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It's very hard to explain to someone who goes down to the beach on Sunday afternoon and dips his pinky in or maybe even as a surfer that to live one thousand atmospheres down or 600 feet beneath the surface you're in an area that is probably more hazardous than outer space. You know you look at the incredible tryout of Apollo 11 and man walking on the moon. In terms of what we're trying to do in the ocean we've done that already. And Sealab to when we got to 200 feet doesn't seem as big a thing. We didn't have as great a head like. A lot of people might not say it but I'll be glad to say that if we do what we think we can do in the oceans it's going to take as much money as it took us to get a man on the moon plus an awful lot more. The voice of Runswick formally associated with the Navy's sea lab experiments. Today through various experiments around the world then is learning more and more about living under the sea.
In time the enormous barriers that still exist will fall and men will have the freedom to move at will and in comfort about the sea floor. Just as the eventual they will move with the years through space. But that vast world ocean that covers two thirds of this globe is in many ways even more important than outer space for in the ocean are secrets of life huge supplies of mineral wealth food to help feed the expanding world population roots of timers and yes sites for community is where people will live and work. We are now in the pioneering stages of underwater exploration. And we will take a look at some of these efforts as we go into the depths. On this edition of down to the sea. Good. For.
Her. I am older than time. So my face doesn't give me away. A provider through the ages. Cold to millions. You can feel me in the rhythm of your birth. I sold simply air and some skin. Mirror all earth's weather with humidity unease and let the moon ride on my back without charge. Each. Of. Our. Summer blue winter foam wiped. A thin silver gauze for autumn. Rain washed green for chilled sprain days. I possess a seasonal wardrobe and seductively float emerald hair on dock rocks for special occasions. Poets call me cite my rule or salute my music in my mystery and it's all true. One more.
For spray bleached beaches run out to meet me. Neon world swim deep inside me and they all grew sad. And to prove that none of the arts escape me I list the secret scribblings on Asians shows the pearly perfection the Mayan Nautilus architecture. The amethyst jewel box of my origins and how ice sculpture rocks. So. Back. To the dark. Can you imagine life without me. I'm the pastors of tomorrow the city of the future. I am the ocean. Now we're back out on the bar about them after all the.
People and Wrecking Ball don't. Happen For A love a love like a. Rug or backing away from it and you can anything on your TV. With a lot of love. Everything you were going to get if you got I mean when you have a backing little. One now. Him already claiming a long. Long. Long time ago that he'd been on the long run turning off.
A lot of not only all around the world although no one harmed in the way of electric motors propelling a research submersible along the bottom of the sea and the descriptive commentary of a man who has had a great deal of experience with these small submarines. Edwin S. Buffington head Marine geology branch marine environment division of the naval undersea research and development center in San Diego. There's two simple philosophies for going underwater and one of them is for a man to take his natural environment with him that's to take place as for the master. Not to do this is to build into the submersible and the amount of air that you normally breathe. The right proportions of oxygen and nitrogen in the inert gases so that there's essentially no difference the other system is to make the man into a fish essentially or let him adapt to the ambient pressure.
The voice of Edwin Buffington and Dr Robert Dill is also an oceanographer at the Naval undersea research and development center. Unlike all of the scientists who probe the depths with many sobs he is a pioneer in this field for their research submersible is relatively speaking a very new tool. I can say that when we first started in we were rather apprehensive about the whole thing we had no confidence in the craft. However this was very rapidly dispelled after one or two dives. And it's amazing how open you feel. You are looking out a window it's almost like putting your head into a large aquarium. We have lights that we can penetrate the darkness that starts at about a depth of 600 feet. As we go down you look out the window and you have a relatively deep blue which gradually gives way to a bluish green and then finally down into a deep purple and complete black blackness. Or I should say darkness. The
feeling of mood motion is almost completely lacking. If you look out the window you see the small particulate material. It looks like it's rising up past your window and instead of you have it you do not have the feeling that you're moving but that the whole ocean is moving up past you as you go down through the various layers in the ocean. Different in colder and colder water of course. You see that the ocean is very definitely zoned organisms of different types who live in any would give live in particular depths zones. You run into areas quite often where you have small fish which will all be there hanging head down or head up completely disoriented until you begin to look closer and you'll find that they're all essentially pointing in the same direction. And these are the fish that
rise to the surface at night and feed it actively on the organisms which are more abundant up in the surface waters. And then as the daylight comes they will gradually sink and they form what we call the deep scattering there. And you get down toward the bottom quite often 40 or 50 feet from the sediment surface you begin to get a rather light back glow as we call it the lights from the vehicle will bounce from the bottom and then show back up and give us a glow scattering by the many organisms which we find in the ocean. I think one of the impressions that many people get when they look at our interests rendition of the ocean is that it's rather sterile place and you can see great distances. We're in reality the ocean is a soup it's a living. There's everywhere you look there are small organisms periodical you have larger ones which of
course are feeding on these smaller forms as we write of on the bottom. Quite often you will find it it's covered by a very fine flocculus clay in the slightest disturbance causes a cloud of turbaned material to rise and we lose all visibility for as much as 10 or 15 minutes until the bottom currents in the area carry the cloud away. This is a another one of the fallacies that people often have is that they can put a vehicle on the sea floor and ride around as they would on land on wheels. This is not true because of this cloud of material would completely. Destroying any visibility that one would have and this of course is a very undesirable condition. So what we do we try to make our small submersibles neutrally buoyant so that we float
above the bottom or essentially fly above the bottom and as we move we are in reality more or less have the same restrictions that a person driving in a fog does because we don't have great visibility maximum up to 100 feet if we have very strong light and have very clear water. So this means that you can only move slowly on the sea floor because you do have abrupt changes in the topography. You have sea cliffs you have large canyons where you will be going along an essential ie a flat bottom. You will have an abrupt vertical drop off three or four hundred feet and in some instances up to a thousand feet. So you have to be careful and move slowly in these small swimmers like the cliffs. Going to make a dive in the pool proximately 90 metres down position high Farkle observer. Still
the sea is calm. Sunshine day light or deep blue wind velocity zero heads close to twelve twenty in a row. Twelve twenty nine in the wire visibility four meters almost no swell 30 meters on the beach and we came in the air and then playing. In the main. Time. Three meters and Franken has decreased in number. 34 times. We still haven't. Reached about 12:30 900 meters.
