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Days before our team left College Station, Dr. George Bass gave an informal talk on the origins of INA and the NAP program at TAMU. During this talk, he mentioned how he waited in a hotel room in Turkey for two months before he was able to obtain a permit to begin his excavation at Cape Gelidonya. Over 50 years later, we are all grateful for his patience and persistence; as we pursue the first scientific excavation of an ancient shipwreck off the coast of Sri Lanka, our team is reminded of the need for both of these virtues.

The rain comes pouring down outside our home. Photo by Orkan Köyaĝasıoĝlu.

The Puffin XI, our dive platform and work platform for the next few weeks. Photo by Sheila Matthews.

As we assemble the remaining pieces of our essential equipment, we have been taught this lesson of patience and persistence.  The ship that has been donated to us by Master Divers arrived in the local port one morning, but a full day of torrential downpour, unusual at this time on the southern coast, prevented additional progress.  Yet the next day, along with the sun, the truck carrying the recompression chamber and tanks arrived.  Then the following morning brought more rains and rising water in the back yard as the town of Ambalantota was flooded.  But again, the sun returned this afternoon and the work continues – tanks to be filled and the chamber to be pressurized.  And so the ebb and flow of preparations continues and the team rejoices at each new success!

The re-compression chamber is unloaded at the harbor. Photo by Orkan Köyaĝasıoĝlu.


The waters rise as our back yard floods. Photo by Orkan Köyaĝasıoĝlu.


The INA flag is raised on the Puffin XI! Photo by Orkan Köyaĝasıoĝlu.


Author: Staci Willis, NAP Ph.D. student at TAMU