Fairhaven Days 2 & 3

On Wednesday we departed at about 8 o’clock for the National Archives Northeast Reagion, which is located in Waltham. This is about an hour’s drive from Farihaven, so on the ride over, Eric described our objective. The plan was to search for evidence supporting the tentative naming of an unidentified shipwreck. The steam lighter that Eric had found previously is believed to be the New York Railroad No. 14. The ships have matching lengths and other measurements but after the ship was sold in 1962, there is no record of where it went or how it ended up sunk in Boston Harbor. Therefore we searched the Army Corps of Engineers records of wrecks and obstructions to find any mention of the ship. These records deal with shipwrecks that are obstructions to navigation and their removal. Sadly, after many hours of searching we found nothing about the little lighter we were looking for. On the other hand, we did turn up some interesting information on the Chester Poling and a wreck called the Snetind which Eric had discovered some years prior. After lunch at Bertucci’s we swung by the Quest to fix a broken shower valve. This was much more trouble than initially assumed because the valve which needed replacement could not be found at any local boating stores. Finally we found one at a Home Depot and Eric was able to fix the shower. Since this took the majority of the afternoon we headed home and again rested up for the full day to come. The next day we awoke to meet with some of Quest Marine Service’s client. We drove out to Cape Cod for an appointment with Bill who works at Benthos. Benthos makes a variety of underwater products ranging from sonar systems to ROVs to glass balls. The sonar is a unique trail behind system that can scan the bottom topography making it possible to map and survey underwater areas. In the products testing stages, the Quest used it to take a survey of the Cape Cod chanel. Benthos is also the company that manufactured the ROV “Little Geek” seen in the movie Abyss (they still have it). The glass balls are one of their most popular items, often used to house sensitive scientific equipment at great depth. Eric and I recieved a full tour of Benthos’ facilities, which are sizable and impressive. They have tons of engineers, people assembling products, large pools for testing their products and tiny pools capable of testing the equipment at great pressures. After the tour, we headed back to the Quest to get it fueled up for the weekend dive trip. The highlight of this trip was probably the swarms of ctenphores lighting up in the harbor water. After this, we grabbed lunch and headed to Providence to Visit another company that Quest does testing for, Farsounder. Farsounder is still a youthful company, hatched from a URI undergrad with an idea to create forward looking sonar for whale avoidance. After many years of science and engineering far over my head, the prototype was created and Farsounder with it to market and sell the product. We met with Cheryl the CEO who gave us a history of the company and gave us a description of the product. Then we were introduced to the engineers behind the product who talked with us for a while about the myriad applications of their sonar and then gave us a demo of it. The sonar is now marketed more as an aid to navigation capable of showing what is in the water in front of the boat, and any obstruction’s exact distance and depth. The demo was pretty cool because the image updates everysecond or so and can provide several different views and angles of the water in front of the boat. At the conclusion of our meeting I said good by to Eric and Cheryl and took off for home to get ready for the dive trip planned for the weekend. Unfortunately we were blown out again, so I had a few days to prepare for my trip to Boston and working at the aquarium.