVE BARK, (some radio babble on part like from a transmitter)
17:35 more seals, sneezes and breathing,
18:02 HEAVY BREATHING
18:15 seals making seal noises, water
19:38 loud bark, then more seal noises,
21:22 water splashing and seals, hose noise gets more present
22:33 things quiet down a bit, more of that horse neighing sound
23:07 cries from a distance, hose noise still present, sea gulls
24:00 CHECK THIS SEAL OUT!!
25:01 seals making other animal sounds, like a chicken, a goat¿?? Strange seal noises.. interesting
25:53 playing in water sounds, water splashing sounds good, seals also making sounds
sea gulls, seals grunting
28:45 seals bark louder, growl, sound like other animals again..a cow?
31:23 Chuck talks, will stop down, will start up again cause hose stopped
31:47 seals barking w/o hose, panting and barking
( DEB¿S COMMENT: I don¿t know if this stuff is better without the hose or not, the hose didn¿t bother me in the other parts, this stuff is good though.)
37:20 airplane approaching and flies overhead and leaves
37:51 Chuck says ¿seals, nature, man, jets, coast guard in Monteray, ¿
38:10, I think I¿ll stop down
38:44 more sound, water, seals (BANGING ON THE MIKE..not great)
39:10 GREAT SPLASHES AND WATER SOUNDS, SEALS SOUND VERY ACTIVE SWIMMING AND PLAYING ? make seal noises in between some of the swimming, but mostly swimming
42:39 Chuck ¿that was seals with water close in, will try to reach down and get more, people showing up now..it¿s 8:30 in the morning or so..been here about 40 minutes, will get more here
43:28 More seals!! More splashes!! More seal noises!! More fun!!!
45:12 Chuck says ¿okay I had enough. Stop down, 45:15¿
45:28 Chuck says ¿more interesting sound here¿
45:32 More seal sounds, quieter water.
46:29 seal cough ?
46:31 seals barking,
47:53 some mike bumping ?
48:10 more good seal noise, seal breathing,
48:39 now they sound like horses!!
49:45 seals sound like they are choking!, then neighing then cool sounds
51:07 seals making seal noises
51:57 neat seal noises
52:39 some type of machinary thing
52:53 Chuck says ¿that¿s enough of this¿ stops tape
54:27 sound resumes, inside.. man ¿all the way, right heel down¿ drilling noise ¿Left toe down, left heel down, rotate your right foot back and forth¿¿ seals in background
¿disable the thrusters, turn control power off¿ men taking quietly in background, off mike, seals in background
56:58 man asking if he has to push anything, other man trying to explain stuff
58:09 testing radio control, (DEB¿S COMMENTS: chuck does not explain what this is or who the men are etc.)
58:51 seals in backgound, man still trying to test his radio control, check one two one two
still trying to test their radio signal, chuck tells them there is intermitent on signal (Chuck says this is good¿ but I thnk he¿s talking about their signal, not tape quality?)
1:00:57 stopdown Chuck says stop down at 1:01:26 but¿
NOTE: Chuck is saying one time on the dat, and the dat machine playback reads something else..seems to be off by about :30 seconds¿problem started when tape went over one hour mark
****just discussed this with Chuck., he said he probaly misread the times on the tape so due to the sunlight..the log is correct!!*********
CHUCK SAYS 1:01 :36 ¿DAT PLAYER READS 1:01:06
CHUCK SAYS ¿General ambience on the dock¿
1:03:21 oil trucks..stopdown
(Deb¿s note- background noise is present under interview..of birds and the sea)
1:03:35 Alex Chadwick checking level, sitting on the coast guard dock in Monterray (SP) Bay talking about inteviewing Sylvia, checking levels and pigeons
alex says he would like to report on sylvia earle¿s jacket, jacket is provided by Lands End , focus of peice is great explorers of 20th century, let¿s talk about one your exploits in particular, dive you made in gym suit, in hawaii, 1979, record setting dive
1:04:54 SE - it was, it was the only time that that kind of a system had been used w/o a tether back to the surface and there¿s a good reason for that, laugh. The system was designed to be operated with a line that goes back to a reel that deploys it from a surface platform or ship or whatever. In this case, I went down on the nose of a little submarine and the only line I had was a communications line between the submarine and me.
1:05:17 and I was able to go down to twelve hundred and fifty feet that is not the deepest that the system called JIM¿J-I-M, named after the first person, Jim Jarrett, who was willing to put it on after the prototype model back in the 1920¿s and early 30¿s. This is a system I used was reconfigured and brought up to speed by oceaneering international
for use primarily in the offshore oil industry. But I had the fun of adopting it for scientific research, six miles offshore and four hundred meters down. It was wonderful.
1:05:54 AC- Why has it always been important for you and I¿ve read in your book, ahh, you talk about the capabilities that you want as a scientist or to do exactly that, to be untethered. Why is it so important to you? (she laughs here)
1:06:09 SE- well, being free, I mean, listen to Jaucues Cousteau and his sense of freedom when he first came up with a concept for the, the aqualung, now celebrated around the world as scuba , scuba diving, as opposed to having a cable that connects you with an air
supply back to the surface. There¿s a place for that kind of diving where you have the, the connections with surface supplied air, or air supplied even from a sub sea base, but you¿re tethered. But, to be able to do like birds do to go freely into the medium that you¿re there to enjoy or to observe or study, whatever, there¿s nothing quite like it, ahh, tethers are confining. They are in some cases dangerous because of the added risk of entanglement. If your life depends on that tether, and if your air comes via a hose which is part of that tether, then you¿re vunerable. And you¿re also restricted in how far you can go.1:07:14 Now, with an air supply that you carry on your back or in a submarine you¿re also restricted but you¿ve got more freedom of choices about just where within a certain envelope you take yourself.
