National Geographic : 2004 Sep
dresses, elegant decanters, dominoes, porce lain dishes, bottled berries to make pies. Later they also found cases of slates, inkwells, and molded glass religious items-candelabras, votive candles-lying stacked like cordwood. From the heap the claws recovered a brown bottle and a piece of wood. To comply with salvage law, Morris delivered the bottle and wood to a federal court in Tampa to "arrest" the site-to keep anyone else from tamper ing with it. At a hundred miles offshore, the wreck lay beyond the limits of authority that both the state of Georgia and the federal gov ernment had over cultural artifacts, but legal sanction was needed to proceed with recovery. The court granted Odyssey exclusive admiralty rights on August 6. Now convinced that the wreck was the Republic and flush with rejuvenated investors, Odyssey purchased a newer, larger research vessel, a 250-foot-long former fishing trawler that the company named Odyssey Explorer. She would carry a massive new ROV named Zeus, a 200-horsepower, seven-ton, tank-size robot equipped with powerful manipulator arms that could lift heavy objects as well as small objects gently. The site demanded industrial-strength gear just to get to the tar get and hold steady. "The Gulf Stream keeps the average Joe away," said Ernie Tapanes. "It protects the wreck." WILLIAM NICHOLS found a shattered economy when his train arrived in New Orleans in November. Reconstruction was in full, painful stride in the city, occupied by Federal troops in 1862. The cargo of the Repub lic, had it arrived on time, would have had immediate impact. Gold and silver coins had nearly vanished from circulation, and people yearned to feel the jingle in their pockets. Republic was only one of several ships due with hard money for New Orleans that week. As customers read in the New Orleans Picayune of October 25, "the Evening Star pressed together in stacks like poker chips.