NPR/NGS Radio Expeditions
23 May 2002
- Near Gizo; Aboard ship
- -8.11214 156.905488
Two-Track Mono; Electrovoice RE50 Dynamic Omni Microphone
Log of DAT #: 11
Engineer: Neal Conan
Date: May 23, 2002
BB = Bob Ballard
Dw = Dwight Coleman
DR = Dale Ridder
NC = Neal Conan
Ambi. Sonar rhythmically beeps amidst background noise.
"The reason it's going away is because we're rising"
"It's staying pretty steady on the altitude, sir."
"I don't think we're over it"
"I think you are¿"
"The crest of this thing is, ah, 390 to 400 meters"
"I think it's beneath us, I just don't think we've reached the (inaudible)"
"That should be about it, we should be on top of it now, 400 meters."
"We're pretty settled¿ Let's go down and take a peek"
"Cathy, you might have to adjust the iris on the ____ like you did in the right area¿
we started having, uh¿ many things reflective.."
"We might need to cut your levels a little"
"An altitude of 20 meters"
"Yeah you need to get about 8 meters off it"
"There we've got some visual coming in"
"Yeah that looks like sediments"
"Yeah that looks like 'pilalogus'"
"Is that P? Sure looks like P."
"I can't tell"
"Keep going down."
"they're stationary in respect to us, so it's okay."
"Keep going down, I wanna walk you down close, don't wanna bail out."
"Those are P"
Keep going, keep going, now stop.. fish..
"zoom in, zoom in"
"I'm zoomed in"
"no you're not"
"move the zoom knob back and forth"
"there's a starfish right there"
"yeah those are fish"
"we're backing off"
"follow it down"
"yeah those are P, with tailus..broken off tailus¿ see that? Tailus of P"
"now back up"
"so you wanna get to the base or the
"no, I don't care, I want to get to the top of it. I just want to get some good footage. Once you get it, then leave it..
"yeah, those are tailus"
"so we want to crest. It's okay"
"get up to the top."
"zoom back in, rise back up"
"I'm up to (sonar beeping)¿
"you want him to drive slowly towards the crest?"
"what was our starting depth at present depth?
"the depth right now is 4"
"negative, negative, let's start driving towards that other target there"
"very slowly, half a knot"
(sonar beeping and mumbling)
"it's not fresh flaulus, but that's tailus. You can get very steep advancing lava that just peels off¿ and breaks up.. every thirty years. But it's volcanic rock, it's not coral. So you know, it's a flank eruption from the big guy out¿"
(sonar beeping¿ background noise)
"memories of the mid-atlantic ridge, 1974"
"now I remember why I switched from geology to anthropology"
"it's boring! It's just a rock, Bob!"
"so try and keep track of your composite depth, see if the bottom is still rising"
"so it's a little off to the east, it's about 1-4-0."
"there's a sound, right there"
"so we just drove forward¿Zeke?
(sonar continues to beep, people talking in the background.¿ )
"okay Cathy, you can have your box back"
"thank you sorry, I didn't realize¿"
"it's all right, just take that other one¿"
"it just moved away from the side¿"
(sonar continues, a person in the foreground yawns)
"so now what are we trying to do?"
"we're trying to get to the very top of the pile"
"this big shadow, that could be the crest right there¿ that shadow"
"this is it, right here, this is the top."
"what's the range and bearing?"
"ahhh, let's see¿ bearing 1-3-8.
7:42 Track 2 Begins (18:40 End)
(sonar beeps continue)¿ there is background noise, crackling sounds
"What's the size of the circles?"
"oh, 50 meter radius, 100 meter diameter."
"we're not going to take a crack at that rock now are we?"
"is that back here"
"I'm not sure¿"
"oh, you're pointed at it?"
"I think so, we've been moving¿"
"let's go to a higher range.. because if it's the screaming mimi, then we're going tos ee a monster, and I don't want to go back. It's just showing up there, I just saw it.
"isn't that the monster? Isn't that the monster we just came off? I betcha we're just¿. Well let's see it sweep. I think we're descending back to the monster. Let's just make a clean sweep through here. Yeah, that's the monster. I don't think there's anything else.
!noise on radio! "Roger."
Yeah, that's the monster. Let us scan all the way around. You got it on full sector?
That's a nice looking target¿ all right, let's see if we see anything here.
It's in the shadow of the vehicle. Okay, let's spin the vehicle around
South, 140 would be great.
Sonar beeping, still
You locked up?
Ambi. A humming noise creeps into the background
when we get up let's go back and do a sector scan, but wait till we scan up due north.
