BLACK SEA 1999
From: Katy Croff
Katy here. Today, for the first time, I was off of ROV ops, and was moved to the big bad sonar boat with the IFE folks, the sonar guys from AUSS [American Underwater Search and Survey], a National Geographic writer [Priit Vesilind] who gave me some photography lessons, and the archaeology students from Texas A&M.
The morning started out kinda slow with our 3 hour tour, the 3 hour tour of the Black Sea. The weather started getting rough, the tiny ship was tossed...No, not really. It was more like 2 hours offshore where we started bathymetric surveys of the undersea contours, searching for Noah's House, as Dr. Ballard called it, a possible beach where ancient people could have lived before the "Great Flood."
Most of the day I spent relaying what seemed like hundreds of depth data points from the bridge of the ship to the lab downstairs via walkie-talkie, making many a contour map, rigging up a sort of a sail to funnel the sea breeze into the lab where it
NGS writer Priit Vesilind and Dr. Ballard
Finally, we dropped the "fish" (the sonar unit that is towed behind the ship) into the water and started our sonar survey. With the software we've got to process the sonar data, we could see what was on the bottom in real time. Let me tell you, the results were unbelievable! When we saw what we did, which I don't know if I can tell you exactly because it's still yet to be interpreted by those more experienced than myself, in any case, when the images of what we think are the ancient sea floor popped up on the screen, everyone was so excited, the whole room was electrified. Dr. Ballard especially went nuts, which then pumped everybody up even more. He called the group that was already back on shore and had everyone meet us on the dock upon our arrival, so he could put the word on the street. We got back a little after 9, and all were there to hear about what happened and to plan for tomorrow. We will return to where we were today to run more sonar surveys and take out the ROVs to get some videos of the area we are calling "Noah's House."
That's all the excitement for now, tune in tomorrow, same Bat-time, same Bat-channel for the continuing saga of Sinop...