Mediterranean Sonar Research with Cousteau

Mediterranean Sea: Monaco; Cap Ferrat and Marseilles, France
Harold E. Edgerton
Film type:
16mm, Kodachrome
Run time:
Albert Falco, Harold E. Edgerton, Jacques-Yves Cousteau, Olivier Leenhardt
Harold E. Edgerton collaborated with Jacques-Yves Cousteau and geophysicist Olivier Leenhardt on a Mediterranean research project off the coast of Monaco and France in the summer of 1962. This film documents their fieldwork and includes footage of the preparation, deployment and return of the SOUCOUPE submersible on Cousteau’s research vessel CALYPSO, and the deployment of Edgerton’s ‘boomer’ sonar instrument and resulting sonar records. There is also footage of Cousteau’s first underwater habitat, Conshelf I, docked in Marseilles.

Tagged: boomer, Calypso, Conshelf I, Cousteau, DIOGENE, oceanography, sonar, soucoupe, submersible, underwater habitat

00:00:01 Introductory information: film title, synopsis, date, run time.
00:00:12 Film begins. Scene of the harbor of Monaco, on the Mediterranean Sea.
00:00:19 Boats docked along the quay.
00:00:24 Series of takes of men preparing and adjusting various external instruments on the yellow submersible SOUCOUPE, on board Jacques-Yves Cousteau’s research vessel CALYPSO.
00:01:02 Olivier Leenhardt, a young geophysicist and collaborator of Harold Edgerton, brings over a grey instrument case (likely a sonar device) and assists another man in putting it inside the submersible.
00:01:35 Other adjustments are made to the submersible.
00:01:42 Harold Edgerton and Albert Falco (CALYPSO skipper) talk about a pottery artifact retrieved from the sea (the upper portion of a clay two-handled container), in front of the submersible.
00:01:51 Leenhardt (in a white shirt) helps to load equipment and supplies into the submersible with other crew members.
00:02:18 A man crouches on top of the submersible and adjusts the O-ring around the entrance hatch.
00:02:26 Several takes illustrate the process of deploying the submarine into the water. It is lowered into the water by means of a crane on the stern deck, with a snorkeler perched on top monitoring the hook that keeps the sub attached to the lifting crane. Eventually he unhooks the sub. Other crew members control the sub on deck with lines, and one man calls the sub passengers on a phone.
00:02:50 Sailing boat (schooner?) sails past.
00:02:58 Motoring past the white lighthouse of Cap Ferrat, on the Cote d’Azur between Nice and Villefranche-sur-Mer.
00:03:03 Submarine SOUCOUPE can be seen floating just beneath the water’s surface; it is hooked onto the lifting crane by a snorkeler, and lifted slowly back on board CALYPSO.
00:03:24 Several men (including Leenhardt, far left) chat on the dock next to supplies.
00:03:32 Views of an American military vessel in the harbor.
00:03:42 A group of small motorboats by the dockside; one motorboat races away.
00:04:05 Cousteau’s vessel is docked in the harbor; at its stern can be seen a yellow and black checkered sphere which belongs to the underwater habitat, CONSHELF I (also known as “Diogène”), that Cousteau first tested in the area in 1962. [see cat.# HEE-SC-05143]
00:04:10 A closer view of the docked vessel linked by a walkway to the CONSHELF I underwater habitat.
00:04:20 Jacques-Yves Cousteau (in dark blue shirt) observes from deck.
00:04:27 Two men on board the vessel, equipped with a movie camera on tripod, watch several men perched on top of CONSHELF I.
00:04:38 Men including J.-Y. Cousteau congregate on top of CONSHELF I.
00:04:45 An underwater instrument is hoisted from the water onto the deck.
00:04:49 Leenhardt holds the underwater instrument in his arms as another man removes cables.
00:04:55 A second boomer device mounted on a wooden frame is lifted from the water.
00:05:09 Two men disassemble the sonar instrument on deck.
00:05:16 Men lower a smaller probe over side of boat.
00:05:28 The device is deployed in the water.
00:05:33 Men on board the vessel monitor the vessel's location.
00:05:37 Focus on the ship's bow and waves around the submerged sonar device.
00:05:38 A pattern of moving spots (tiny fish school?) on the surface of the water.
00:05:44 Data results from the sub-bottom probe is shown as recorded on a sonar graph; the sonar graph is scanned from left to right. Secondary signals show where the sonar instrument recorded echoes from beneath the sea bottom sediments.
00:06:11 Film ends.
00:06:17 © 2010 MIT credits.

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