"And then shift back to"
"Yeah, 30 meter increments or something like that¿ 20 meters? (counting) 20, 40, 60, 80¿.
okay lets move forward on this bearing at a knot.
And head towards target 75 on the screen.
Any word on what's going on in the outside world?
I asked Danny about it yesterday, he said that the newsreel as been quiet for the last week or so. Carter went to Cuba, and Bush after that, and you guys may know this since you've been ashore since I have, but Bush came out with a statement along the lines of 'if Castro would hold a democratic election we'll remove the sanctions¿'
if frogs had wings they could soar with ease¿
there was a heat wave in India where they had 50 Celsius New Delhi.
holy smokes, a lot of people are going to drop like flies
Well, a week of silence in Israel is a lifetime.. people are catching their breath because they've got two hawks who don't make peace. There are lightening bolts in both talons of the eagle. There are no olive branches there! It's nice not hearing that. One of the benefits of going to sea.
Could you explain again about the sand dunes.. and the
yeah what we've got here is Blackett straight, a narrow passage, between tall islands, particularly the case of Kolombangara a big, big volcano, so you've got the whole pacific trying to pass through this narrow straight. And so you've got very strong currents. And those currents, as they roar through¿ it's like a Venturi effect, they pick up acceleration as they approach the narrowest part of the passage, such a strong force it's actually pushing the bottom like a very powerful wind, so just as you get sand waves in the Sahara, blown by the winds of the Sahara, we're getting the winds of the sea blowing against the bottom of the ocean.
we want to record for a second, we're trying to record, and you were¿.
I'm not recording
No, no, I am, I apologize
I know, well you're overworking.. you were louder than me
It's authentic, Bob
so are you ready?
Here in Blackett strait, you have a very narrowing of the ocean, and a shallowing of the ocean, so the pacific is moving water through it like a flume, and that water is coming through and as it approaches a narrow passage it accelerates, the venturi effect, and so you have a serious effect on the bottom. The bottom is a course coral sands coming of fthe walls of the sides of the straight, and that is then being fashioned into big sand dunes, and just as you have in the sahara, where you have these strong winds, and the sand dunes are marching across burying things and unburying things, you have a very similar bottom here. So it's very dynamic - constantly changing, so when you drop something like a PT boat into the middle of that, right off the top, the pt boat is going to act like a fence - a snow fence, and so the sand is going stack up right against it, and then you're going to bury it. And so what you're getting here, we're marching along and we're seeing these huge giant sand waves, some of them you know, 5, 10 meters tall, march taller than the pt boat. And sticking out of the side of one of them we find this torpedo launcher and torpedo. But the rest of it is inside the sand dune. And so that's the frustration. Right where you're supposed to be, finding the bow of the PT 109, you find this torpedo launcher sticking out of a sand dune. And there's absolutely nothing else all around, that's it. We've surveyed with our sonar, and this one little target of this vast wasteland of sand waves. So now the question is¿ and this is sort of not.. we now hand it over to the experts and say 'is that PT 109 we're looking at?' Outta my hands. I've done my job.
pretty lucky to find anything in that sand dune
17:51 - 18:28 BB
Very, very lucky to have it, because it's down in between the dunes. It's not at the top of the dunes, it's down in the trough. Ya could come here next year, and it'll be covered over, and then the next year you'll come back and there will be a lot of stuff to be seen. It's been very common in shoaly areas¿ we know it very familiar in cape cod, they found the wida the pirate ship there, and¿ one summer you go out and there wouldn't be anything, the next summer you go out there and it's exposed, you go back and it's buried again. So this is a very dynamic sand wave, much like you have where I, you know, spent so much time in Cape Cod.
18:40 Track 3 begins
18:40 - 18:55
Ambi.. Sonar beeping, background noise.
Ambi.. Sonar beeping, and the sounds of drawers of silverware being opened and closed. The sound of plates clacking each other.
Why don't you get up a little and let the sonar reach out.
19:25 - 19:26
FX plate noise
Then you've got sand waves on top of mega sand waves on top of super sand waves. Just a classic. You go up near Provincetown or go down to the elbow of cape cod you'll find out they're all shoals - sand shoals.. they're famous for sinking ships. Because no sooner do you think you know what the water depth is, it's changed, and you've run aground. So it's a classic, classic, shoaling, shifting sands. And unfortunately, nothing on the bottom has much of a chance.
Well we didn't find any - oops, there's one! - well we didn't find any on the red guy, we sat there and scanned all around - moved down to this one, and we just arrived, so we 're just sort of stabilisting and sector scanning.
it's such a small little blip
I know. You're good at it Dwight, baby.
