Daily Log Report for
15 May 1997

Submitted by Richard Pyle


Not much to report today. The film crew spent the morning in a rented airplane getting arial sequences, while I puttered around the lab. Jack went out for a morning dive right off the marine lab, and Lisa and John went paddeling around some nearby rock islands in kayaks. At about 10:30 am, the film crew returned and they, along with Jack and I, loaded the boat and headed out to film interviews for the documentary. We went to a place called "Lee Marvin Beach", so-named because it was where much of the feature film "Hell in the Pacific" (starring Lee Marvin) was filmed. The interviews took most of the morning, and after that we had a nice peaceful lunch.

After lunch, we headed back out to Augulpelu Reef to do a quick scuba dive (yes, conventional air scuba - yucko), so they could film me reinact portions of my bends incident. All they wanted was scenes of me using conventional scuba bolting towards the surface, to use as abstract background during the portion of the film when I describe what happened that fateful day 11 years ago (they promise me it won't be tacky!). Even though it was air scuba, it was sort of fun doing these bolt towards the surface. Obviously, I didn't do any continuous fast ascent for more than about 15 feet or so, and we did a lot of decompression time, even though we weren't anywhere near the decompression limits (just to be safe).

We were joined today by Sara Shoemaker, this year's "Our World Underwater" scholar, who flew in to Palau yesterday after a stint aboard the Truk (Chuuk) Aggressor live-aboard (with Stan Waterman). I've met many of the former OWU scholars, and all of them have been wonderful people with promising futures in marine science. In the short time I've interacted with Sara, it is overwhelmingly clear that her future looks extremely bright. Adam Ravetch, underwater film-maker and constant source of entertainment on this expedition, was the OWU scholar for 1985/86. Small world!

The film crew leaves tomorrow, and we leave next Monday. The expedition feels as though it is winding down right now. We've achieved what we came here to do -- discover new species and get footage for the documentary. We plan to keep the next few days relaxing; although we will still likely conduct a few more deep dives.

Late in the day, just outside our room, there was a magnificent rainbow over the nearby Rock Islands. It was a complete, unbroken arch -- a rare sight. I did what I could to photograph it, but as usual, the picture does not do the scene justice. In any event, I took it as a good omen.

Toshiba AmericaThese daily reports made possible through the generous support of Toshiba America.

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