research boat, the MV Diamond, will lead a fleet of shrimp boats
full of supplies to the Gulf coast to help victims of Hurricane
Katrina. The twenty shrimp boats are just sitting, waiting to be
packed with water, food and clothing for victims. Once all the boats
are filled, they will head to up north.
"We look for ancient ship wrecks," said
Captain Mark Palmer.
This time they'll be looking at the
aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Palmer and his crew will get the
first pictures of damaged oil rigs. Those images will come from a
pair of underwater eyes or side scan sonar.
"We can see things as small as a teacup,
anything that's down there," said Palmer.
He's expecting the damage to be
Palmer drags the sonar behind the boat
and watches a monitor in the ships navigation room.
Palmer's boat is 105 feet long and takes
9,100 gallons of fuel. The boat has been on missions all over the
world. But this latest task is a new one.
"We've taken supplies to Haiti because
we've been working down there all year, to the poor people down
there, but we've never done it in the states," said
Palmer mapped out his journey from Fort
Myers Beach. His destination is 300 miles away.
"So it's going to take us 30 hours," said
A long trip in close quarters, but the
trip will be even longer when you add the anticipation. Palmer knows
when he arrives, he'll see things he has never seen
"Never, never, never, not this bad. You
know I've seen stuff but not this bad," said Palmer.
In all the bad, he hopes to do some
Even though Palmer's ship is huge, there
isn't a lot of room. Once he adds more equipment and a team of
scientists, it will get even smaller.
All of the fuel for Palmer's trip has
been donated, but the shrimp boats could use some more. Organizers
are asking for money to help get the boats where they need to
If you would like to make a donation,
take donations to 1101 Shrimp Boat Lane, Fort Myers Beach or call
765-1828 or 463-8788.