ML 161625


Interview 1:45 - 1:02:26 Play 1:45 - More
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Robert Ballard, see notes  







Also in recording is Dwight Coleman and Dale Ridder; Underwater Archaeology; PT-109  

NPR/NGS Radio Expeditions
23 May 2002

  • Solomon Islands
  • Near Gizo; Aboard ship
  • -8.11214   156.905488
  • Mono
    Sampling Rate
  • 48kHz
    Bit Depth
  • 16-bit
    Equipment Note
  • Two-Track Mono; Electrovoice RE50 Dynamic Omni Microphone

Show: Ballard (PT 109)
Log of DAT #: 10
Date: May 23, 2002

BB = Bob Ballard
Dw = Dwight Coleman
DR = Dale Ridder
NC = Neal Conan

voices jumbled
we come in on a big sand dune¿ a sand dune migrating
current, sticking out of the sand¿
Dave said Cathy can't record here¿
She only has two tapes to do, we're not even on site yet
Etc., etc.
Get in the water, there's always a million reasons not to get in the water

FX - Velcro

1:45 BB
so anyway we have these big sand dunes, okay? And down in the crest of a sand dune, we have two long, long tubes, that the skipper of 105, that you met, Richard, said those are torpedo launchers. So we went down and we set little¿ and we said well how big are they? And we went down and parked little Herc. On it, and they're two feet.. which is the size of these guys 2:20 FX - pen tapping on something metal so now we want Dale to look at them, plus we found this destroyer, and we filmed all of it's guns last night.

2:32 NC
were there any other pt boats lost in this area?

2:35 BB
nope, and you don't lose.. you can lose torpedoes but you can't lose torpedo launchers we have what appear to be two torpedo launchers, but I want an expert to tell me what I'm looking at.. the captain of the pt boat, that's pretty good, but that's Dale's strength, weapon systems. So¿ we're going to set him up on the thing and have him take a peek, and give us his opinion. But it's the only target. That's it! if that isn't it, there's nothing else there.

What's (??)

3:12 BB
this is about 370 m? what is that? 350? Pretty much the same once you get down into ¿

what does it look like?

3:27 BB
well it's a.. you wanna go to the destroyer? It's a jackknifed destroyer.. the destroyer is sitting upright, and it's bow is jackknifed, broken off, and the bow is lying on it's port side. And you see guns here, the forward.. that's the other one, and here you have all it's anti-aircraft guns. So you've got all it's guns up here, and this is upright, and this is on it's side, so¿. This thing is .. you know. So that's this, and this

this is the bow here with the turret on it

4:12 BB
the turret here is the dark thing, okay? And it's sitting upright and it's.. we filmed it very nicely, so he's going to show him that footage. So I want to know what these tubes are that the captain of the 105 says are torpedo launchers, and I want him to look at the weapons on the destroyer to tell us what we think we already know, and that's that this is a Japanese destroyer that hit a mine or was bombed. There you go. So we had a good night. Now we're going to look at some geology while they're looking at ordinates, we're going to dive under what looks like a volcano.
¿ - 5:09, Ambi - Sonar beeping

5:28 FX - tapping, like chalk hitting a table

still playing Cathy?

5:39 -5:49
FX - someone must be setting up some sort of apparatus, there is a sound of movement and then the same "chalk" sound, except more pronounced and repeated.

is it a dark screen?

5:51 BB
what kind of image you got Cathy?

5:54 C
it's at the beginning with the divers in the water, with bubbles¿

All right then it should be blue as hell.

6:17 Dw
which one, are you playing the dub?

6:18 C
uh huh

Oh! Uhm¿ FX - loud clapping
Voices fade

FX - solid tapping, an instrument "blip" is repeatedly heard

yeah, this should be the dupe you made.

someone whistles

FX - loud bang
can you life that up? That mic?
FX - knocking

9:24 - 9:30
FX - keyboard tapping

there we go, this is great¿

all right, let's all scoot over just a bit.. just shift chairs. Just push that chair in there.


45:16 BB
in that area where the torpedo tubes are, that's all that's there.. nothing else?


Any other sign of wreckage or anything?

Oh, this? Absolutely not. Its all by it's lonesome.

45:45 BB
two tubes sticking out of a sand dune, out of the hull, you'll see.

45:52 DR
is it up where we expect the collision occurred?

45:54 BB
noo, this is where the bow would have fallen off. This is down near the entrance of Blackett near Ferguson's passage.. we found it right here

FX - sound of large papers being unrolled (maps)

46:10 D
oh my.. all the way down

46:11 BB
allt he way down, they jumped off here heading towards Ferguson - that's where it is right down here, that's where it is¿that's where they should be

46:17 DR
for the bow, that's drifting down here.. yeah

46:21 ??
but that wouldn't be the bow because we found the torpedoes

46:24 BB
yeah, sliced it off

46:27 ??
yeah but we're looking at the aft section

46:29 BB
but they think that it just sliced off, it did not take off the after torpedoes on the port side¿ they think it sliced like this FX and left this FX.. and that's floated away and sank
FX = sound of paper being shifted

FX NOTE: Papers are shuffled throughout this next segment, almost constantly.