1:07:26 AC - Could you describe the decsent in that submarine? What were you, how long did it take you to get to the bottom and what were you thinking about as you went? And
And the physical structure of this, you¿re going down as sort of a , almost a hood sized ornament or something like that. You¿re out in front of this, on a little tiny platform in front of the submarine that¿s diving down, carrying you down, and, no one has ever done this before.
1:07:51 SE - Well, that¿s right. No one had contrived such a technique for diving.the, eh.. and we didn¿t plan to go down in that particular way. In fact, the original plan was that I would go in the traditional method using a line, not with a air supply just a power supply and a retrieval line that would connect me back to the surface, but we actualy got to Hawaii, this was on a project that was really for the National Geographic Society, I was
working on a book exploring the deep frontier, but we were also doing a film documentating this and other underwater technology and adventures for network television production. Al Giddings was my partner in all of this, filmaker, photographer and and we got on the scene with Phil Newton from oceaneering , whose with us today, by the way right here on this dock where we¿re sitting with the next and latest in underwater schemes to go out and splash around in the ocean.
1:08:46 But here in 1979, Al Giddings, Phil Newton and Sylvia Earle were trying to develop a way to adapt the gym suit to go down to more than a thousand feet off Hawaii. And the platform we had chosen, we could not stabilize in the way that we really needed.
We needed a four point anchoring system so that we could have a solid base from which to deploy the sub, the little submersible, the gym suit, submersible that I could wear and it was not feasible given the circumstances once we got there so being ingenious of mind these two guys figured out that I could be strapped to the front of the submarine and Dr. John Craven of the university of Hawaii whose got quite a lot of submarine lore in his background as well 1:09:36 the big ones (background very noisy here) the nuclear subs , worked with us to finaly agree to let me do this wild and crazy thing to strap, to be strapped on the front of the sub to be deployed freely down on the bottom of the ocean with just the communications line connecting the sub? to eachother. It was, it was a pretty exciting concept no matter how you looked at it. Mainly what I wanted was just to get there. I¿ve explored the ocean using nets and dredges and the familiar techniques that oceanographers used to indirectly sample the sea. That I¿ve been so frustrated looking at the crushed and mangled remains of creatures when they¿re caught in the net. 1:10:16 with no idea about their arrangement. I mean I try to imagine what anybody would know of my backyard in Oakland or San Francisco or any forest or field. If samples were taken
by dragging a dredge or a net from high in the sky and just picking up little fragments of this, you know, pedestrians and chunks of shrubbery and dogs and fireplugs and whatever else it is 1:10:41 that you could happen to scoop up randomly. And then you try to figure out what¿s going on down there. It¿s, it¿s not just difficult, it¿s really impossible. We need to be in the sea directly and I was, I felt driven, I still am driven to solve the problems so that I can be there, so other scientists can be there, so anybody who has a yen to know what the nature of this planet is like from the inside out can have access and that¿s what this little caper in Hawaii was all about providing access to my mind, my eyes, and my curiosity of the vision of what¿s going on out there to satisfy that yearn to know.
1:11:26 AC- You¿ve kind of led me astray to another question that I want to pursue with you, which is exactly the nature of that determination of yours which I think is just extrodinary, here you are a very successful scientist , ah, and at some point you decide I
just have to figure out how to get this technology into my hands to make it work the way I want it to work and so you found a company and go out and involve others and make that happen which is just mind boggling to me and to others I might add.
1:11:54 SE- Well that¿s one of the great things about being a citizen of the United States at this point in history. We have the freedom to do such things, to say well here¿s a problem that needs to be solved. We have the ability to start companies, to go to schools, to tap into the resources, whether they¿re good minds whereever in the world they are. We can use ways ways of communicating with people on the other side of the planet who share an interest. We are just so blessed.
1:12:26 AC - We are blessed. We do have those freedoms, but only a few people actualy take advantage of them in the way that you have, only if, because other marine scientists must have also said, Boy if only I had the freedom to travel down there and had a submarine that could , all the things you imagined that were just a fantasy when you imagined them well you¿ve made them a reality (MIKE BUMP) in a way that¿s kind of hard practicality, it doesn¿t have to do with a science, it¿s how do I make this quite complex tool to do what I want to do as a scientist.
