July 12, 2006

By Nigel Sadler

Today the team is split into four groups; the Magnetometer Team, the Wooden Shipwreck Team, the Tow Boarding Team and the Documentary Makers. After Dinner there is a full round up of what each team had achieved today. All reported that they had had a very productive day.

The Magnetometer Team
The first boat to leave today was the magnetometer team of Mike, Jason and Mitch. Simply put, a magnetometer is like a high tech metal detector which is towed behind a boat and will pick up a signal when it passes near to an iron object. Their first objective is to go over the area of the wooden wreck discovered in 2004, mainly to identify the spread of the wreck. This team worked throughout the day, even taking a pack lunch with them, and found that it was going to take longer to complete all the survey areas expected if the wind and currents continued as they were today.

The good news is that the magnetometer team only picked up readings around the wooden shipwreck which means that the tow boarders in 2004 missed nothing in that area.

Wooden Shipwreck Team
Part of this season is to test excavate the wooden wreck found in 2004. Before a team could do any work on this the magnetometer team had to carry out their work on this site. The wooden shipwreck team of Dr Donald Keith, Dr Randy Davies and James Hunter left the Caribbean Explorer 1 after lunch. They easily located the site and after inspection were very pleased to find that the site had not undergone any natural or man made damage since 2004.

Dredge equipment was set up and a base line from which all measurements would be taken was created parallel to the central line of the vessel.

Tow Boarding Team
The first group of tow boarders, Randy, Jenn, Dylan and Nigel left Caribbean Explorer 1 at about 10am. This was just after high tide and meant they had no problems crossing over the reef to survey the area inside the reef to the east of Thatch Cay. During the first run Jenn located an anchor near to the shore so we expected a good day to follow.

At 12.15 the tow boarding team crossed over the reef to return for lunch. This time the crossing was not so easy.

At 2.30 the Tow boarding team, which now consisted of Nigel, Dylan, Angelie and Johnnie left Caribbean Explorer 1. This was just before low tide and crossing the reef was more hazardous. Inside the reef it wasn’t much safer for the boat or tow boarders as water level had dropped by over 2ft, I some areas giving little distance for tow boarders to miss coral heads. After a few tracks were covered the water depths, currents and wind made it too dangerous to continue so at 3.20 the team put ashore, as too dangerous to cross reef, and then snorkelled in areas near to Thatch Cay that could not be covered by the boat in the morning.

At 4.30 the team returned to the boat and managed to cross over the reef. Two tracks were made in the deeper water north o the reef, but no items were found all afternoon.

The Documentary Makers
Ronnie and Fujio with boat handler Levardo accompanied the Magnetometer Team in the morning to film their work. They returned to Caribbean Explorer 1 for lunch and then carried on filming around the vessel, which included shooting the tow boarders as they passed the boat on one of their tracks.