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On March 9, 1862, the Civil War battle of Hampton Roads between the ironclads USS Monitor and CSS Virginia (formerly the USS Merrimack) heralded the beginning of a new era in naval warfare. Though indecisive, the battle marked the change from wood and sail to iron and steam.

Today, the remains of the Monitor rest on the ocean floor off North Carolina's Outer Banks, where the ship sank in a storm on December 31, 1862. Discovered in 1973, the Monitor wreck site was designated the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary and is managed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The purpose of the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary is to preserve the historic record of this significant vessel and to interpret her role in shaping US naval history.

Since 2004, divers Joel Silverstein and Capt. Kathy Weydig have been conducting civilian research on this national treasure.   During this time, I have been privileged to be among the select few granted brief annual access to this U.S. National Marine Sanctuary, where I worked diligently to produce a documentary about expedition diving.    In this documentary project I follow over a dozen of the world’s top scuba divers and historians as they plunge 235 feet below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean to examine and document the United States’ most famous Civil War ironclad.  The program, tentatively titled “Return To The Monitor,” is in post production, and will hit the underwater film festival circuit when full finishing funds become available.   

These images are from the 2006, 2007 and 2008 expeditions. 

Return to Monitor