1:13:01 SE - Well it is puzzling why others don¿t do the, well on one hand it¿s puzzling why others don¿t just jump in there and take matters into their own hands and solve problems, but on the other hand , you know I remember a time when I felt frustrated and also overwhelmed with the difficulties and it didn¿t come easily I have to say that, that initialy the idea of trying to improve access to the sea, the thought was well, if we could have little submarines maybe we can go and work through the U.S. govt. and get some investment there 1:13:35 that turned out to be a frustrating approach and it still is, that the investment that this country is making in undersea technology is pathetic as compared to say Japan, where there really is vigorous investment. Now we are for defense purposes military through the navy and others have made a committment but much of that
equipment and other technology has not been generaly available to not just the scientific community, but the public at large. We may benefit indirectly and may some day see some of the technologies come spilling out into the general realm but when I am, here I am right now 1:14:13 and so the next step was to go to try through foundations to go for philanthropic support, underwrite the cost of building little submarines and after about maybe a year of that, maybe I should have tried harder when I did, back in the early eighties to pull this off and it ¿seventies first, and then on into the eighties, and I just said finaly in collaboration with an engineer , a fellow visionary Graham Hawks , instead of
beating our heads with our hand out against this wall of resistance, ah, why don¿t we just do it , why don¿t we start a company , why don¿t we find a use for this that that warrants this technology that warrants the investment that the people will make and do it the old american way , heh, heh, free enterprise reigns and start something that is of real use and then we will use it the way we really want to in the first place to go out and explore and and discover what¿s happening in the ocean, but meanwhile there can be some practical applications that can (background noise gets loud here 1:15:20) enable us to make a living while making a difference, what inspired (very competeing background noise here 1:15:29) the coun, the company. Sirens, radio noise, that¿s interesting, Get all that? AC - Alex laughs , he did, he got it
1:15:54 AC - Do you , I guess people have asked you this before, I know in talking to Phil and to Bruce Robertson yesterday, that there really is, that people are just , and these people who already admired you, but it¿s just astounding to find someone who is so determined, so focused and has that ability to carry that off. You always wonder how do they do that, where does it come from. (SE- NICE LAUGH HERE)
1:16:31 SE - well, I tell you, I fell in love with life in the ocean, life generaly on the land life everywhere, critters, at an early age and what drives me to a very large extent is concern over what I¿ve seen happen to life, to our fellow creatures, to wild systems, to what we¿re doing to the planet, that is not just hard on fish and birds and buffalo and all the rest. I see my own future and that of people I care about and I care about all people everywhere, I care about my species and I think we are really doing dangerous things when we harm the natural systems that we are utterly dependent on.. 1:17:16 You know I imagaine an astronaut going up high in the sky and then coming back and not telling anyone about what he saw. And just saying oh well that was neat and going off and doing whatever else it is you might want to do for the rest of his life . I¿ve been fortunate from the time I was a little kid living near the sea and having chances to go into the sea, serving as an aquanaut back in 1970, in the tech type projct, living underwater for a couple of weeks, being on expeditions at taxpayer expense, going around the world as a scientist, being able to dive into the Indian Ocean during a very important formative phase of my life, seeing things that not only my family hadn¿t dreamed about, but my fellow scientists were dazzled when I could bring back the news about what coral reefs were like in the indian ocean, the southeastern pacific 1:18:03 I got to go in little islands off the coast of Chile when I was an aspiring oceanographer years ago. All that has been invested in, in a brain now that just can¿t sit still. I have to tell people hey, do you know we¿re losing these things, and with their loss we¿re compromising our own future. That our life support system is in jepraody. The sea is what make the world go round, literaly. It drives climate and weather. It¿s the source of most, 97% of the water is there, and water is vital to life and we are undermining the health of the ocean and in so doing we¿re making our own future look, look very worrisome and that¿s why I do what I do. I just have to . It¿s fun of course (laugh) I can¿t deny that really I enjoy hopping into a submarine and falling into that that starling, that realm where you lose light in the first few hundred feet and you get down where bilumenescance (sp) rains
it¿s like falling into a galaxy with thrashing sparkling glowing creatures, most of them we don¿t have names for yet 1:19:15 We do, at least in broad categories, but it¿s the least explored part of this planet and people who say that we have to reach for the stars forget about or don¿t know about that realm of stars that is a few feet from any shore ? the living light that is generated by all these creatures, it is the greatest error of exploration still awaits here on this planet and it¿s that lack of knowing right now that I think causes a complecency that worries me so much and that drives me so hard to help try to reach others and get them to put on a face mask and flippers at least and go see for themselves. 1:19:59 that¿s why I¿m so glad to be here with you Alex, you¿re such a great communicator . you get people worked up and they want to go and see for themselves and that¿s what I want to
1:20:09 AC ahh we¿re asking a few people what they think the next century will bring in terms of exploration and of course we hear from, we have this wonderful bit of tape that we got from Geographic, of Umm, Robert Peary pronouncing a geographic meeting back in the 19 oh I think this (loud hiss in backround) recorded in 1914, that the end of exploration has come because he¿s reached the pole and that¿s it, that¿s the cap of everything and it¿s all over. But what do you think explorations going to be like in the next century?
1:20:50 SE - you know I had a similar kind of experience with one of my heroes, Hans Haas (sp) was a diving explorer , he actualy preceeded Cousteau in many ways with underwater explorations using ? breathers (noise in background blocked out that word)
back in the 1930¿s , in the 1940¿s , Aqualung came along in 1943 and really took off in the 50¿s and 60;s, but Hans Haas made films, books and otherwise inspired a lot of us based on his adventures and explorations all over the world with his wife Lottie in the 30¿s and 40¿s . I had dinner with him, with Al Giddings when we were doing research for exploring the deep frontier of the book I did for the geographic in 1980. 1:21:33 (airplane approaching!!, flies over, you can still hear it when alex asks----
1:22: 19 AC - you had dinner with him back in 1980?
