Ancient Shipwreck at Godavaya, Sri Lanka

Blue Green Brown Black – the many colors of the Indian Ocean!

By April 22, 2014July 14th, 2015No Comments

Author: Staci Willis

With archaeology steadily progressing on site, the team merrily enjoyed the New Year festivities and Andrew Lawler’s visit, looking forward to another productive three weeks on site.  We had moved a lot of sand and uncovered a number of interesting and informative artifacts, so it was with much excitement that we dived back in after the holiday!  Unfortunately, we passed all too quickly from a layer of blue to a layer of greenish-brown that ended in a layer of black.  Bad visibility is not an uncommon feature of underwater archaeology and often a dive is postponed for a day to let the sediment settle and the water clear.  Thus, the next day we returned ready again to resume our activities.  Alas, though the final layer of black was no longer there, the site was hidden in a heavy murk; it took several attempts for the dive team to find the site and once there the only thing that was clear was that it would not be possible to work on the site under the present conditions.

Staci swims over site prior to the holiday.  Note the blue water and clear visibility.  Photo by Susannah H. Snowden.

Staci swims over site prior to the holiday. Note the blue water and clear visibility. Photo by Susannah H. Snowden.

Staci, Amalka, and Laura search for the site after the holiday.  Can’t see Laura?  Follow the orange line to the faint blur in the center… that’s Laura!  Photo by Susannah H. Snowden.

Staci, Amalka, and Laura search for the site after the holiday. Can’t see Laura? Follow the orange line to the faint blur in the center… that’s Laura! Photo by Susannah H. Snowden.

By the third straight day of un-workable visibility, we started to wonder if we would ever see the site again!  Fortunately for us, Karen’s birthday just happened to coincide with the third bad day, so we at least had something to celebrate that evening even if we were not able to dive.  And in Sri Lanka, we celebrate with not one, but TWO cakes!  Both were delicious, and both were accompanied with a song, candles, and the traditional wish.  Though she would not tell us what she wished for, we soon discovered that Karen had put her birthday magic to good use… the next day we made both morning and afternoon dives on site, finally able to see well enough to work!

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Karen with her second birthday cake. Those candles are responsible for our afternoon dive! Photo by Angie Sunkur.

While the stroke of good fortune with the visibility did not last long, we fortuitously have several more upcoming birthdays on the team.  So with a little more luck, and a few more birthday cakes, archaeology continues.