When people ask Arnold Carr why he chose to become an underwater explorer/marine biologist instead of taking over his family’s iconic store, Darlings, on Circuit avenue he says, “Because I grew up on Martha’s Vineyard. I was surrounded by water.”
Mr. Carr recounted his career for a rapt Women’s Club audience at St. Andrews Church in Edgartown on Tuesday. He took them from teenaged explorations of shipwrecks in Vineyard waters — the Port Hunter and City of Columbus among them — to the Black Sea where he worked with Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution scientist Bob Ballard to find archeological evidence for Noah’s flood, the Formosa Straits and the Yellow Sea, where both Chinese governments hired him to discover the remnants of airliners that crashed in deep water. He traveled to Loch Ness where he searched for the body of Nessie, the famous monster, in Scottish deeps. Nessie resembles a plesiosaur, a creature who lived 65 million years ago. But for obvious reasons, scientists doubt that such a creature could have survived for so long and also because there is insufficient food in the Loch to maintain such a large animal. “But Nessie is always going to be there,” Mr. Carr said, presumably because there are always those who love a good story and, well, the myth-makers of the Loch love the tourists who flock there for a possible glimpse.
In the short time allowed for his talk, Mr. Carr was able to take his audience on a very abbreviated tour of his lifetime of underwater research, but it was enough to captivate the 40 or so people in attendance. Those interested in learning more about wrecks in our waters will want to visit the Martha’s Vineyard Museum to see Out of the Depths, an exhibit that tells stories of tragic shipwrecks around the Island and contains insights from Mr. Carr’s research. They may also want to be on the lookout for Tom Dresser’s newest book, due out in May, Disaster Off Martha’s Vineyard: The Sinking of the City of Columbus, that contains the story of Mr. Carr’s search for the wreck of the ill-fated ship off Aquinnah.