National Geographic : 1964 Jun
further delineated the boundaries within which Thresher must lie, but no debris was sighted. During the period Trieste was undergoing inspection, a simple but effective means of bottom positioning had been put into effect. Sur face vessels had dropped more than 1,400 large-numbered plastic markers to the bottom at spaced intervals. This network of markers crisscrossed the debris area and en abled us to cover the sea floor more methodically on sub sequent dives-even though most of the markers failed to unfold into legibility. With the autumn gales rapidly approaching, we knew time was running out. We had already been through seas of 15 to 20 feet and had almost been forced to leave the area by hurricane Beulah. The high seas had made their mark on Trieste. With her decks awash under the best of conditions and her batteries, wiring, and most equipment fully exposed to the elements, she was taking a terrific beat ing. Although some repairs could be made at sea, our badly damaged battery boxes could not be repaired and would not last much longer. On the eighth dive I was accompanied by Comdr. James W. Davies, an oceanographer, and Lt. Comdr. Arthur Gil more, a submariner familiar with Thresher. Upon reaching bottom, we immediately spotted a "fortune cookie"-one of our plastic markers. Following the search plan to cover areas adjoining those of our previous dives, we cruised slowly over the bottom (diagram, pages 770-71). After three hours on our southerly leg, investigating each unusual echo that showed up on our sonar, we were close to the turning point when I began to recognize some pecu liarities of the sea floor.