1:22:22 SE - With Hans Haas, with his wife Lottie, with Al Giddings and we sat and talked about the past and the present and the future of ocean exploration and Hans was
was waxing very sort of in a melancholy way about how all the great explorations had been done and he himself had been a part of being the first out there, the first to film sharks under water, the first to actualy see many of the places that are now are treasured dive spots for many people and he said, you know I lament the fact that our daughter will never have the chance to be the first to do these things, that all the great exploration has been done , (laughs) this was in 1979, talking about earlier explorers saying it had all been done by the turn of the century. I guess every generation has that moment of feeling well, wheew, I guess we¿ve been there, done that. But I think 1:23:20 now we¿ve reached a point and I said so to Hans, I pushed my chair back from the table with a big kind of Harumph and said , Hans I mean think about it, for every door you opened, a hundred more were revealed , I mean you showed the way but once you get through that door you see all the other doors that are out there, we¿ve just begun to even start, approaching the door knobs, we we still can¿t go even half the ocean¿s depth easily, there are only five manned submersables in the world presently that are able to go as much as six thousand meters and none now can go to the deepest part of the sea and only one robot that Japan owns, not the united states. So to say that we know this, this planet of ours and that we have to go to the stars for new discoveries, new explorations, is ah is really amazing in 1:24:13 SEAGULLS GET VERY LOUD , in it¿s short sightedness. Most of the , even the land has big surprises. Who could have guessed not many years ago that there are microbes living in the earth and down in the cracks of rocks many feet below the surface. Who could of understand not so long ago how vital microbes are to the whole planet or that the bulk of the living world is microbial. I mean ounce for ounce not just individ, individual. Microbes reign (sp), I think that will be one of the great new insights, discoveries of the next era of time, of how dependent we are, how reliant we are on this hidden world that governs everything. 1:24:57 A source of oxygen generated by a small plants, largely in the ocean. Something like 70% of the oxygen in the atmosphere is generated by the sea , people say that it¿s actualy life in the sea. It doesn¿t happen automaticaly 1:25:11 it happens through photosynthesis. These little tiny creatures. Much of the carbon dioxide that goes into the atmosphere is absorbed by the ocean and again it¿s not just a physical process. there are biological aspects to this. The chemistry of the planet is shaped by life that¿s here and most of that life is microbial. We in a sense live by the leave of these microbes that did dominate the earth for most of the four and a half billion years of our history. It¿s only in fairly recent times that multi cellular life let alone big creatures such as we have come along and sort of take for granted the system that has been a long time in the making and I think what really worries me a lot is the way we¿re changing the planet, changing the chemistry that we¿ll favor certain kinds of microbes and not favor certain others and it would be in our best interest to keep things pretty much as they are. 1:26:07 I mean this is pretty a pretty hospitable planet. When you look around where else is there in all the universe that has an ocean, that has a life support system that¿s built in, not mars, not the, not the moon, not Jupiter, not Europa, there¿s plenty of water apparently on Europa but you can¿t just hop out of your spaceship and walk around and plant a garden and build a house. It¿s here, I mean it¿s here that we need to look after those systems that look after us.The first step is to explore and
understand the nature of the place and we have a long way to go, I mean less than 1%, less than a fraction of 1% of the ocean has been seriously explored. Take that Peary and Hans Haas, Laugh.
1:26:58 AC - Umm I¿m gonna take you back to that, to your Hawaian dive and cause we started off to ask you to describe what it was like (SE says yes a few time in his question)
when you were going down, how long it took you to make the descent and what you were thinking about as you went?
1:27:15 SE - I¿ve been asked a lot about wasn¿t I worried when I jumped over the side wearing the gym suit submersable that looks like an astronaut suit. It has metal arms, metal legs., it¿s a system that weighs about a thousand pounds, not something that you can sort of walk around and then jump off the end of the dock. I had to be lowered over with a crane from the side of the ship into the water, but once in the water I only weighed about sixty pounds because of the displacement and of course inside a lot of air it¿s like a ship can float even though it¿s very heavy. This (LOUD TRUCK NOISE HERE, she pauses, then¿) 1:28:14 looks like Ian isn¿t it .
1:28:18 AC - yah 1:28:39 AC - alright, you were being lowered over the ship, do you need to adjust?
1:28:44 SE - in the water I weigh in that suit, about, the suit plus Syliva inside the whole system actualy has an effective weight of about sixty pounds and it, I was on the nose of the submarine, the submarine was ballasted so that we descended down to the bottom. It only took about a half an hour to make the descent from the surface and of course I had my attention totaly focused on the view looking at the small creatures that were in the water column as we descended down to about seven hundred feet I could still see a lot of life and at that point about seven hundred feet it got really dim, dark, not quite dark dark but twilight and I began to see luminous creatures sparkling and splashing and glowing. Now this was mid day in Hawaii, and sunlight, the sun was essentialy high above 1:29:40 SEAGULLS HERE TILL 1:29:49
1:29:50 But at seven hundred feet I could still see quite a lot as we descended in terms of light, but below about a thousand feet it seemed like midnight, it really was dark and the luminous creatures were much more obvious. I could see little fish with lights down the side like ocean liners, like minature oceanliners only three or four inches long little lantern fish hatchet fish and others, creatures I had seen before in nets all crumbled and distressed but here I could see them, I could see them, I could catch glimpses of them with 1:30:24 first their light, but we also initaily had the light of the submarine on, but when we got to the bottom, we looked around for a bit to find an appropriate place, we stopped first at about a thousand feet and then went cruised down deeper, finaly found a great parking place in twelve
hundred and fifty feet. At that point it was decided that it was okay to release me from the sub, I was held on by a strap around the waist (laugh) midsection of the Jim ? and then I was free to step off and I did , and into a forest of bi-luminescent coral , bamboo coral, these slender creatures that are not branched, but they spiral up from the base of the sea floor to heights taller than I, and they look like giant bed springs.