See, it's not easy.
No, no. It never is. But we've been lucky so far so lets' get a little more lucky.
it's all yours.
Bob, you wanna go up to the other area?
Well, do you think¿ well I'm assuming you made the new target because you thought of the setback based upon the other volcano?
Well no, the original target position was based on measurements on the screen, which I think does not apply
FX - plates
Well, once you mess around and try to see it, there's some stuff here, that sorta corresponds with that sort of debris-ish area¿ that's sorta that kinda pattern. And that bears, ah, let's see¿ 1-4-0. So that's off to the left, so that's like 0-4-0, 0-5-0, so that's East¿ 50 or 60 meters off to the East. He's almost pointed that way, so why don't you swing your head around, Jim, to 090. Why don't you go off¿
Take Kevin round back? Are we swinging our head around for 040 for this?
Do you think that's anything?
Ambi¿ A new noise of a different tone introduces itself. It's echoey and sounds reminiscent of whales. This might be useful to set a mood - the sonar is still beeping and the crew sounds busy.
It's pretty weak
Ambi.. radio voice says something barely intelligible.
move forward slowly at 040.
Ambi¿ there is excited mumbling and sonar beeps
Yet another new sound enters the scene. The mood is more focused, contrast with earlier joking/jollity
Do you spin at all? Or are you maintaining constant heading?
Maintaining constant heading¿ struggling a little bit.
I'd like to turn into the flow
The direction we're going?
(speaking to someone on the radio) No, keep going, that's fine¿
25:47 Track 3 ends
25:48 Track 4 begins
(Very Excited) We have it! We have it! I have no doubt whatsoever now, we have it!
What convinces you?
The tanking, the two separate pieces together, appears to be the correct length, what I was able to see right now, is the two splitting along the well line, which clearly is a torpedo tube, and I have pictures showing me the well line in the manuals. Looking inside we can see, because this is the part facing what looks like the rear of a torpedo, there is a smooth hemisphere with a fill hole, that is the back of the air flask, that is a torpedo split in half, roughly with the airflask and the war-head in one section, propelsion unit and the fuel unit in the other section, this is it! This is it! We have it!
Are there any other pt boats that sank in this area?
No. The only one even close was sunk well south of Ferguson passage, by a U.S. aircraft the week before. There was no other pt boat, the entire war, except for pt 109, this is in the right spot, this is where I thought we had the best chance of finding it, this is it. This is it.
27:30 Track 5 begins
27:31 - 27:56
Sonar Beeping, mumbling
Can you play this through that screen over there?
oh yeah, we will, we will¿ just¿ they're working
so what I'll probably say, is
(interrupting) wait a minute, wait a minute¿ there it is! Go forward a little further. Let it roll. See.. there it is. Right¿ there. OK
28:20 - 31:20
(They're discussing an arrangement of footage, reviewing tape¿ nothing really interesting here¿)
FX- Sounds like the track changed, but was not between tracks
Sonar beeping and mumbling, but a few voices stand out among the other less distinguishable ones. Might be nice as an opening sound clip?
Hey, Cathy? What monitor is it going to come off of?
31:52 - 32:00
Ambi - Mumbling
So you want to come out of the DV-Cam, right?
Now what screen is this going to come up on, the High Depth Main, right?
That's what Jim said
This one here
I like it, but I don't know¿
You wanna push that PT boat back a little bit so we have it in the background?
you don't want it in the foreground?
a bit more¿. A bit more¿
it'll be this screen now¿
36:08 Track 5 Ends
36:09 Track 6 Begins
A torpedo tube which has a Mark-A torpedo in it, which has to be off of 109 - this is what we're looking at
So this is 109?
This is 109
No doubt! No doubt.
No doubt, this is 109. Everything matches all the way down the line.
Yep. All righty¿
This is an absolute match.
Let it roll, Cathy!
Doggone this is an absolute match!
And we're sliding back up¿ and then back up in here.. in fact catchy can you go forward to that other footage where we were filming it from high depth zone Argus, where we have that nice aerial view of it all, ok? So, there we are. Here we go, sliding back¿ sliding back¿ and just fast-forward¿.
So this is where she split?
That's where she split, right on the weakest spot. The weakest spot of the whole fish.
All right we're going to punch forward to this aerial view of the whole (inaudible)
(Ambi. Excited mumbling through first part of this phrase)
Now there's the stern here, off to the left. That's where we saw the propeller and the fins, double pith, double blades, and the fins are off here. And all of these are about a 6 by 1 ratio of length to diameter, combined they're 12 to 1 which is right for the torpedo tube and torpedo. This is an absolutely perfect match, we couldn't ask for a better match.
