Thunder Bay: Reflections from Cathy Green

As a marine archaeologist, I get the opportunity to see incredible things and go amazing places as part of my job. However, one of my favorite parts of my job is sharing what we find and the stories we uncover with other people. With a background in history and art, it’s the stories and images of these shipwrecks that I find most compelling. Don’t get me wrong--being among the first to ever see a new site and getting to spend the day on the water instead of behind a computer screen is pretty cool, too!

This summer I recovered sampling equipment from one of the sinkholes in the Thunder Bay sanctuary and served as a safety diver on the technical diving project in the sanctuary. I also spent a month in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands diving with a team of archaeologists in Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument (click here to check out our blog).

image of safety diver

Our live broadcast day in Thunder Bay was definitely up there with my favorites though. The weather started out fairly typical for the Bay--foggy and gray but not too windy or cold--so Laurentian had no problem steaming out to the designated broadcast point, the wreck of the shipwreck Montana. It was a 14-km (9-mi) trip straight out into Lake Huron, nearly to the shipping lanes. We were smack dab in the middle of the sanctuary, a perfect place to bring together a host of researchers who had been working on projects all summer long.

image of live broadcast crew

Once the production team had set up everything for the broadcasts, we began our series of three programs with the technical diving team, the sinkhole researchers, and the AUV scientists. The weather grew progressively colder and windier as the day went on. However, our connection held, thanks to the wireless network the Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab (GLERL) uses for streaming data from its monitoring buoy system. It was exciting to see questions come in from students across the country watching the programs live. We all thought it was a great way to wind up the field season, and it convinced us that we need to make broadcasts like this part of our field ops every summer. We are looking forward to following up with our scientists to see how their data is coming together and what their plans are in Thunder Bay for summer 2009. Stay tuned for more!

Immersion Program: 
JASON Learning: A Partnership of Sea Research Foundation and National Geographic