1:31:17 AC - When, when you stepped off the platform how did you know what you were stepping into? Maybe you would have stepped into a bed of silk and disappeared? (SE laughs here)
1:31:25 SE - Well we looked around and we could look with the submarines lights to find a place and the bottom was firm, was hard, and the coral we could see growing, sprouting around, and not just the, the individual strands of bamboo coral that
spiraled up from the bottom in these gourgeous single strands, but also there were fronds (sp) little like bushes , like shrubs of other kinds of coral, gold coral, and some of the so-called pink coral that were there and creatures of course. it was, it¿s a very lively place, I mean, huh, there isn¿t a spoonful of ocean water that doesn¿t have something alive in it, it was, and here , no exception 1:32:06 the place was just like a living city. So I think we could have landed almost anywhere and found interesting things but the existence of the bamboo coral and the others made it particularly exciting.
1:32:19 AC - Were you at all nervous, because this, I mean this had never been ahh, done before and you¿re really very very far down.
1:32:28 SE - well people often asked weren¿t you afraid and wasn¿t it scary and all of that and I have to say everytime I do one of these things that some people regard as wild and crazy I try to do my worrying on the surface to make sure to the best of my ability and the best of the people with whom I work that we know what we¿re doing. I mean I¿m not into making stupid foolish decisions or taking risks that are, I mean I want to be around tomorrow and the next day and beyond, as long as I can to make, to minimize those risks and I won¿t do it stupidly. So I checked out all the wiring, I went through the safety procedures and I had confidence in the people who were working with me. We had gone through protocals, if this happens what do you do, if that happens what do you do. And 1:33:19 so we had gone through all these rehearsals and when I stepped in and they closed the hatch I just put all that stuff aside, and it was back there in the deep recesses of my mind so if there had been an emergency I could have hauled out the little checklist of things to do. But I was focused entirely on making use of this oppurtunity to do everything I could to use my mind, my eyes and I had just the ability to use that computer system that a lot of people take for granted, we shouldn¿t but to transport the human brain on site to be able to take it all in and report back what it¿s all about, that was my mission and that¿s what I did, I enjoyed it, I thouroughly enjoyed it, I didn¿t feel afraid, I just felt fustrated that the time was so short. I had only two and a half hours and it seemed like ten minutes, the time went by so fast. But in the process, you know I used my notebook. I took down you know some candy bars and a granola bar and an apple. I didn¿t bother to eat anything, 1:34 :17 you know, I thought I might get hungry down there but I didn¿t, I just was hungry for more time to just look around and soak it all up. There were seven large rays that came gliding by like, like giant aircraft or butterflies,they¿re so graceful. They were just off the bottom, they weren¿t flat down cruising along, they were up in the
water column. I saw a little shark, the shark was not as long as my arm. It had a beautiful luminous green eye. They don¿t get very large, that particular species . They¿re deep sea sharks, some are very big, but this one is a petite version of that family of great creatures. I saw a group of bright red crabs. People say why is anything brightly colored in the deep sea where it¿s dark all the time but whatever the answers to that are, there are some strategic advantages. 1:35:11 red actualy in that blue atmosphere looks grey or black, it just sort of disappears. It¿s not a bad color to be if you¿re in a blue ocean in the deep 1:35:19 airplane flying above, then a truck
1:36:09 AC - it sounds as though, it sounds as though you can recall everything that happened.
1:36:14 SE - laughs, well, the ability, not just you, to dive into my brain and my memories, but I wrote a lot the observations down, but I can¿t store readily in my mind, I try to store in some fashion that I could go back to and refer to and refresh my memory. It¿s, it¿s one of the great things that human beings can do to write things down, it¿s one of the secrects of our success I think. So I, but yes you¿re right I can doc, I can recall so clearly the sensations of the time, how exciting it was, how the anticipation of not knowing what was going to happen next, who was going to swim into the scene, seeing those little red crabs hanging on to one of the fronds (sp) of Carl, like like I thought of red shirts hanging out to dry, cause they¿re just hanging on and the little current picked up and they started to sort of waft a bit with the change in the, in their atmosphere 1:37:12 There¿s a little eel that wrapped itself around the base of one of the corals and sort of slithered around and came, it obviously was puzzled by what this thing was in its backyard and it¿s just a little eel, but they too have brains and backbones and eyes, they see, a lot of people think that fish are just something to eat but I¿ve seen so many fish be curious about me and what I¿m doing that I think of them more as birds. They are like the birds of the sea, the, they¿re certainly curious and they have personality, each one is a little different from every other one. I don¿t mean the eels are different from sharks, of course that¿s true, but I mean every flounder is different from every other one, every eel different from every other one just like cats and dogs and people and horses. 1:38:04 that¿s one of the miracles of life, that everything is so individual in its nature and I saw, I fell ? the scientists would raise their lofty eyebrows at the thought that fish have personality but, but they do. I have no apology about saying that whatever personality is, they have quirks that set each one apart and it¿s more than that they¿re, they¿re fins may be arranged slightly differently,or the arrangement of colors may be or spots may be slightly different
on each one that sets it apart. I mean they behave differently too. That should come as no surprise.
1:38:40 AC - There was a point in your career as a scientist when you¿re a little concerned about drawing scoffs and skepticism when you were considering moving from publishing strictly in professional journals to popular journals.
