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Interview 1:31 - 8:06 Play 1:31 - More
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Robert Ballard, Dwight Coleman  

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Underwater archaeology; PT-109  

Sound Effects 10:19 - 16:33 Play 10:19 - More
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Sonar  

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Interview 19:05 - 20:26 Play 19:05 - More
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Robert Ballard  

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John F. Kennedy; PT-109  

NPR/NGS Radio Expeditions
19 May 2002

    Geography
  • Solomon Islands
    Western
    Locality
  • Near Gizo; Aboard ship
    Latitude/Longitude
  • -8.11214   156.905488
    Channels
  • Mono
    Sampling Rate
  • 48kHz
    Bit Depth
  • 16-bit
    Recorders
    Microphones
    Accessories
    Equipment Note
  • Two-Track Mono; Electrovoice RE50 Dynamic Omni Microphone

Show: Ballard PT-109
Log of DAT #: 3
Engineer: Neal Conan
Date: May 19, 2002

BB = Bob Ballard
Dw = Dwight Coleman
NC = Neal Conan

0:28 -
Ambi. Voices of the crew talking..

0:35 NC
Hello, testing, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5¿(repeated)

0:54
you've got to drag around a lot of stuff don't you?

0:56 NC
well the problem is that the internal batteries are double - a, which last about 40 minutes, so you've got to drag around this sled of D-Cell

1:19 End of Track 1
1:20 Beginning of Track 2

1:31 BB
So I'm assuming throughout the day they continue and they lose track of it. so it sank, and the question is.. well.. So we're going to spend the morning looking down in our southwestern quadrant, and then in the evening we're going to finish up our northeastern quadrant, and then tomorrow we'll dive up here - probably start out in a safe spot just to get used to doing things out in the middle and then work our way into more difficult terrain. Might drive on this - it looks like a volcano. Okay? So you just need to tell the skipper where we're trying to push down

2:19 Dw
All those lines will bring us down to this line here¿

2:23 BB
I think that that's fairly safe

2:25 Dw
yeah because we'll pick up some in the turns

2:31 BB
and then we'll want to skirt along¿

2:33 Dw
we can always fill in..

2:37
it might be interesting to do a run-through, you know, just for the heck of it. do a run-through, turn around, run back. But let's not do that now. I want to see if we can¿ I want to get up her and get this done.

2:48
let's continue our tracks here

2:50 BB
well how many tracks do you think that is? They are at least an hour and a half now, right?

2:56 Dw
no, .. they're five or six

2:58 BB
seven hours puts us into four¿ so.. then we can get up here and lay in a close one, give him confidence, and then work out from that line.

3:07
FX - closing door

3:15
FX - closing door.

3:25
FX - closing door

3:33 NC
so you had some excitement overnight?

3:35 BB
We certainly did! We smashed into an underwater volcano at full speed, wrapped up the vehicle, put several dents in it, severed a power cable and brought it up and fixed it - so it's fine. Went back down¿ this is turning to be more interesting. Not only are we looking for pt¿109 all of a sudden - it appears that this volcano right next to us, Kolombangara, has underwater flank eruptions, so we're starting to delineate underwater lava flows and we're getting thermal spikes on us. So it may be deja vu maybe back to the hydrothermal vents¿ so there seems to be right close to where we're picking up very good targets for both the bow and the stern, so we're getting enough targets now, we're getting almost complete coverage, and some interesting side stories which may be main stories before you know it. so we'll finish up today, on through the night, and tomorrow morning we'll go in the water for the first time. The vehicle is up and running and the HD is ready to go.

4:47 NC
geology is not one of the things you expected to find¿

4:50 BB
well you know, when we went off of Israel and found the Phoenician ships, right nearby we found big methane gas pouring out of the bottom and we told the pales. And the Israelis and they put in big production facilities. They're out there exploring for the methane gas and gas fields, so who knows? You go exploring you never know what you're going to find. When we went after the Galapagos rifts we weren't expecting 12 foot tube-worms. So you never know. It's always interesting where it takes you

5:39
mumbling in the background

5:46 C
What?

5:52 Beginning of Track 3

5:55

5:56 Dw
we have a whole target field of small little volcanic edifices that we've past over and we saw some thermal anomalies that was on the same line as very abruptly the bottom rose up on us and our vehicle hit bottom. So¿ I'll pull up that line here.

6:26
FX - tambourine noise?!

