July 14, 2006

By Nigel Sadler

The Magnetometer Team
Luckily today was less eventful for Mike, Jason and Mitch than yesterday and all their equipment worked. They finished surveying the area between Breezy Point and Thatch Cay, and then started to survey East of Thatch Cay.

At the moment they are really just collecting the data but will later analysis their results to see if it matches what the tow boarders are recording, either this year or in 2004. Like the tow boarders though they are finding the low tides, wind and corals hindering their work and preventing coverage in certain areas as it could jeopardise their equipment, team safety or their vessel.

Wooden Shipwreck Team
Donald Keith, Toni, Randy and James were joined by Levardo and JF today. JF went to take still photographs of the site. Randy and James continued in their test areas, assisted by Toni whilst Donald Keith spent most of the day on the surface boat operating the dredge pump.

Dredge Boat

James is working on the northern end of the wreck and today has confirmed that it is not a stern post. The wreck continues well into well developed turtle grass adding at least a meter of sand etc above the wreck. This means that the northern end beyond James’ area will be left as it is too hard to put test pits in. It is hoped the results from the magnetometer team will shed light on how far the wreck extends to the north.

In James test pit he has reported finding a change in the sand colour suggesting that this should be an area of interest as it may be a layer stained by decaying ship’s remains.

Randy has continued to uncover boat structure in his test pit. This now includes a hull plank and part of the keel.

In the evening debriefing Dr Donald Keith explained the wreck site offered many variables and each day the team was trying to reduce these variables. For example, how much of the wreck is really left, what part of the ship is remaining, the length of the ship, the construction of the ship and hopefully some diagnostic material to identify nationality of the crew, the ship, the date and even cargo. The removal of some or all of these variables would also provide some idea of the potential time that would be required if there was to be a full or more detailed excavation of the wreck.

He also pointed out that in the reports from 2004 season it was reported that the ship was small and lightly built, but just from the limited work so far carried out it is clear that this vessel was well constructed and is much larger than originally thought.

The wooden shipwreck team joined the tow boarding team on the beach near to Thatch Cay for lunch

Tow Boarding Team
The tow boarding team was made up of Nigel, Angelie, Johnnie and Dan, leaving Dylan behind due to an ear infection. The team went and surveyed inside the reef to the west of Black Rock. It was not long before Johnnie signalled that he had found something and it was easy to confirm that his find was a shipwreck. Dan quickly located a mast and with all the debris this was a fairly large vessel. Unfortunately Angelie was unable to see the wreck as she expertly kept the boat from hitting the rest of her team or the reef, as the wreck sits on the edge of the reef.

After a long and exhausting day the survey area was covered with little else to report. Unfortunately on the way back the team were unable to find a navigable route around Breezy Point and after several attempts where Johnnie managed to avoid most of the coral heads the team decided retreat was the best form of valour. They made for the beach and called for the assistance of Lervado who came out with Dylan to guide the weary tow boarders back to Caribbean Explorer 1

Part of the new wreck discovered

The Documentary Makers
Fujio spent the early part of the morning filming the wooden wreck team and tow boarding team preparing their equipment loading their boats and then departing on their journeys, hopefully full of new discoveries.

In the evening Fujio and Ronnie interviewed the tow boarding team to learn more about their work and their days experience, including he call for a ‘rescue’ boat. .

As usual the daily debriefing was also filmed.

Back on the Caribbean Explorer 1
Don is now feeling much better and has catered for all the meals. Dinner tonight was turkey with the full trimming. When eating like we have over the last few days it is hard to believe that this is work, but then out in the field these meals are needed to sustain the hard work being undertaken.

As usual the rest of crew, when not helping in the field, are making sure that our every need are catered for on the vessel, ranging from Reece repairing boat engines, new towels are in the cabins, drinks are always available and so on. This makes many of the project team feel spoilt as they are not used to such ‘luxuries’ on field projects. Once again the Trouvadore Project is very lucky to have such assistance, always with a smile.

JF also ended the evening debriefing with some good news that the calmer weather that we have had today will last for at least one more day, and maybe up to three days.