Ninety two. The model is a fine and doing. Great. Playing it easily stirred up. The areas that we've worked in so far have been areas of relatively weak currents we haven't been able to go into the vast regions of the deep ocean between 12000 and 20000 feet except only on brief excursions with the tree yest This is the bathyscaphe we have been able to make divers with in the deep trenches in fact we've gone to the deepest part of the ocean which is thirty five thousand
eight hundred feet plus or minus 500. This dive was made back in 1960 by. Lieutenant Don Walsh and Jock Picard it was a Navy sponsored expedition and it was for scientific purposes. I had established once and for all that man can go to any depths in the ocean. However since that time we have the United States has not concentrated on deep diving and the real leadership has gone over to the French with their med which is the third generation of back the Skaf type of craft. This is not like the small submersibles like the deep star the Alvin's or the deep quests that we are currently using these Baptists gaffes have to have large.
Lifting balloons which are filled full of gasoline they're rather clumsy craft when you consider them relative to the small highly maneuverable research vessels that were using. But they can go to any depth to the ocean. And also they have the capability of a tremendous lift you can carry great loads with you. The smaller craft do not have this ability but one has to play one desire against another another if you want to go very deep. It's going to take you a long time it's a very costly effort. The dive is in the back the Skaf and the med one dive which is one day's operation will cost between fifty and seventy five thousand dollars which is a tremendous cost. The smaller submersibles will cost between eight and ten thousand dollars and they'll take you down to depths of four to 8000 feet. If you
don't want to go as deep if you want to make a lot of dives there are other smaller craft little 2 min units which you can tow rapidly out into an area. And these craft will you can operate very efficiently for about a thousand dollars a day so you have a cost problem. We are stuck to deal with you could recall any particularly memorable events while diving. I think one of the most I should say not disturbing but one of the most concerned parts of my life was my first dive in the French are mad This was in the Puerto Rican trench where we were going down to a depth of 22000 feet. It turns out that I have a very good friend who was also the engineer in charge on LI dildos and he was really reassuring me that the French have a very adequate safety system and everything was working out fine so we started the interior the the sphere we were is with down off Puerto
Rico of course was was very hot when we started and we had 100 percent humidity and the temperature inside was about 105 degrees. But this gradually changed to even when we got down to about 5000 feet we bend to cool off very nicely and with the French craft you look out through a the port holes through what is essentially by an oculus because the holes are so small that you don't have split vision and so they've taken care of this optically by looking out the small but ocular is and this means of course you have to lean over and look down through the binocular. And as I was doing this I noticed suddenly and very abruptly there was a cold stream of icy water that ran down me. The back of my neck and I immediately informed my French pilot that there was a problem here that I was having ice water on down my neck and he said not to worry it was only a condensation. Well I didn't believe him so I
tasted it and it was salty and coarsest immediately caused a great deal of concern and so I explained to him that this was salt water and fresh water has a condensate and he said well don't worry he said it is probably just a small leak. There is a river in the ocean. In the severest drought. It never fails. And in the mightiest floods. It never overflows. Its banks and its bottoms are of cold water while its current is of warm. The Gulf of Mexico is its fountain and its mouth is in the Arctic Sea. It is the Gulf Stream. There is in the world no others such majestic flow of waters.
