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Daily Archives: March 17, 2017


Meridian Passages, Volume XIII, Number 27

Central Pacific Edition

The Team

Cast & Crew

Note: Photographer Bill and two members of the
crew not pictured – someone had to steer the ship!

The Meridian Passages staff have fielded requests for a list of personnel aboard. Included here are the 36 folks sailing on Mermaid (counting Alan who was with us March 4-14) and the Nauticos team ashore providing regular & critical support. Of course, there are also folks at WHOI, MMA Offshore, U. of Hawaii, ship agents, crews of SauVage & Machias, CARC Cedar Rapids, NOAA, NASA, and helpers scattered around the hemisphere, not to mention our friends & families at home who are missing us and helping in many ways.

Roles listed here are primary duties, though everyone pitches in to get the job done.

Alan Eustace – Expedition Leader

Dave Jourdan – Coordinator & Publisher

Elgen Long – Advisor



Spence King – Operations Manager

Tom Dettweiler – Technical Manager

Greg Packard – AUV Team Leader

Jeff Morris – Chief Sonar Analyst

Joe Litchfield – Ship liaison & Seadog

Christopher Griner – AUV Operator

Neil McPhee – AUV Operator

Mark Dennett – AUV Operator


Radio Communications

Tom Vinson NYØV – Comms

Rod Blocksome KØDAS – Comms Media

Bill Mills – Director of Photography

Bryan McCoy KAØYSQ – MacGyver


Education & Outreach

Sallie Smith – Teacher

Marika Lorraine – Journalist

Sue Morris – Imagery & Ops Support


At-Sea Support

Jon Thompson – Exhibitionist

Pam Geddis – Doctor & Impersonator


Ashore Support

Charlotte Vick – Ashore Logistics & PR

Louise Mnich – Negotiator & Legal-beagle

David Kling – Master of Coin

Jenne James – Ashore Coordinator

Bethany Lacroix – Website & Comms


Mermaid Vigilance Crew

Noe Flores Armenta – Master

Lania Kurniauan – Chief Officer

Rifky Harimadya – 2nd Officer

Oleksandr Baybak – Chief Engineer

Andriyanto – 1st Engineer

Samsul Bachri Leorima – 2nd Eng.

Sergiy Stepanov – ETO

Iksan Natta – Bosun

Abdullah Mahmud – AB

Ahmad Derita – AB

Burhan Andi – AB

Kasmawir – Oiler

Kasman Sonne – Oiler

Jan Pieter – Chief Cook

Mardan Andi Kanna – 2nd Cook

Susanto Doni – Steward


Message from SauVage

[In reply to our farewell message sent yesterday…]

Thanks for those sweet words. We never thought that our old sheet padding fabric would be so much appreciated! Enjoy the wines. We wish you the best for the research and we feel honored to have been part of this exciting mission. We read the books! So interesting! And meeting Alan is great. We are sailing in optimal conditions, no swell, good beam winds, smooth glide. Still 480 NM to go.

Cheers, Sophie, Didier, Cloe, Nino, Alan

The Fate of the Itasca

We know that the US Coast Guard procured ten cutters of the Lake class commissioned starting in 1928. Each carried the name of a lake in the United States. My research shows the US Government transferred the cutters to Great Britain in 1941 under the lend-lease program. The British rechristened the ships with new names and refitted the ships for war.

The Pontchartrain (HMS Hartland) and Mendota (HMS Walney) were both sunk by gun fire on Nov. 8, 1942 off the coast of Oran, North Africa and the Sebago (HMS Culver) was torpedoed and sunk by the German sub U-105 on Jan 31, 1942. The remaining seven former Lake class cutters (Chelan, Tahoe, Champlain, Itasca, Saranac, Shoshone, and Cayuga) were returned to the United States after the war – probably nearly worn out. The trail of Itasca (HMS Gorleston) ends in 1950 with it being sold for scrap.

My family once owned a 1950 Ford sedan. Perhaps it contained some of the Itasca’s steel?

— Rod Blocksome

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Meridian Passages, Volume XIII, Number 26

Central Pacific Edition


Alan Begins Journey Back to Civilization

We were sorry to see Alan depart today on the sailing vessel SauVage, bound for Funafuti, then Fiji, then the Mainland and eventually to Lancaster, PA. It will take him about five sailing days to cover the over 600 nautical miles to the Funafuti atoll south of here, and considerably less time to make it the rest of the way to Pennsylvania.

Unfortunately, owning to timing and short scheduling window of this expedition, Alan was unable to spend the entire search mission on board. However, the ten days he spent with us were a great experience for all. He was able to immerse himself in our operations, catch up with details of the analysis work that underpins our search having all the experts at hand, and dive into the technology of REMUS and our sonar analysis tools. In a few short days he became an integral part of the team and said he enjoyed the camaraderie. Before he left, he thanked the Captain and crew for their hospitality and left us with some words of support and encouragement.

Spence reported feeling separation anxiety in response to losing a shipmate. Doc Pam examined him, expressed only mild concern, and prescribed a dose of Oreos. Pam herself was seen trying to climb over the rail as the sailboat departed, but was restrained by Bryan who slapped a running taut line hitch around her wrist.

The crew of SauVage took on a load of fuel from us, and returned the favor with a swag bag of goodies. Included was a lube oil filter for the Engineer, a SauVage t-shirt, some fancy scarves, a postcard, and three bottles of spirits. Doc Pam immediately took custody of the alcohol, and said she would inventory it in her cabin. She expressed “concern” that it be administered properly. (Did we mention this is a “dry” ship?) After departure, we sent the following message to the Captain and crew of SauVage:

Thank you for your kind gift of nice wines, liqueur and colorful fabrics. These things thrilled our team. Our captain was most pleased at the sight of the fuel filters; our ladies were most excited for the chance to improve fashion around here; and we all are looking wistfully at the wines and liqueur. The vessel owners did not think to provide us any cork pullers. But we have engineers, so don’t worry about us.

We hope you get off to a good start and have a safe trip to Funafuti.

For Alan:

From all of us here we join together to say thank you for sharing time with us and showing your support in so many ways. We all share the passion for discovery, and we’ll pursue the truth wherever the facts lead us until the sea finally gives up her secret. We’re proud to sail for the Eustace Earhart Discovery Expedition. And yours was the most memorable arrival and departure we’ve seen yet.

The Eustace-Earhart Discovery Team

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