By Michael Krivor
When we arrived yesterday to East Caicos the large rollers coming in from the east made me shudder as I thought how difficult it was going to maneuver our survey vessel across the face of these waves that could easily deposit us on top of the exposed reef if we weren’t careful. I cringed at the thought of our beautiful 27-foot Boston Whaler smashed to pieces across the reef which would surely take me years to pay off if I wasn’t careful…Note to self – “Do not turn your back on the sea!” Second note to self – “How much does a 27-foot Boston Whaler cost?”
You see while the other team members get to work on the Black Rock Wreck in the tranquil, protected waters of the lagoon, the magnetometer team was going to risk it all to gather data which would prove or disprove the location of any historic wreck sites along the exposed, boat-eating reef of East Caicos.
Unidentified magnetometer target
Our objective while on East Caicos is to use a magnetometer to survey from Drum Point west along the face of the reef towards Lorimer’s Cut. We are to survey as close to the reef as possible working systematically into deeper water in hopes of locating wreck sites, and potentially the remains of the Trouvadore. While we certainly weren’t going to get all this completed in a day, Jason, Robert, and I thought we could certainly knock out a sizeable portion of the survey in a day.
Last night, however, there was a slight shift in our survey plans. The report of two historic wooden-hulled vessels within the lagoon near Drum Point stirred everyone’s interest and we were given the thumbs up to proceed inside the protected waters of the lagoon, if possible. While we are fortunate to have a comfortable survey vessel – it certainly doesn’t belong amid treacherous coral heads and the shifty shoals of the lagoon. The thought of our 27-foot Boston Whaler stranded on a coral head flashed through my head (“No really…How much does one of these boats cost?”).
Robert’s Boston Whaler
This morning, to our surprise, the winds were calm and the large treacherous rollers had abated to nothing more than a slight swell…What a difference a night makes! We were off first thing to tackle the survey off the reef that seemed so daunting the day before. Within two hours we were done surveying from Drum Point to Thatch Cay. The only real hint a target included an iron boiler and other associated wreck debris deposited up on the reef. Apparently someone turned their back on the sea…
We now had a choice…We could either play it safe and continue the magnetometer survey along the exposed reef toward Lorimer’s Cut or we could tempt danger, try to get into the lagoon, and survey for two mysterious wooden-hulled wreck sites. It was an easy choice…Off we went, picking our way through coral heads and reef system to find these elusive wreck sites.
Drum Point – Calm Seas
It was easier than we imagined…Once close to Drum Point we were offered a quick path into the lagoon that seemed so unreachable only a day before. We could hardly wait to deploy the magnetometer and get to work. After figuring the best course of survey and laying out some track lines we were off. After hours of survey, and battling hungry barracuda that seem to think our towed instrument is a source of food, our day was a success. Many miles of survey were completed in an area we thought almost unreachable and we have some interesting targets to investigate tomorrow. I can hardly wait to see what tomorrow brings…and I am not going to worry about how much a 27-foot Boston Whaler costs (till tomorrow).