Its current is more rapid than the Mississippi or the Amazon. And its volume more than a thousand times greater throughout the world ocean there are rivers at various depths and understanding these surface and underwater currents is of vital importance where they have great bearing on sea life on the weather or on navigation. It was Benjamin Franklin that fascinating and practical man of letters invention diplomacy and science who first realized the potential of the Gulf Stream and who in fact gave it its name is an observation that the mail would reach Europe much faster if ships followed the Gulfstream led to much shorter trips across the Atlantic. So what better name could be assigned to the submersible designed to float in the Gulf Stream up the East Coast in an intensive study of that river in the ocean than the name of Ben Franklin conceived by this was so should not refer engineers because art and engineered by Grumman Aircraft Corporation at Bethpage New York. They know historic Ben Franklin
float took place in one thousand sixty nine with Picard and a number of other scientists and technicians aboard throughout the journey. But then Franklin's crew provided frequent reports to the surface support ship as they floated along in the Gulf Stream point out. One more point. Here on Earth 35. Of approximately what we watch. Mike what. Do we have going for what. They are OK. If you. Want to. Do that. You're quite. Right.
We're going to. Have to work that way. Floating submersibles small submarines and deep sea diving devices all allow a man to take his environment with him as he travels into the depths. The second approach to entering the sea is four men to a death to the underwater environment itself the most common example of this approach perhaps being the Aqua Lung developed by gusto down to the sea reporter Ken Kramer talked to shark and Jean-Michel Cousteau. You know for me it is fascinating to see the progress that diving as Dan in 1951 when I came to the States for the first time after the
War I when I went to Los Angeles where licensee was located and he had arranged for a salt you know he was a sole licensee then I quit. And he was discussing with he says associate whether he would order I know 10 sets and asked to see it said oh no the market is now saturated. That was in 1951 with 10 in the United States. Now we are sending more than 35000 out of what I said my year and it's going as far as I'm concerned with my family just after the war. I managed to have a small dog when I was made for my two sons and they learned how to dive when they were not quite not quite six and the
progress they made was extraordinary. But at that time and I was very proud to have my sons dive going fact when you put me into the water I didn't have a chance. And so I had to swim or die. So I make the good choice I think and. That's why I try to beat your week called was my son which is 22 months old is he still too small to have an aqualung on that he can stay underwater now. As a matter of fact he had been donned the swimming pool yesterday at the well for about two feet at sea when combined the Aqua Lung and the reasonably comfortable underwater habitat provide man with the means of staying at considerable depths for long periods of time or recent sea lab and other underwater living experiments have provided scientists with a great deal of information on the
potential of underwater living quarters Runswick describes the Sealab habitat Sealab is kind of a cross between a submarine and a battery Scout. It's designed for men to live in and out of and so it's different from a bath a Scaff in that respect. It's designed to be lowered down into the ocean floor kind of like an elevator straight down. It assist man in getting it down to the ocean floor by having a series of ballast tanks on it to provide what we call negative buoyancy. That sounds ridiculous negative buoyancy but what you're really doing is adding weight to the vessel so that it does not float as Archimedes Principle normally makes it float. It actually starts sinking down into the ocean. And once we get it down on the bottom then there is a very large ballast tank on the center section of it that we put 17 tons of seawater into to really make sure that it has an actual anchor on the ocean floor. Now it's suspended from this anchor
and it's 70 feet long and it must be within one or two degrees of absolute level. You couldn't go in and out of it. So you've got a trim problem just like you do on a submarine. You have a problem with what do you do with the waste just like you do on a submarine. You have a problem of men living in a very compressed stress environment like you do on a submarine. But that's where the similarity ends. Sea lab is actually an ocean floor laboratory where a man can actually go in and out at will through a kind of an invisible curtain. He doesn't need any special air locks to do this because the mixture of the gases inside the breeze to stay alive. Is the same as the ocean pressure outside. And so you just have the water sort of sitting in these two large entrances at each end of sea life. In fact the man himself when he gets down there an act or not is very much like a submarine because with the exception of his lungs his whole body is at the equal pressure of the ocean outside. So
he's actually kind of a creature of the sea. If we can allow him to have a good mixture of gases to keep alive to keep his lungs inflated under 900 times the atmospheric pressure that we have up here on land. Well and he's going to be able to go in and out at will with complete mobility. And so what we really have is a ship a real ship that is a support ship full of scientists and observers and support personnel pipes and miles and miles and miles of cable and gas barges and electrical generators and cold water and hot water heaters. All of these things to support a very few people who are living in a unique kind of vessel a unique. Gift of the sea 600 feet down as questions of undersea living are answered new questions are raised one by one the problems faced by man as he ventures into the depths of being soft by the plane during
efforts of today's oceanographer. It's. The description of the CD titled I Am the ocean. Was written by Philip Van Doren and appeared in the April 1969 issue of oceans magazine. Down to the sea is a production of public radio station KTVU FM at San Diego State College. The programs are ready and prepared for broadcast by Tom McManus with the assistance of Ken Kramer. Traditional music of the CD as arranged and performed by Sam Hinton. And the selected poetic and narrative passages are read by Cliff Kirk production of down to the sea was made possible by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. This is the national educational radio network.
Down to the sea
Episode Number
Into the Depths
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Identifier: 71-11-2 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
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Duration: 00:57:30
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Chicago: “Down to the sea; 12; Into the Depths,” 1971-00-00, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed February 23, 2024,
MLA: “Down to the sea; 12; Into the Depths.” 1971-00-00. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. February 23, 2024. <>.
APA: Down to the sea; 12; Into the Depths. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from