Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

Macon Expedition
September 18 - September 22, 2006

Teacher-at-Sea Log
NOAA Teacher at Sea: Noah Doughty
MBARI Ship: R/V Western Flyer
Mission: USS MACON Archeological Expedition

Day 1: Monday Sept 18th

Greetings from the sunny coast of California

Today aboard ship we began to survey the wreck site of the USS MACON, a US Navy Dirigible and its Sparrowhawk airplanes. The MACON sunk off the coast near Big Sur, just south of Monterey, on February 12th, 1935. The goal of the survey is to create a photo-mosaic image of the wreckage. To accomplish this we are using a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) called the Tiburon. Much of today's operations centered on getting the ROV into the water early with the camera at a 45-degree angle to capture as many images of the wreck area as possible.


The science crew in the Control Room of the Western Flyer as we watch video from the Tiburon.


GIS map of the MACON wreckage. Outlines indicate approximate location of various pieces of debris.
Plus it enabled the scientists and historians on boat to get a feeling for the condition of the wreckage. Altogether we found all four of the airplanes, each in a different state of decomposition, but some parts remarkably well preserved (we could make out part of a star painted on one wing). One of the things the scientists did was to make a GIS map of the wreck site.

The real work begins tomorrow when researchers from Stanford University begin a two-day project to create the photo-mosaic of the area.



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