Wednesday September 8, 2004

By Jackie Mulligan

6.30am:Everyone gathers for breakfast. Dr Donald H Keith gives a briefing. Today the team will be divided into towboarding, scubadiving and land. Jackie Mulligan will go to Middle Caicos to join David Bowen and a photographer and reporter from the LA Times. Jackie is fine and confident about the trip until Don describes the excursion to Middle Caicos as “heroic”.

7.30am:The teams set off for towboarding west of Breezy Point, Levardo and Toni towboard whilst Noah skippers and Nigel plots the GPS. They return mid morning with no finds after 4 more runs.

8.30am:A squall draws in, a heavy downpour, choppy seas and Dolphus Arthur arrives to take Jackie to Middle Caicos. They leave for Bambarra.

Don, James, Jason and Randy continue to document a promising site using Diving Propulsion Vehicles (DPVs). The describe the process as “site-truthing”– they explore the periphery of the wooden shipwreck and are joined by Jean-Francois and Richard to film and photograph the site. On the visit they notice a small bronze artifact which could be part of the lettering of a ship. In spite of the overcast skies, the water has much better visibility. James and Jason (see picture) focus on creating the schematic diagrams of the wreck.

Don has to return to the surface and use DPVs around the site as his air is low at only 600psi. Whilst on the site, the team note that there is evidence of tampering. There are two holes of 3 meters, 2 holes of 4-5 meter and 1 meter around the wooden remains.

Meanwhile in Middle Caicos, David Bowen, Jackie Mulligan, LA Times reporter Carol Williams and photographer David Rochkind are touring the island, meeting and interviewing local residents, assisted by District Commissioner Julie Harvey. The team visit Bambarra, then stop to talk with bush medicine doctor Aldon Higgs about his memories (see picture David Bowen admiring Headley Forbes’ dried conch). They leave with a gallon of ‘Marbie’ and some snake sticks to strengthen the team on board.

Afternoon:The rest of the day is dedicated to photography, creating a photo mosaic of the shipwreck whilst Jean-Francois, Nigel, Jennifer and Mitch take off in the Moody Blue to find the iron shipwreck. Toni, Julie, Noah, Randy spot a metal sheet related to the iron shipwreck.

Don spends some of the afternoon snoozing as does the wounded Mitch. Later Mitch informs the team that he measures wealth by the ability you have to take a nap as often as you like – in which case he believes that “Bill Gates has got nothin’ on me”

In the evening, a few of the team watch the movie Amistad, Nigel, Jason and James enjoy a single malt whiskey and as the sea rises all retire for a restless night of rolling and rocking off Breezy Point.

Meanwhile David and Jackie hold a meeting which is well attended at Conch Bar Community Center. The residents are enthused about the project, the expedition and rely stories of their own family backgrounds. Some of the local fishermen describe shipwrecks that they have seen over the years. They are concerned about the loss of culture and the need to know more about the history. The meeting ends at around 8.30pm. The team thank Julie Harvey, Annie Taylor, Elizabeth Forbes, Marcus and Headley Forbes, Miss Cassandra and all who attended the meeting for their input and interest in the Trouvadore expedition.