Ok, so I have lost the thread completely, I am in Cairo, on an increadible adventure and not blogging as I go along, but I promissed these guys that I met on the street while waiting for my dinner to be prepared that I would post their picture. I guess I might as well post the dinner, too.
Garrett said I should post some of my recent photos around Alexandria. Considering that I started this post to talk about science, history, and the origins of human seafaring, I am wondering if this might begin a devolution into
"whatever Eric happens to notice on a particular day".
Lets see where it goes.
Here are some photos I took early in the morning outside our ( The European Institute of Underwater Archaeology) Flat in the El Anfoushi District of Alexandria. I was waiting for a ride to the port to go back to the ship, and felt like I was the only person awake on the entire planet. The Cat agreed.)
I tried answering Williams Questions by describing my morning dive today, but ended up with a document too long to post. So I'll just cover part of his question now, and add some more soon.
Hi William; The visibility here on the sunken Island of Antirhodos, where all the Ptolemaic Kings, Queens, and Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt lived, is 1 meter this morning. That means you can't see your feet or what is around them when you are standing up, eg to carry a basket of rocks away from the site you are working at. Be careful! But can make out shapes and shadows, hopefully before you run into things. It is not really dark here, except at the bottom of a deep excavation, and directly under the ship. The water temperature 26 degrees C. In our wet suits we might get cold, if we weren’t running around all over the place and working hard. North East wind brings a swell into the Harbor which pushes us back and forth on the bottom, and stirs up sediment that reduces the visibility. The maximum depth we will encounter today is 8 Meters. Here is a link to a map of the Sunken Royal Quarters of Ancient Alexandria
William wants to know the answer to quite a few questions about our underwater archaeological excavations in Alexandria. I might have to work on his answer for a bit, but fortunately the questions are similar to those posed at the History of Diving Museum, when I give presentations there. Maybe I can answer them all by describing everything my buddies and I do on single dive, maybe tomorrow's.
But it will have to wait till after that for me to post, because I'm still on shore for the evening, and have an obligation to go to a special restaurant where I go every year and eat a stuffed pigeon with some Egyptian friends.
In the mean time, here are William's questions:
What is the water temperature? How long do you stay under water typically? What are you looking for? What is the procedure - do you have to photograph, map, and do other things before you recover objects? Do you get to recover objects? Are they small or big or both? What kinds of things are you finding? What depths are you diving? Is it dark?
Alexandria has an interesting mix of Architectural styles, from the Colonial to the Modern. Our Flat is around the corner, the little street on the left.
The roadway along Alexandria's Easter Harbor is called the Corniche, and just off shore lie the ruins of what was once the most beautiful city in the ancient world
Before I came to Egypt for the first time, I had trouble envisioning what the Modern City of Alexandria looked like, and how the ancient Roya Quarters, including the location (then still unknown) of Cleopatra's Palace related to it.
I got to go to town with a few of my colleagues today to take care of visas and such, and so I'll post a few pictures I took around town.
I promised Annie I would post a photo of fishermen fishing in the port where we work. I still don't have one, but yesterday when I came ashore in Alexandria I took some pictures of fishing boats, at least.
Here is one.
Kelly Boll asked me the following; “I want to know: do you encounter any sea creatures in this modern harbor? what are typical ones? What is the most unusual live thing you've seen on site? Is there coral or any plant growth on the bottom of the harbor? I imagine the harbor to be devoid of life. Is it?"
My response, today we started digging again in Alexandria’s Eastern Harbor. As I was cleaning the growth off of some of the ancient construction blocks on the site, covered mostly with barnacles and a sort of tube worm shell the activity created a feeding frenzy amongst a school of fish that became so bold that they were swimming in front of my mask, blocking my view, trying to get closer to the snacks I was serving up.
Lots of fish, and at least four different types of crabs (one of them likes to pinch fingertips)
The most unusual creature I have seen on site was a fish that I believe to be a member of the Sculpin family. The thing about it was that, aside from all of the regular fish features, it had long, jointed bones coming out in front of its pectoral fins like the legs on a lobster, and it was running along the bottom on these instead of swimming. It would be very interesting to know exactly what fish that was. Anybody want to check that out?
My Name is Eric and My Job is Scientific Exploration.
That means I'm lucky enough to join expeditions to excavate sunken cities, climb volcanoes, find missing bombs, and Sail old research vessels, while searching for the mysteries of the natural world.