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The voyage was made in a single season - a unique chapter in the annals of sailing.
On the afternoon of November 29, 1929, at Apia, Western Samoa, while the crew was filling the gasoline tanks of the Carnegie, an explosion occurred followed by fire which completely destroyed the vessel and its equipment. Captain Ault, who at the time was seated on the quarter deck, was blown into the water.
He was quickly picked up by a small boat but died before reaching the hospital.
Helena Island; the Azores; Puerto Rico; the Canal Zone; Honolulu; and San Francisco, where the expedition was to have ended.
A telegram from Captain Ault on September 23 reported safe arrival in Honolulu.
Technically, we had broken no laws back in Europe so we deemed unlikely for us to have broken any in the U. With this assumption we casually declared our arrival by radio and docked at the yacht club to present our documents. " I introduced myself and stepped into the wheelhouse to produce all our documents. I was, by now, long inured to the reactions of government officials when they sighted my friends. " "Well I've got some documents here declaring the case to be sub-judice. That is if they do anything." A slow smile crept over Annies face as I continued. "Well technically I suppose you havent committed any offence over here if all this business was done over in Europe.
As we were tying up a coastguard officer and an immigration officer arrived to clear us. They smiled and followed me into the wheelhouse and produced some forms for us to fill in. The coastguard official fell speechless as she flopped down on a saloon chair whilst the immigration inspector gasped as the centaurs clattered into the saloon. To the last question, our government can't do much about us because they arent sure what, if any, laws we have broken. "It'll take years for them to sort it all out; if they ever do." Both Americans chuckled cynically. All your immigration procedures so far have been letter perfect." He paused thoughtfully as he pored over the papers before adding.
] Before day broke on the morning of November 30, 1929, an Associated Press dispatch reached Washington that marked the tragic end of one of the Carnegie Institution's most exciting and ambitious research endeavors.
In the staccato phrases of telegraphic communication it stated that an explosion had occurred on the research vessel Carnegie during the filling of the ship's gasoline tanks at Apia, Western Samoa; that the ship had burned to the water's edge; and that Captain Ault, its commander, was dead.
Registered as a brigantine yacht to facilitate port entries, the was actually a hermaphrodite brig with a spread of 13,000 square feet of sail.
Its construction was unique in being totally free of iron or steel, which would have introduced errors in magnetic measurements.
Laboratories were added to provide for a broadened program of study which included several of the newer branches of oceanological research.