1:39:02 SE - it is still a matter of concern everybody likes to be respected by your colleagues and people you care about. You respect them you¿d like for them to respect you. And it¿s its a pretty humiliating to have people look down upon you because you do something that you think is okay for whatever reasons believe is not in, not the right thing to do in their professional standards, but I gave up a long time ago, worrying about what
some of my stuffier than now colleagues think about actualy communicating with the public at large. I, I think it¿s an obligation and I take great pleasure in seeing people respond to hearing the news about what¿s out in the ocean or the discoveries of science. I took heart back in 1970 when I was asked by the National Geographic 1:40:01 to publish an article in the tech type project, living underwater. My first reaction, I was then at harvard, was I couldn¿t possibly consider doing such a thing because even as fine a publication as the National Geographic is, it¿s a popular publication and my colleagues would certainly laugh at me and give me a hard time, for, and I would have crossed the line and never more to go back to becoming a scientist in the same way. Once you become a quotes popularizer, hah, well I took heart from finding an old publication from the mid-1800¿s by a scientist who is certainly highly respected in his day, and still is, Thomas Huxley (sp), there¿s al ittle volume called On discourses, biological and geological. And in it he had a collection of vessies ? of talks he has given to public, public lectures, and the first one in there really caught my imagination, it was called on a peice of chalk and with a peice of chalk that he pulled from his pocket standing before an audience of carpenters in Norwich (SP) England 1:41:07 he described the geological history of the north atlantic. The chalk was from the white cliffs of Dover and he talked about the small creatures that were contained in that bit of chalk, the kind of chalk the carpenters used to draw lines before they saw the peice of wood. It was something that they could relate to. But it just was a charming story, absolutely solid and sound scientificaly but perfectly comprehensible to the guy on the street who didn¿t know anything about the geology of the North Atlantic nor did he care perhaps but Thomas Huxley made them care. It made me care. And in the introduction to that book he, he spoke to my heart and my mind as well when he said you know, it¿s difficult, more difficult to speak to a, to the general public because you¿re not, you don¿t, you don¿t use the arcane language of science, it¿s like a shorthand, the words are different, but he said, counseled me over the years, you must do this, you have an obligation and never mind the scorn of your colleagues. Ahh, rather they should be scorned for not 1:42:17 doing these things. It¿s something you must give back to your time, to your generation, to your, to people and he said the one thing that you must never do, caution caution caution red blinking lights, don¿t ever compromise the truth. Don¿t ever stretch a story because you think it sounds better. There¿s no better story than what¿s true to the best of your ability to portray it. I absolutely agree with that, so called nature faking going on and some of the natural history films that we see and stories that are written and some of that can be charming and that also is okay as long as you say it¿s a story. I mean I love the sotries by Albert Pacent (sp) Tur-Hewn (SP), about dogs and other creatures, but you knew they were stories. Earnest Thompson Seaton wrote stories about wildlife, but you knew it was fanciful. What really gets people into trouble is when they tell a story that is supposedly buttoned up, scientifcaly sound and they are fudging the truth. They¿re making things up. That¿s what gets all of us into trouble, that¿s what gives communicators who talk about science of all of us who do a bad name because a few go out and stretch things and become nature fakers or whatever. That;s what I think my learned colleagues do object to when you get right down to it. 1:43:45 that popularizings, the uh uh hard part of that is compromising the truth, if you do it you¿re dead. So I do everything I can to say it the way it is and if I don¿t know, I don¿t know. (laugh) I just, you have to do that.
1:44:03 AC - yeah, it¿s a great temptation to, these people want you to make the story a little bit better or to give me an ending¿the stories really never end. SE- no and that¿s the beauty of it. AC- they just go on (laughter)
1:44:14 SE- or they want to know, well based on your observations should you do this or should you do that. Give me a black and white answer to what¿s right and what¿s wrong based on based on what your observations are and again you often have to say, well we just don¿t know. Here¿s, here are the facts and if you ask me where are the arrows, which way would I say the arrows seem to be pointing it¿s this way, you know, but untill a a lot of careful study goes on it¿s difficult sometimes to draw straight conclusions about policy decisions that are born of the science and that too is where we often get into trouble. Certainly of the big issues now with oceans, we know so little and yet there is obviously trouble. People want to know well, what can we do, what can we get away with is more like it. I think that we ought to shift the burden of proof and be 1:45:07 cautious about what we do in making changes, of taking wildlife out of the ocean at such a high level, I think we¿re, we have no guarantees that these creatures can recover from the heavy onslaught that we¿re now imposing on the popluations, but a lot of wishful thinking is going on (plane noise starts here¿1:45:30 and is under her talking) based on thought that well they can recover, but some are tempted to 1:45:34 AIRPLANE GETS REAL LOUD AND SHE PAUSES ¿. Yeah we can get the deep worker, and the philanthropy 1:45:55 too you know (still noisey here) noisey and slow!! The sun feels good doesn¿t it (airplane still continueing) chat between alex and Sylvia and Chuck)
1:46:56 AC - Ahh, I¿m going to ask you about another aspect of your career, and as of your career as an explorer. Ahh, you were ahh, a pioneer in another way, back in sixties because women didn¿t do this and ahh in in your book Sea Change I find you repeatedly in situations where people are skeptical whether you should go or women should go. ? and it¿s something that you treat with a a lot of patience and sense of proportion and ahh no, some frustration but no real apparent anger but there must have been I mean there must have been times when you said ¿what is wrong with you people¿ (cracks up)
1:47:49 SE - well I grew up with two brothers, who kept me humble (laugh) and a mother and Dad who constantly made me feel that I was every bit as important as any guy out there, that I could do anything I wanted to do so that it was a nice balance that I felt from the earliest times. I really did feel as a child that for whatever reasons, maybe some of it was the culture which I grew up in New Jersey and the schools or whatever but, while it was pretty clear that little girls are supposed to be grow up to be moms and housekeepers and and maybe you could be a secretary or a nurse or if you really wanted to do something adventuresome you might become a stewardess on an airplane. Very few aspire to be doctors, I mean that was a nurse not a doctor. The secretary, not the boss. Not a pilot, a stewardess. That was the culture in which I did grow up. But I read (laugh) books by William BeeBee (SP) and I said I want to do these things I don¿t want to just be there tending the lines. I want to go down and see what Beebee (sp) saw. 1:49:01 It, it never occured to me that I couldn¿t nor shouldn¿t aspire to do that. Again that¿s part of growing up in the United States I think. People from other countries, or other cultures may feel more boxed in not just as women, but as members of certain parts of society that couldn¿t dream of doing what I have dreamed to do and and been audacious enough perhaps to try to do them. A lot of things I wished I could do that I haven¿t done, but you know, I guess I can¿t complain.
