Reading The Deep Sea Search for Amelia Earhart left me full of questions. Two thorough searches were scuttled; one because of damaged equipment, the other because of sickness among the crew. But the search area was only about 2/3 covered. Though bursting with possibilities the search team had come up with no hard evidence to back up Elgen Long's theory that Earhart had crashed and her plane had sunk in the vicinity of Howland Island in the mid-Pacific.
I called David Jourdan, author, instigator and program coordinator for both searches, who cordially filled me in. "I decided to search based on Elgen's data. We purchased the collection and have been in the process of scanning and digitizing it. We have about 100 hours of audio on disc and have scanned about 2000 photos. It is all very convincing, much more than any of the myriad theories which all start with a preconceived answer. It is impossible, for instance, for her to have survived since the data places the nearest island to the most probable crash site at about 350 miles."
"Elgen's theory places the crash site on a deep abyssal plain which has hardly any current, low oxygen and is very cold. There's no continental run-off, so there won't be any silting, not much oxidation at all except where something might have broken. Then some galvanic corrosion may occur...but basically these conditions will preserve the plane pretty well. It's made mostly of aluminum."
Jourdan enjoyed the writing process on board ship. He wrote an extensive detailed daily email report, sort of a blog, of the first voyage but it was never circulated. Sponsors wanted to keep the whole effort secret until the plane was found and then astonish the world. "During the second voyage we produced a daily ship's newspaper which incorporated the daily activity but more details were added after the fact. I wrestled with the idea of publishing now or waiting until the plane was found and decided to write about what we have already done, both as a thank you to the people involved and also as a marketing tool...we have to continue scanning the area that we were unable to finish."
So, of course, the next question had to be, "When will you go back to search the rest of the area you originally laid out?"
"Some time next year," answered Jourdan. "For the next opportunity we need a ship, equipment and money." He is currently in the process of gathering those resources.
For more information go to: http://www.nauticos.com/ and http://earhartdiscovery.com/