ECU's 2006 Fall Field School
Project Journal
11 September 2006

By Amy Leuchtmann
Amy Leuchtmann

Its Monday…that should really say it all! Nothing seemed to flow quite as smoothly as we would have hoped, but in the end, we accomplished what we set out to do. Our morning briefing was extended so that Joe, Michelle, and myself could give our presentation “A Method for the Madness.” Basically, this consisted of a recording strategy for Site A. We set up a priority list for what we wanted to record and assigned tasks to everyone for the week. There were a lot of different logistics to cover, for example, making sure everyone had a chance at dredging (clearing away the mud on the vessels), everyone has to take a turn at being barge chief (remaining on the boat for the day in order to assist divers and maintain safety measures), and making sure that people writing up final reports on vessels did in fact get a chance to work on their vessel!

ECU dive barge

Planning the next phase (Tricia, Calvin, and Adam pictured)

After sharing this detailed yet VERY flexible plan with the crew, we split up into groups in order to gather what I really hope is the very last of the equipment we will need to use on site. All right, truth be told, I can’t complain about carrying the equipment too much…my arms are looking more toned every day! But I digress. Anyway, the van carrying most of the dredge equipment arrived at the dock first. We intended to set up the dredge and get everything out of storage and on to the boat, however, we quickly discovered that the keys to said storage were in the truck that had not yet arrived. Also, the toolbox for the dredge was in the bed of that very same truck. Ah, well, the best laid plans…instead we flipped on the radio that I had finally remembered to bring, ate our lunch and enjoyed what little sun was filtering through the clouds.

Dredge hoses

Trying to figure out where all the hoses go!
(Calvin and Amy pictured)

Once we were finally all together again we made quick work of loading up the Barge and floating our way over to Vessel 1 (the Centerboard Wreck). Then the real fun began. The first challenge was determining the in-flow and out-flows on our pump. In typical fashion, we guessed wrong and hooked up our hoses backwards. No worries, we made quick work of switching them around again and no one was hurt or soaked in the process. After several false starts and many refills to the primer (using a leaky bucket of all things) we finally seemed to have everything running smoothly…with one exception, no suction. A definite problem. Adam Friedman managed to solve the mystery. While I would like to explain the complicated physics principle that he used to figure it out, between the noise from the dredge engine and basically not caring enough about physics to listen, I didn’t quite catch his explanation. Basically, the hose used for outflow on the dredge head is too long. We’ll have a shorter one tomorrow.

ECU dive barge

Running the transit ( Dave, Michelle, and Joe pictured)

Meanwhile, back on shore, Joe Hoyt, Michelle Damian, and Dr. Stewart were practicing with the survey equipment. It will be their responsibility to create an accurate map of the shoreline surrounding Site A. To do this they will use terrestrial survey methods. You know the kind I mean, they’ll look like the people you see on the side of a highway where one guy is looking through a weird box-like thing on a tripod and farther down the road you see someone looking bored and leaning on a pole.

As we headed for home we were all confident that while it seemed like little was accomplished today, the experimenting and learning we all did with the new equipment will let us have a smooth and very productive day tomorrow. Ultimately, that learning was what we needed to achieve today.

For more information you can visit the ECU website at:

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Return to Project Journal home page.