July 13, 2006

By Nigel Sadler

The four groups from yesterday continue today.

The Magnetometer Team
The Magnetometer team of Mike, Jason and Mitch wanted as much time in the field today and left, with their packed lunches prepared by Nicola, at 8am. Unfortunately all was not be well. They stopped at Breezy Point to set up their gear but found the computer had no power. They returned to Caribbean Explorer 1 where JF looked at the computer but could not breathe life back into it. Fujio offered the use of his computer and John downloaded all the software to make it usable. After lunch they went back into the field and instead of returning to Breezy Point went to the nearer Thatch Cay and prepared a baseline along the beach from which they would lay out the grid for surveying this area.

They also modified their spray cover to protect their equipment.

Unfortunately the Magnetometer Team had other failures through the day including radio failure and faulty choke on the boat engine. Hopefully all their bad luck has now passed by.

Wooden Shipwreck Team
Donald, Randy, Toni and James worked on the wooden ship wreck. Their main goal today was decided on where to put test excavation pits, to yield the most information but at the same time causing as little disturbance as possible. The base line was reset and the dredge boat, used to move very small amounts of sand, was set up above the wreck site.

Randy and James had a very successful. James continued to uncover the ‘stern’ post and found fasteners. Randy, in his small test pit found three frames, part of a sealing plank and part of the central line structure. All these finds have confirmed that this is a shipwreck.

As two boats were needed to carry the dredging and diving equipment the second boat was driven by Levardo whilst Jenn accompanied him so that she could film work going on at the wreck site.

Tow Boarding Team
The sea is still rough which hinders not only the tow boarders but also the manoeuvrability of the inflatable boats. The team, consisting of Nigel, Dylan, Angelie and Johnnie left Caribbean Explorer 1 at 8.30am and continued to survey the area to he east of Thatch Cay. As tide was high it was decided to go over the reef and work on the inside to start with. The boarding went quicker than expected and the team covered right up to ref line, with a few near calls of bodies almost meeting coral. The team then moved outside the reef and tow boarded the area that they could still see the bottom of. Surprisingly the whole area was surveyed and the team was back on Caribbean Explorer 1 by mid day.

Radio calls went out to Donald Keith informing him of this unexpected early finish, and after lunch the tow board team, now with Dan making his first go as a tow boarder, in place of Johnnie. Up until now the tow boarders had been fortunate that their survey area was next to where Caribbean Explorer 1 was anchored. The new survey area was to the west of Black Rock and it took 30 minutes for the team to arrive there. After two runs it was decided that the sea was too rough to continue and there was also a concern that going into the wind we needed all the fuel we could to get back.

Tow Boarders in rough water

Even though a large area had been covered today there were no new finds to be reported.

The Documentary Makers
Jenn has been working for the documentary makers today filming at the wooden wreck site. Richard and Fujio have been busy catching upon ‘paperwork’ and filming on board Caribbean Explorer 1.

Ronnie spent the day updating the Windward Media Documentary site http://www.trouvadore.org which is to promote their documentary and keep update information on the project. In runs in parallel with http://www.slaveshiptrouvadore.com.

Caribbean Explorer 1 .
Outside of these 4 teams the project can not overlook the most important fifth team – the crew of Caribbean Explorer 1. Not only do they look after our ‘Mother Ship’, they provide vital support in preparing the gear and also crew members take an active part in the research project, most notably at the moment the Tow Boarding team which is always made up of 50% Explorer crew. Eamonn commented today that he has found ‘His crew happy with their work on the project as it makes a change to the usual life on a live aboard dive boat’.

A big thank you must also go to the Purser Nicola who has had to cater for the hungry archaeologists and boat crew as regular cook Don has been ill for a few days. Tonight’s meal was a spectacular Beef and Yorkshire pudding.