Now that's not the dimensions of the Mark-8
Ambi. A noise is building up, as if they're getting closer to the boat.
See, there's your ring¿
The rings are where they should be
There's a section
That's a gyro-hold
Ambi. Further noise builds, a noise that makes you think of water pressure.
Ambi. The voices are getting excited, atmosphere in the boat includes sonar beeping, surrounding humming noise¿
Yeah, right there, that's a gyro hold.
right there is your gyro hold for setting the gyro. So you're working back¿ here's more straps¿
I hadn't seen that gyro hold¿
I thought I had seen it the other way.
That may be part of the footing that it's resting on. That's coconut. That may be part of the footing it's resting on.
What's a coconut?
Right here is a coconut shell. And right next to it, that looks like the footing the torpedo would be tied into.
I hadn't seen it, but that's exactly where they set the gyro.
I thought I had seen it on the other picture. This is¿ This really pins it down
I had forgotten that gyro
This really locks it.
Hey, this is perfect. Everything matches, Peter, Everything! Everything is where it should be..
Okay, there's your endering cap. Right inside you can barely make out the warhead here, she's splitting along the well-line, so we're looking at it slightly off of center. We're running back¿
Oh S***! F***! No sound¿
From the beginning?¿.
40:09 - 40:46
(discussion of where to restart, etc¿ nothing really of interest)
you know, peter, that gyro.. that's another convincer!
yeah, like I say¿ everything, everything matches.. I thought I had seen that in another shot, but there - that was a much clearer shot, and it's where it should be - everything!
that's a better shot than the other one, isn't it?
boy, those are good pictures. I never dreamed that they would be that sharp and clear.
but these are great pictures aren't they? Amazing, amazing pictures!
These are terrific! These are better than I ever expected. These are so sharp, you can pick out the details you need when you're just working off one object.
42:00 - 42:31
(talking amongst TV crew, sonar beeping)
ya know, I can see the torpedo setting¿ I can't remember when he did it. did he do it before it went into the tube, or did he do it?¿
he had to do it¿ just when you cranked the valve, just before you launched, you basically would have to set it to correct for the angle out.
yeah but I think¿ what I can't remember is¿ like it seemed buoyant, but I don't know whether he actually hauled the torpedo out and set it back in and then FX - clap it was set.
The setting ration would be on top.. so you'd line it up as you put the tube in
so you'd line up the gyro hull with the torpedo hull
and then he had some kind of tool, and he went down.. to set¿ we assume that it would be at fifteen degrees, but you had a choice for the thing to spread. So he could¿ I'm going to have to look at those books again because I'm a little uncertain, but I can remember my torpedomen doing that but I can't when they did. The minute I saw that¿
yeah I thought I had seen that on the other ones, but this is where you'd go back to the tape several times and pick up everything you missed.. I just¿
we gotta go over that tonight, to see if we can find (inaudible)
- 45:18 mumbling, poor sound
45:18 - (the crew are asked to "do it one more time" to re-film)
- 48:56 the crew is setting up to re-film, brief discussion of another sight - nothing too useful
There's the¿ is that a bracket?
That's the mounting bracket to hold it onto the fish.
Then we're going to slide back down¿. All right, freeze that.
So what are we looking at?
This is the rear of the air-flask. That's too clean a hemisphere¿ that's the felling plug. That's too clean a hemisphere for a torpedo warhead, it would be more tapered.
and nor would it be in that position
nor would it be in that position. That is the airflask.
let's move forward¿. That's the breakoff point.
that's the break-off point, that' shte weaksest spot on the torpedo. If she's going to break, that's exactly where she'll break.
on the launcher?
on the launcher, anywhere, that's where she'll break. There's your gyro hull.
That hull there is where they adjusted the gyro
Adjusted the gyro..
okay, let's back away a little more.. Cathy fast forward a little
it's so easy to get distracted by the beautiful fish¿
okay there's another re-enforcing ring right there.
those are the propellers¿ stop!