(continued)
6:29 Dw
so within a span of about 100 meters, the bottom rose up on us about 50 meters, so a very steep cliff that was unexpected because this is uncharted territory so we didn't have good soundings over any of the features we were mapping, and very abruptly the bottom rose up on us. There we go. And uh, we were winching in our towfish as possible and we couldn't keep up with it, and I ran to the bridge and asked them to speed up and so he doubled our speed and that effectively lets the towfish kit up, or rise up, the faster you go. So we still weren't in time and the towfish ran into the bottom. Unfortunately, but we made the repairs that were necessarily and we got back into the water right away. It looks ugly, but, we overcame it.

7:32 NC
Some people might wonder 'well, if you're taking a sonar of the bottom, how could you hit it?'

7:38 Dw
well we're not looking in front of us, we're looking to the side of us. One of the things we've discussed is putting a forward looking sonar on our towfish just for this very reason. Usually we're operating in waters that have been charted so we know what to expect, but in this part. Case we didn't have any soundings for this ridge that we encountered, and so we hit it. I guess one of the hazards of the occupation, here.

8:09
how long did it take ¿.

8:15
Sonar beeping¿The crew speaks, mostly sounds like mumbling.. not terribly clear

9:09 End of Track 3 / Beginning of Track 4

9:12
what you have here is the ships positions, pointed towards the northwest, gives us an idea of where the ship is at all times. Lemme zoom in on the ship a little bit.. that's the navigation, where the ship is an everything. This one is the actual vehicle itself. This show us to the left or as it goes to the bottom. The vehicle is now 43 meters off the water¿ so what's what this little patch is right here. This little stripe down the middle is¿.. may look something like this.

10:11 End of Track 4 / Beginning of Track 5

10:11
Ambi. The sonar beeping kinda does a constant rattling-beeping, then jumps up slightly to mimic the normal "sonar beeping noise." (beepbeepbeepbeep BEEP BEEP¿.beepbeepbeepbeep)

10:11 NC
This is some more control room ambience without the rattling of the fan, which has been moved to another part of the boat.

10:41
FX - sounds like keys hitting the floor

11:12
barely audible mumbling

11:51
clearer voices

12:02
laughter

12:10
keyboard punching

12:23
happy-sounding talking, chuckling continues

12:48
keyboard typing, the sound of a cup or plate

13:08
something metal being dropped

13:18
keyboard

13:21
metal being dropped

13:25 NC
now we're going to record ambi on the other side of the computer screens, to match this would be of conversations of looking at stuff on the screen.

13:48
sonar beeping pattern continues

14:04
keyboard being punched

14:11
two key-strokes

14:18
the rustle of papers, a few keys stroked, and the sound of a plate

14:34
another keystroke

14:41
rustle of papers

14:48
several, single keystrokes

15:05
4 or 5 keystrokes

15:19
voices become gradually audible, but you can't understand what they're saying

15:41 - 48
keyboard strokes

15:56
one voice speaking

16:10 - :25
someone's backspacing at the keyboard

16:33 Track 5 Ends / Track 6 Begins

16:36
I need a film track

16:37
FX - loud thud

16:38 (several)
marking his targets¿ so anything else so far? Wow¿.

16:55
FX - slapping noise

17:07
you don't need to measure it..

17:12
FX - sounds like a photocopying machine¿

17:19
anything at all so far?

17:25
our position is¿.

17:30
nothing on this run?

17:32 not on my watch¿

17:48
plates

18:00
more plates

18:06
laughter

18:07
why don't you get some sleep? Oh no¿

18:20
that's the filename, right? 12¿

18:31
Rattling of metal

18:40
how are ya? How'd it go? Fine?

18:45
plates, etc.

18:48
harry? Coconut?

19:00
sound of silverware

19:05 NC
did you have a good time?

19:06 BB
I went right to he spot where JFK swam ashore, and kneeled on the sand and vomited all the sea-water, went into the bush where he hid, then went over - there was a Plum Island now called Kennedy island - without any coconuts so they couldn't' get any water, and it was very small, so they had to swim over to Olasana, and Olasana had plenty coconuts, and then we went in where they hid - right into the area of underbrush where they hid, and that's also where they were picked up by the pt boat, so we know exactly where the pt boat picked 'em up. And then we went to Naru, and Naru was where he met the natives, and it's also where they gave him the coconut shell, so we got some coco nuts. It's amazing to kinda trace his footsteps. From island, to island, to island, and back to Olasana. So it was kinda fun. It was very moving to walk in those footsteps.

20:31
FX - door slams

20:32 - 23:12
Ambi, control room mumbling, etc¿

23:11
FX - door slams

23:14 end

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