1:49:36 AC- But even though you ahh had that attitude yourself, you found yourself in a society that didn¿t always have that, didn¿ t have that attitude.
1:49:43 SE - Well when I wanted to study biology, my mom and dad did counsel me about how someday I might make a living , they said, well you know you should at least get credentials as a teacher so that you have a way to support yourself and I didn¿t object because I love teaching anyway. But I really took far more biology class, I really majored in biology and I took just enough of the education courses and others that were required so that I could get the proper credentials but I knew all along that I wanted to be an explorer. I wanted to be a scientist, I wanted to do things that wouldn¿t keep me in a classroom ness., not that I didn¿t want to teach, but that that this is what I want to, I wanted to do the other side, the action side. 1:50 :30 I took, we had to, class oppurtunites available nobody said you couldn¿t take zoology but as it turns out I was often the only women who did choose to take certain classes, most of the classes I took as an undergraduate in college at florida state university. I was the only women even at Duke university in graduate school women were certainly in the small minority as compared to the men who were there as field scientists in botony or zoology or geology or whatever, and and hey it¿s not all bad (laugh) 1:51:08 (she gets loud for a few words here) When I was asked to go on an expedition to the Indian Ocean (tape normalizes here) I was the only woman with 70 guys, I was married at the time which was constraining but it was also was was so pleasant to 1:51:20 (loud seal noise here) it was also so pleasant to have a colleagues who were very attentive to everything I wanted to do. And I mean I think I got away with it because I didn¿t expect them to do anything, you know, if a box needed to be picked up, I picked it up. If a rope needed to be handled I did my best to be there as a part of the team that handled it. I didn¿t ask for favors but as a consequence I got a lot of (laugh ) help.
1:51:51 AC - Have you had young younger women scientists say to you, thanks for leading the way or
1:51:57 SE - yeah, it¿s very, again I, humbling I think is I, I, I , its, it knocks me out when I get letters, a lot of letters from young women and also young men who say that the example is a source of inspiration. And I think that I had my own examples that were a source of inspiration to me, I had a teacher, Harold Hum (sp) who also made me think that I could do just about anything I wanted to and encouraged me to take on things that
others might have discouraged me from doing.He just had confidence somehow, made me think I could do things even when I was a little worried myself about whether I could pull them off, he said ohhh, come on you can do this and I think if everybody has such a mentor, somebody 1:52:44 to give them a shove sometimes when you feel a little scared or a little reluctant it makes a big difference. My mom and dad were always like that with me, but here was another champion harold Hum, who is still a friend, we write back and forth all the time. He lives in North Carolina with his wife, he¿s retired from Duke, and he ahh, he still sends me funny letters, and I write back, it¿s just, he¿s had, he is really a teacher¿s teacher. He ? students from all over the world who adore him for the influence he has had on their lives and thus on society.
1:53:21 AC - Ahh, you raised the impact on society. What are your plans for sustainable seas, what do you, what do you attempting to do with this latest project that you¿ve taken on.
1:53:30 SE - Well sustainable seas, I view as something as a miracle. It all came together at the time when the planets were lined up in the sky, and it was symbolic of events that made this project sustainable seas expeditions possible. I had experienced such frustration years ago going to foundations for support for some of my dreams of going into the seas with submersables, that when a foundation actualy came to me, the Goldman fund, Richard and Rhoda Goldman fund in San Francisco and asked if I would submit to them a proposal that would be about five years in length and a scale of about five million dollars.