Those are two contra-rotating props right behind the fins
there's your tail of the torpedo right there, running back tapered from the tubes
Right - Oh! Right there, there's your junction between the air flask and the fuel section. Right there you can just see it in there, there's a howell, that's where it should be. The gyro hull right there,
there's gyro hull right there, that's the exact spot where¿ yeah, that's¿
fast forward, going back around the same place. Keep coming¿ coming¿ come back around, keep fast forwarding it¿
okay here's where she's splitting on the well, running right back where it should be.
freeze! There it is again
Yeah, that's again the other side, you can see it here, this is the splitting of the well, the front one is. There's your gyro setting hull, she's tapering back,
That's too convincing for me, that gyro
and there she's tapering back the way she should, we've got a fin in front of two-contra rotating props.. boy you couldn't ask for better ideas!
so, what do we got?
we have a torpedo tube off pt 109 with a mark - A torpedo inside
no doubt, no doubt
no doubt! Everything is there that should be and it's where it should be.
so what is it?
it is a torpedo tube off of pt-109! This is it!
period, this is it!
okay, run that last section
(This, to me, is the best declaration so far, as it's not too excited, and it's sort of a summary, so it seems the most sound).
everything is there! Everything Is there, all the way down the line, everything is where it should be, it's there, we can see it, the pictures are great, we can tell everything - I can see inside the control panel, it's all there! Okay, here's the overhead shot, she's splitting on the well¿ the dimensions are right, oh yeah¿
there it is again..
there's the hull, there's where your controls are, runs all the back, this here, the dimensions are perfect, she broke in half right in the middle¿ oh she's here¿ no doubt about it.
there's no doubt about it
there's no doubt.. even here we can pick up a couple more of those straps from looking on on top.
now it goes under the dune
now it goes under the dune
where's the rest of the boat?
I suspect the rest of the pt is right in that, and if it's buried soon enough, the mahogany and everything is going to be there.
Well, we'll see. We've got to get our new excavating vehicles ready for next year.
That would be fun.
All right, fast forward, Cathy.
so this is it¿
This is it. There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever what we have.
there, now you've got a nice aerial
okay, freeze it.
look at those straps¿
straps right here¿ I bet that chunk we're seeing next to the coconut hole was part of the footing it was resting on. The dimensions are right. Can you move it forward just a little, cathy? Okay, 3 feet¿ that's two feet¿
fast forward Cathy
there, we're parking right next to it
that's two feet, the dimensions are perfect. Oh, the dimensions are absolutely perfect, the ratio's right.
--Mostly uninteresting stuff.. mumbling, nothing new--
We're here at the right time. Next year they might not have been visible.
It woulda just been the sand dune! Of course if we came it could have been the hull..
Yeah, that's true, we could have came here next year and found the whole hull, and half the torpedoes would have been buried, but if the hull was buried soon enough, then the mahogany and everything will still be there! Boy those are sharp images! You can see everything we needed.
that gyro box, maybe we can magnify that or something
if I could, I can put this im my computer, and with the images, I can break it down into signal spots, blow it up, sharpen it¿ oh yeah we can get (mumbling)
of course all I can remember is my torpedo-men working on it. I can't remember what it looked like.
At least you can remember that, I wasn't there at the time.
I can see them bending over and fooling around with the gyro setting, but I can't remember ever seeing the gyro, that's gone, and what's gone is I can't remember when they did i¿
it probably was just, just before you left base, it's part of the standard procedure..
you wouldn't try to set it after dark
1:00:38 - 1:01:03 .. (mostly mumbling)
Review it one more time.. this, you know¿ this gyro. How it's really binding.
Well we were.. the gyro.. the opening of the setting of the gyro, which was on the torpedo. The gyro controls the torpedo course. Which is usually set to bring it back 15 degrees, which would bring it along the key line of the torpedo, and I hadn't seen that before, but it was just where I remember it was, where Willie Monk our torpedo man would have been working on it - on the 105 and not on the 109, but what I can't remember was when he did it. but he did it as a matter of routine, either before we went out, or while we were¿ he didn't do it just before we fired it. I knew he didn't do that he wouldn't have time. He did it at the dock.
to see everything match up, the gyro hole where it's supposed to be, the torpedo - looking at the torpedo, where that's supposed to be, the airflask where it's supposed to be and break where you expect it to break. And the 109 is down underneath the sand. The dimension s are right, everything is perfect, it is right, you know.. we can see everything we should see, and nothing we should. There isn't a single thing out of place.
that tube rode down¿. Because it was found so much further down. The other two were probably sheared off at the point of contact, and went down at a differend rate¿
they go straight down! 5000 pounds of torpedoes¿
this one came down slowly.
the other floated for a long way, and probably sank slowly.
the way I figure it, she come down slowly as the gas leaked out, the air leaked out, and she come down.. and she must have settled on a reasonably even keel for us to be seeing what we're seeing.
aolcohol and torpedo.. af-gas is about. Alcohol leaking out of gas is about¿
okay¿ nice work..
funny, it's the details..seeing that thing in my own head¿