Adventures of a Sea Hunter by James P. Delgado

By James P. Delgado

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And as an archeologist, educator and museum director, I bring back to the surface what I have seen. I bring back photographs, images, impressions, stories and, occasionally, items—artifacts—to share with others. I only raise an artifact after I or my colleagues have studied it on the bottom, mapped it, photographed it and learned how the piece fits into the puzzle that is the wreck as a whole. I raise artifacts that have the power to tell a story and place them in the laboratory for treatment, where the ravages of the sea and time are halted or reversed, so that they can go on display in public museums.

Leaning over to look out the small windows in the crowded cabin, we all scan the horizon. The dark sea is giving way to the greenish-tinged hues of shallow water. In the midst of these sparkling waters, the white sand of islands appears. A chain of islands, like pearls on a string, mark the top of a volcano’s rim, now submerged. The shallows of the atoll merge into darker water inside the ring, the drowned maw of the volcano, that now forms a deep lagoon. This atoll, with its beautiful islands, beaches and a lagoon teeming with marine life, is a place with a famous name.

No one had passed that threshold in thousands of years. Carter opened a small hole and held up a light as he peered into the darkness of millennia, now briefly illuminated again. ” he was asked. “Wonderful things,” he answered. No matter how many times I dive, how many shipwrecks I see, the awe, the excitement, the thrill of discovery, are always there. I, too, see wonderful things. And as an archeologist, educator and museum director, I bring back to the surface what I have seen. I bring back photographs, images, impressions, stories and, occasionally, items—artifacts—to share with others.

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