1:54:11 AC- I¿m going to ask you to hold on cause Ian¿s come down¿can we get keys to van..etc.etc.(chat chat..schedule, lunch)
1:54:56 SE - I was, it was such a preposterous thing for someone to ask would you submit a proposal (plane comes flying in here) (chat chat, plane flying still) 1:55:50 SE - well another of the big stars lined up in the sky at the time, it was that I was asked, would I consider being the explorer in residence at the National Geographic, the title alone would have sort of won my heart but the idea that the National Geographic society was asking if I could come and spend a year to be part time there but most of the time out in the ocean doing something that I wanted to do whatever that might be what did I think, would I be willing to do that. They would subsidize my year 1:56:20 to come and do something exploratory in nature, and the Goldman fund had three things they asked of me if I submitted an application, that it should be exploratory in nature, about the ocean with a conservation theme. The caveat was that it was a long shot, because it was a long shot
and they said it was, I sort of put it off for a bit and didn¿t act on it until I had the coincident invitation to come back to the National Geographic for a year, then I began sort of talking with my friends at the Geographic about what I might do. It seemed that what I really wanted to do, something I¿d wanted to do for a long time, which is to go to all of the marine sanctuaries 1:57:01 There are twelve in the united states now, to explore them, to highlight their importance, to try to get a feeling that the national marine sanctuaries are a young but promising counterpart to the national parks. And there are only twelve there, they¿re over three hundred areas under the
jurisdiction of the national park system from parks and areas to monuments and seashores and the like. We need to do so much to take care of the ocean in parralell with what we¿ve done on the land. A park system began in 1872 and the national marine sanctuary program began in 1972, a hundred years later. We have some catching up to do, I figured and if I could, the explore in residents go to each of the sanctuaries and meet with the managers and the scientists. 1:57:49 As it turns out another one of those little bright spots in the sky was Steve Giddings (sp) who is just appointed to be head of the, a, newly formed reserach office for all of the marine sanctuaries. He haad been manager of the flower gardens in the Northern Gulf of Mexico and was asked to come back and oversea a newly developing research program and develop research protacals and this fit very nicely with not only what I could do working with him to visit all the sanctuaries 1:58:18 but to as the explorer in residence, but to be a centerpeice to the proposal to the Goldman fund. How about if we go to all of the sanctuaries and initiate a program of research and exploration and then on came another light, this was the development of new submersable by a friend of many years, Phil Newton who operates a company in Canada, Newco (?) (sp) Research. And he had just developed a new way of going into the ocean that combines some of the best technologies that I have enjoyed over the last few years, the Jim /gym (sp) suit and a new system called deep work deep rover that I had a hand in developing . 1:59:00 Instead of this being a clear sphere or a walking suit it was essentaily a system in which you sit in a nice compact tube with a dome over your head. It only weighs two thousand pounds but is able to down to two thousand feet and thus would give access to most of the area encompassed in most of the marine sactuaries. Now there are some exceptions, like Monteray (sp) plunges down to more than ten thousand feet, but goodness, if we can go to at least two thousand feet it will be a giant leap beyond what divers can do down to a hundred feet and it would open the way to new insights and maybe inspire people to do what it takes to go deeper and to do more. So all these things began to come together, the upshot is that in April of 1998, the word can¿t (?) came from the Goldman fund that yes they approved the application and it was so exciting because NOAH, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration which looks over, has oversight for the marine sanctuarys, instead of saying well I guess we¿ll tolerate this little project in our territory that we have to oversee 2:00:11 far from it, they came enthusiasticaly on board, embraced the concept, have, have agreed to help out by supplying ships and personnel and to fully endorse the sustainable seas expeditions as something that they¿re now putting several million dollars worth of support into to complement what the geographic is doing and what the Goldman fund has has initiated and others are coming on board as well. NASA is a partner, the moat (sp) marine labratory in Florida has assigned two post doctoral fellows to work with us as dedicated members of the team and on it goes. We¿re talking with people at the other institutions that obviously work in the oceans woodshole ?, a Harvard branch, the duke Marine lab, all the way around the country to enlist their help here in California where we are now sitting. The Monteray (sp) Bay aquarium research, institute, institute, has just been so supportive, they have allowed us to come and train using these subs, now here is the most extrodinary thing, imagine getting scientists to learn how to be pilots of submarines, to put on the lab coat, and go out into the ocean, treat the ocean as a labratory and not just scientists either. We¿re training teachers to do this so that they can bring back the news first hand and share of their students, become magnifyers for what they see. To me, I just smile when I go to bed at night, I smile when I wake up thinking about the impact that this project is likely to have on the way people think of the ocean.
2:01:43 AC - And that¿s really a, a technology that you imagined and that you helped develop and bring to a reality so that people can do underwater what you had dreamnt of doing, be free, fly around down there, go where you want and see what you want.
2:02:01 SE - well the genuis behind the technology really is Phil Newton who designed the system, the deep worker, I had a bit of a hand in the development of Deep Rover, it¿s immeadiate, one of it¿s immeadiate predecessors but it was Phil who saw the logic in shrinking down the size of Deep Rover to something even more petite that can be deployed from various platforms, not just dedicated support ships (AC- yeah) that was true with deep rover as well but this is even more versatle. (sp) A little boat, a little barge, the end of a dock. You can take it by healicopter almost anywhere and deploy it from almost anything and have access to at least two thousand feet and it will pave the way. We¿ve had some great discussions during the course of the training excercises about what the future may be jumping off from here 2:02:54 (airplane comes in here)
2:03:25 AC- okay we have about a minute of tape left here
2:03:28 SE - Can you imagine alex, in the future that there might be little rent a sub places along the shores (laugh) or even in Chicago, you know get a truck and go out not just to the great lakes, but take your rented sub and go off to the beach in the gulf of Mexico or wherever. I mean to get something so small and inexpensive ultimately that and easy to operate that anybody can do it. I see this as a way of the future with great benefits because as we know the ocean better we will take care of it better. Ignorance is now the greatest threat I believe to the oceans and to the future of human kind 2:04:06
2:04:35 CHUCK- okay, for what¿s the remainder on this I¿m going to umm, collect ambience from where we did our interview and please note ON THE TAIL END OF THIS THERE WAS SOME INTERMITANCE I THINK THEY WERE TO THE RIGHT CHANNEL WHICH WOULD BE THE SIDES, BUT THEN MAYBE THIS IS A PULL LEFT ONLY INTERVIEW GIVEN THE NOISES AND STUFF THAT WERE HERE.
2:05:01 AMBIENCE¿NOISEY AND SQUEAKY!!
2:05:41 gulls, seals, better ambience
2:06:47 CHUCK- okay some of the slapping you¿re hearing are lines on the sail boats. This dock is a floating dock, it moves up and down, the creaks you hear are that, sometimes there are mike bumps here, I apologize, the dock kicks every once in a while
and it¿s generaly a bad job done on my part
2:07:07 TAPE ENDS