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Edwin Albert Link (July 26, 1904 – September 7, 1981) was an American engineer, inventor, entrepreneur and pioneer in aviation, underwater archaeology, and submersibles. He invented the flight simulator, which was called the "Blue Box" or "Link Trainer". It was commercialized in 1929, starting a now multibillion-dollar industry. In total, he obtained more than 27 patents for aeronautics, navigation and oceanographic equipment.










Link did the first, preliminary survey of one of the six forts of Port Royal; Fort James (Pawson and Buisseret 145). Link used a piece of equipment called the ‘Sea Diver’ for most of his research, and recovered a variety of artifacts including smoking pipes, watches, spoons, liquor bottles, and pots dating back to 1686.

What the team found in the sunken pirate capital was akin to an underwater Pompeii. Marion Clayton Link described what originally attracted her and her husband to the site.


“Unlike cities on land, which change with the years, this one remained exactly as it had been more than two and half centuries before - sealed by the seas in an instant earthquake. Whatever we might find in the ruins would be truly indicative of the time.”









Researchers use the term “catastrophic sites” for such places where a sudden disaster has preserved important artefacts and the context of life around them.


From pewter tableware to Chinese porcelain, there were many signs of personal wealth. There were also numerous domestic objects denoting life in an ordinary household, such as spoons and lanterns, as well as elegant items like a wrought-iron swivel gun. A truly astonishing number of bottles and pipes were found, which gave the impression that people in old Port Royal did spend most of their time drinking and smoking. Edwin even inserted a hypodermic needle into the cork of a bottle and withdrew a sample of yellow fluid for a taste test. “Horrible. Tastes like strongly salted vinegar,” he sputtered. “I guess 1692 must have been a bad vintage year.”


One of the diving team explained his experience of working blind: “I guess you develop a sixth sense once you have been down there awhile ... You get so engrossed in what you may find there that you forget everything else. You lose sense of time. You even forget to wonder if there are sharks near you.” But the dangers were very real. Sea urchins, stingrays, moray eels, and scorpionfish lurked, mostly unseen, on the muddy bottom. There was also constant danger of cave-ins as a dredge sucked at the base of old brick walls.










After Link sold his company to General Precision in 1954, he turned his attention to underwater archaeology and research. Link worked at developing equipment for deeper, longer lasting and more secure diving. To this end he designed several submersible decompression chambers. On August 28, 1962, at Villefranche-sur-Mer on the Mediterranean Sea, Link inaugurated his "Man in Sea" project by spending eight hours at a depth of 60 feet (18 m) in his submersible decompression chamber (SDC), becoming the first diver to be completely saturated with a mixture of oxygen and helium (heliox) while breathing underwater.


This dive served as a test run for a dive the following month by Robert Sténuit, who spent over 24 hours in the SDC at a depth of 200 feet (61 m) and thus became the world's first aquanaut. In June–July 1964, Link conducted his second Man in Sea experiment in the Berry Islands (a chain in the Bahamas) with Sténuit and Jon Lindbergh, one of the sons of Charles Lindbergh. Sténuit and Lindbergh stayed in Link's SPID habitat (Submersible, Portable, Inflatable Dwelling) for 49 hours underwater at a depth of 432 feet (132 m), breathing a helium-oxygen mixture. Dr. Joseph B. MacInnis participated in this dive as a life support specialist.










In March 1967, Link launched Deep Diver, the first small submersible designed for lockout diving, allowing divers to leave and enter the craft while underwater. Deep Diver carried out many scientific missions in 1967 and 1968, including a 430-foot (130 m) lockout dive in 1967 (at the same location as the 1964 Sténuit-Lindbergh dive) and a 700-foot (210 m) lockout dive near Great Stirrup Cay in 1968. Dr. MacInnis participated in both of these dives as an observer in Deep Diver's forward chamber.

Later in 1968, after Deep Diver had been requisitioned by the United States Navy to help search for the lost submarine USS Scorpion, the Bureau of Ships determined that Deep Diver was unsafe for use at great depths or in extremely cold temperatures because of the substitution of the wrong kind of steel, which became brittle in cold water, in some parts of the sub. Link proceeded to design a new lockout sub with a distinctive acrylic bubble as the forward pilot/observer compartment. In January 1971 the new sub was launched and commissioned to the Smithsonian Institution. It was named the Johnson Sea Link after its donors, Link and his friend John Seward Johnson I.


In 1981, Texas A&M University led a 10-year excavation with the Institute of Nautical Archaeology and the Jamaica National Heritage Trust. Because of the oxygen-depleted environment under the water, the team recovered many organic artefacts that might have otherwise deteriorated. 







Captain Sir Henry Morgan was a pirate, and privateer, ending up as the Governor of Jamaica. He was buried at Palisadoes Cemetery, then Port Royal was washed into the Caribbean Sea, the result of an earthquake and tsunami in 1692. Not to be seen again for 300 years.







Port Royal is a contender for World Heritage Site listing to become a landmark or area with legal protection by an international convention administered by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). World Heritage Sites are designated by UNESCO for having cultural, historical, scientific or other form of significance. 




The underwater city of Port Royal is a World Heritage Site contender







 The brass pocket watch, recovered by Edwin Link, stopped at 11:47 on the 7th of June 1692.




Underwater explorations and excavations have been conducted in Port Royal over the years. Here is a listing of such excavations. After the 1692 earthquake, people tried to salvage anything considered to be valuable from the area, which became known as the Sunken City.

1859: Jeremiah Murphy a naval diver, using a diving bell located the remains of Fort James.

1956 - 1959: Edwin Link dug test pits in the King's Warehouse and Fort James.


1960: Norman Scott explored Fort Carlisle.

1965 - 1968: Robert Marx excavated between twenty to thirty buildings in the Sunken City.


1969 - 1970: Philip Mayes Excavation. Mayes was hired by the Jamaican National Trust Commission to continue research. Mayes is accredited with uncovering St. Paul’s Church of Port Royal, the largest building of the 17th century city.

1981 - 1990: Institute of Nautical Archaeology of the Texas A&M (Agricultural & Mechanical) University in close cooperation with the Archaeology Division excavated buildings near the intersection of Queen and High Street.













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