[an error occurred while processing this directive]


  Field Notes From
Bob Ballard

<< Back to Feature Page

Bob Ballard On AssignmentArrows

View Field Notes
From Photographer

David McLain

Bob Ballard On Assignment

View Field Notes
From Author

Peter de Jonge

In most cases these accounts are edited versions of a spoken interview. They have not been researched and may differ from the printed article.

Photographs by David McLain


Bob Ballard

Field Notes From Photographer
David McLain

Best Worst Quirkiest
    What a ride! Spending 31 days on a boat was pretty intense. And the environment itself was intense. I can't imagine what it's like being on a submarine. I saw a tree when I got back, and it struck me as so beautiful. I realized I hadn't seen a tree in a month. I was out in the middle of nowhere in this place where time doesn't really matter. I could go below and go to bed at two in the afternoon and feel perfectly normal. It was fascinating.

    The expedition was not without failure. Even though Hercules, a robotic vehicle, performed flawlessly for most of the trip, it suffered a broken hydraulic line at the very end of the expedition off Skerki. The technicians isolated the problem back to a pump, so they had a new pump flown in from Vancouver, British Columbia. That set us back a couple of days. They installed the new pump, but then the same problem happened again and ended the mission.

    The Knorr was held up for almost three days at the port of Sinop as local authorities tried to sort out what we were up to. A rumor had gotten out that Ballard was really exploring the Black Sea for oil. For 36 hours the media mobbed our boat to find out the real story and to get a glimpse of Ballard himself. He eventually appeared and addressed them with, "I am here to look for oil. Olive oil." His wit and charm dispelled the rumor, the authorities released the Knorr from harbor, and the expedition got under way.


© 2004 National Geographic Society. All rights reserved. Privacy Policy       Advertising Opportunities       Masthead

National Geographic Magazine Home Contact Us Forums Shop Subscribe