46:46 DR
and I think what it is, is probably the rest of it is covered up by the sand

46:50 BB
absolutely, we'll see in a minute, the sand is above the tubes, it's down in a hole

46:57 DR
but that's where it should be

46:58 BB
exactly where it should be

46:59 DR
the way it was drifting

47:00 BB (47:08, paper shuffling)
yeah, exactly, a collision up here, a small piece falls off, goes vertically, she drifts, it's sided, it's sided, it's sided, Kennedy jumps off, swims, it goes down, on the way to ****, probably at night, and that's when they lost contact.

47:15 (paper shuffling)
47:18 FX - Loud Thud
47:22 paper shuffling

47:25 ??
I don't see how.. see I was down here. When I saw what I thought was the flare floating on the water, let's assume I would see the boat
47:28 -:29 papers shuffling loudly

47:46 BB
that was days later, this is where we think the collision took place

Begin to talk about a minefield, not as interesting. Just thought this may be nice to bring the narrative along, and fill in some holes in the knowledge the listener may have on the story of pt 109. So far I haven't come across a real geographic depiction of the trail Ballard followed to find pt-109, the way the drifting of the bow of the pt109 affected the search, etc.

I see this is the end of a day's show¿ it's like a cliffhanger but lets the listener know a little more than a cliffhanger does. It'll leave people wondering if it has been found, and tuning in the next day.

51:29 BB
here's my point.. the collision occurs, Evans sees a light, he thinks it's a barge. But the everyone says 2 miles, here's the 2 miles radius off of marichou cove, this is where they said they were. This is where they saw the light.

51:49 ??
I'm saying that the destroyers were more likely hugging the shoreline

51:53 BB
I was more explaining this guy¿ so the collision takes place up here, most people think that not a whole lot of the boat was sheared off - most of the boat was still intact. The boat goes vertical. A small amount of the boat fell to the bottom of the ocean. Most of it is still hovering in the water, floating down, they're on it. evans sees it the next night between these two points. He sees it moving this way, and he reports that. At some point Kennedy and the crew jump ship, probably here, because they would have had to because they could have never fought up the current, so they had to have the current helping them, so they have the currents going like this and that's helping them to get to Kennedy island. So they abandon it somewhere here. And then they lose track of the bow, they think they maybe see it over here but it turns out to be a jap wreckage on the shore. So somewhere in the night, it sinks (fx - snap), and the only target in the whole doggone area is that guy - which is these tubes sticking out of the ¿ so, walks like, talks like, smells like a duck¿.

54:06 BB
okay, so.. it's making sense. The pieces are all coming together (FX PAPER)

54:06 Dw?
the pieces are coming together¿ coming together in the way they thought they might

54:23 BB
well there's a logic here that always helps
¿. 54:38

54:38 Dw
uh, where are we in relation to launch site?

54:40 BB
we're right at it, we're sitting right at it. target 69.

54:47 Dw
it takes a while to¿

54:48 BB
so that's not the volcano? Yeah, that's where we want to go.

54:57 Dw
which screen did Cathy put it in on?

55:00 BB
she's moving in towards it right now, she's fast forwarding. That's some nice footage¿
okay, is this it? all right, we're coming in.. so that gives you an overall view of it.

Ambi.. the sound of a motor running

Ambi¿ the sound of the motor lowers, and there is a gurgling sound

Ambi¿ mumbling and the sound of gurgling of waves - rhythmic

FX- A thud, mumbling, and the gurgling waves

1:05:42 start track 4

1:05:59 - 1:06:43
okay what we've got is the changing of ¿ so your back aft¿..
we'll hold on to the front end¿
have you got that one?
Let's go which you you've got that right behind you
How are you looking over there Jim?
All right, good to go!

FX - high pitched mechanical noise
FX - sound of a hollow pipe knocking against something
More mumbling

okay, let it slide either way

FX - very very loud hollow thud

okay Ashley!

okay, set it down!

1:07:29 - 1:08:32
FX - a metal, grinding sound, tapers off¿somewhat difficult to listen to. When the grinding sound finally tapers off a splashing of water is heard, and people getting in and out of it.

slack up your line a little bit!

1:09:30 - the sound of machinery is still present but doesn't dominate the sound of the water.
1:09:42 - the sound of machinery gets louder again, as does the grinding sound.
1:10:03 - the sound of another piece of machinery being activated, a transporting device of some kind
1:10:48 - an even higher pitched sound filters through a low rumble which sounds like a semi.
1:12:10 - the grinding sound is thankfully through, and the sound of waves hitting the shore resumes (though it may not actually be shore, it sounds rhythmic)
1:12:48 - The sound of people walking through water, or stepping in/out of it.
1:13:27 - mid-pitch machinery sound, sounds like a heavy lifting machine
1:14:36 END

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