Yes, we are still in business...Our Report of May, 2004!
for our progress report of July 5, 2002
for our progress report of November 23, 2001
for our progress report of July 23, 2001
for our progress
report of May 1, 2001
for our progress report of December 11, 2000
for our progress report of September 24, 2000
for our chronological progress up to March 26, 2000
It has been just short of 2 years since our successful dives of 2002 and we truly miss diving on the “Queen of the Lake”. We have been very busy and apologize profusely for not being timelier in our updates. Further, we assure you that we are still very viable and working actively on our projects here in Tahoe as well as others on the west coast.
Following our September 2002 dive on the SS Tahoe, we met as an organization and decided that the procedure we were implementing for the actual diving was inefficient and potentially hazardous archaeologically speaking. We felt that in order to continue diving the Tahoe site we must first improve the site infrastructure. Also, we needed to obtain equipment that could remotely video the site and the surrounding area with optics of a quality necessary for television and film. Continuing, we needed to protect the site in a manner befitting its importance and finally, we needed to find some money...lots of money. So lets fill you in on how we are progressing.
As you can imagine, doing 6 attempts and 5 successful dives on the Tahoe during the summer of 2002, by September we were fairly wiped out. Winter was approaching and the team was returning to Akumal, Mexico in December and organizing a technical certification course in January to further member/diver training necessary in safely conducting the dive exploration and research we are endeavoring to conduct.
At this time we had been actively communicating with the State of Nevada’s Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and its director, Ron James, about the needed support required to continue the work of New Millennium. We met several times between August 2002 and April 2003 with a very optimistic attitude that we might be placed in the states budget for the 2003/2004. They were quite impressed with our results to date. Concurrently, we continued fundraising, looking for sponsors and working on many various grant applications.
Not having much success with the fundraising (a bit was trickling in) we persevered in public speaking engagements, phone contacts, mailings, etc. but it was now approaching June and it looked futile for any SS Tahoe dives during the summer of 2003. Optimistic events were happening so we did not lose faith. We decided to spend the 2003-year focusing on the training of our team and improving our diving skills. This has turned out to be invaluable.
By September we were notified by the SHPO that we had been awarded a financial grant to pursue our next phase in developing site infrastructure, obtaining high quality imagery of the SS Tahoe and surrounding site and 3 more team dives. This was quite exciting. Immediately we contacted Glen Evans at AST in Sacramento. AST owns one of two, Benthos Stingray ROV’s, that exist worldwide. This ROV is an incredible unit with sonar, television quality video and high quality maneuverability (unfortunately it was in for repair). Glen was very encouraging.
In October (still 2003) we were contacted by a group out of Southern Nevada, The Southern Nevada Scuba Retailers Association, to aid them in discussions with the National Park Service pertaining to the opening of the B-29 Bomber site located in Lake Mead. In November, we traveled to Las Vegas and began consulting and discussing the future of this technical dive site focusing upon site preservation, diver safety and a management plan that would consider all the facets of this piece of National History becoming an underwater resource open to qualified divers. As of the date of this report, this process is underway.
In December, we were alerted to the potential of another underwater archaeological site located in the Sierras. This was a B-24 Bomber that was downed in 1945 with loss of life in Huntington Lake, California. We contacted the Huntington Lake Historical Conservancy and found that they were interested in a survey that would document the present condition of this site. Further along in the discovery phase of the Huntington Lake B-24, we found there to be another B-24 in a Sierra lake, the Hester Lake B-24. Hester Lake is located 100+ miles into the wilderness of the Sierras and at an elevation of 11,200 feet. This process here are also presently ongoing.
So...what about the SS Tahoe? Well, it is now January 2004 and the ROV repairs are still not complete...we wait patiently as other equipment operators with similar technology were just not feasible based upon costs. Still we were optimistic. We initiated and completed a 2-minute documentary film video trailer with our film production company, easterfilms.com and posted it to our sister site (www.easterfilms.com/new_millennium.htm). However, there was a very exciting SS Tahoe activity deep in the works.
Late in 2003, we began the process with the SHPO of getting the SS Tahoe listed on the National Register of Historic Landmarks. If this were successful, the SS Tahoe would go on the list with the likes of the US Arizona and the USS Monitor. New Millennium initiated this listing, we presented to the Nevada Board of Museums the request for listing and they approved and on February 11, 2004, the SS Tahoe was listed in the National Register. The SS Tahoe is now a nationally recognized historic landmark. That pretty much has been our most major accomplishment since our final dive in September of 2002, but a major milestone in our projects future.
Continuing, the SHPO grant deadline is slowly drawing near. It ends June 30, 2004. It is March 1 and the ROV still not back on the west coast. Finally, Glen received the Stingray on about March 15th but by May 1st, it was apparent that we were not going to have the necessary time to professionally conduct what would normally take 6 months to schedule, coordinate and execute. We contacted the SHPO and relinquished our grant in hopes of obtaining it again for the 2004/2005 year. You see, this money was to disappear June 30, 2004; if we could not use it and failed to communicate that to the SHPO, the SHPO would also loose the use of the funds and that we could not allow to happen. By returning the funds to the SHPO, they were able to reallocate to other projects and thus keeping New Millennium in a very professional standing with the SHPO. Also, this will allow us a good shot for getting that money back. We were very sad to have to do this. The SHPO and its Director were also sad but it is important that we pursue quality and efficient operations going forward and we simply could not provide the state with a professional product in such a short timeframe.
The good news is we now have a very clear understanding of state grants and the scheduling procedures necessary for successfully completing this phase during the 2004/2005 year. You know, it is frustrating, but a project like this under the non©profit umbrella just does not always happen as timely as one would like. However, great things happen to those that are patient!
Another item on our to-do list is a complete revision of our website. We purchased new software from Adobe but have yet to find the time to implement the educational process of learning and implementing this web authoring software; hopefully before the end of 2004. For now, our site is complete but not as professional and interactive as we would like; again...patience on our part and hopefully understanding from all of you.
New Millennium Dive Expeditions started as a group of technical SCUBA divers endeavoring to dive Tahoe’s most famous shipwreck and has developed into a non-profit scientific research organization focusing upon incredibly dynamic content. We have not given up on our efforts and we hope that you will not as well. We look forward to hearing from you and if you have any suggestions on how we can obtain success faster and more expeditiously, please contact us.