Day Five, August 6, 1998

Author: Brent Rudmann
Activities: Today's plan is to utilize the time allowed by the heavy seas to gather as many accurate measurements and feature drawings as possible so that the wreck plan can be put in place. Final geographical surveys taken, and reports written up for a presentation to Ft. Ross community.

- Abalone caught yesterday was cooked today, and all were delicious. Several more crew have decided to purchase licenses and gather some abalone for their trip home.

-  Final project agenda discussed, all dependant upon the weather.

Researcher Log: It is Thursday morning. I am not really sure what time it is, since my watch quit working two weeks ago. Putting on the last of my gear I wonder what this dive holds in store for me. My BCD is on and my mask is in place. Splash! I am in the water somewhat enjoying the cold sensation. I join Charlie, Dede, Marianne and Deke and make my way to the bottom. I notice the visibility is pretty good (15-20 feet) and orient myself to the wreck. We have landed just above the engine and make our way towards the very bow of the boat. We visited the bow yesterday, and took a pretty good beating. I am hoping the surge will have some mercy on me today.

Swimming onward, I notice a thorny purple cucumber and stop to take a good look around. There is such a variety of biology on this site. I see something new everyday. There are many types of sea stars on the ship, remains leaving splotches of white, yellow, orange and brown. There are also sea anemones, sea urchins, and fish living on the wreck. I also cannot forget the long strands of kelp since I am entangle in it daily.

Reaching the front of the wreck, I hold on tight as the surge pulls me in different directions. Charlie is changing the floating marker that indicates the bow of the ship from above water. I hand him the new marker and go off to meet Dede and complete the tasks assigned for the day. We begin by measuring the height of the bow, and mark in any plating that will help identify the skeleton of what is left of the ship. We find a portion of the keel with two ribs branching off among the mass of scattered metal. We then scour the area for any other prominent pieces that will help piece the wreck together. Working with the rest of the dive team, we find portions of portholes, a storage hatch, and verify the placement of the second hawser. These will all be mapped on the site plan later in the evening.

Measuring the last of the hatch and still holding on tight, I notice that it is time to ascend. My toes are beginning to turn into ice cubes. I look around realizing I must not be the only one, there are hand signals from others confirming that it is time to return to the surface.

As I ascend the line, I reflect on the time I have spent in California on this project. We have been diving for only five days, and reached the bow of the ship, over 100 feet from where we began. With the cooperation of California and Indiana participants, we have pieced together a great deal of the wreckage on paper shedding light on how the Pomona reached the bottom of Fort Ross Cove after taking that fateful blow to her hull in 1908.

Randalyn Raj
Indiana University

The Other Dive Team: This Thursday was like any other Thursday in my life, except that I was sitting in a Zodiac inflatable boat in full scuba gear preparing to dive a shipwreck. This particular Zodiac was making its way to the remains of the Pomona, a passenger steamer that lost itself to the rocks of Fort Ross Cove back in 1908. It was a good day to be doing this sort of thing, as the sun was out and the conditions were generally pretty good. My dive buddy was the Other Andrew, and the Two Andrews set out to map M2 (a feature on the drive train), and the main piston of the engine, which has a diameter of four and a half feet. We mapped M2 first, and this went smashingly well. I took measurements while the Other Andrew recorded them, and we were done within 15 minutes. With 20 minutes of dive time left, we headed out to the piston, and this is when I was reintroduced to my good pal Surge. Surge was not happy with us this day. As the Other Andrew started measuring the piston and I started recording, Surge decided to toss us around a bit. At first, Surge was just toying with us, but then he really laid in a few good ones. He did not want the Two Andrews to map this piston! But we were too smart for him. We found ways to crowbar our bodies into nearby pieces of wreckage, making it possible to continue mapping even when Surge gave us his best shot. As our thirty-five minute dive at thirty five feet came to an end, we emerged triumphant from the depths, secure in the fact that we had beaten Surge and mapped the piston. But it was not over.

As we came into our landing on the beach, Surge almost had the last laugh. We came as close as you possibly can to flipping a Zodiac without actually doing it. I thought that we were going to have to put a temporary stop to our actions on the Pomona in order to dive for our own stuff, but we were spared. After making it safely to the beach and bailing out a bit of water, the Two Andrews reflected upon their experience and ate lunch.

Andrew Kinkella