Friday 9 January – on the site of the Mermaid

Peter, Ed and Xanthe recording artefacts before recovery on HMCS Mermaid site.

Expedition team members from the ANMM, MTQ and Silentworld are all up at 0600 for breakfast and the regular morning dive briefing. The weather is continuingto deteriorate with strengthening south-easterlies predicted over the next four days due to the development of a deep monsoonal trough north of Cairns which is sucking up wind from the South.

As the developing weather pattern will make further work on the site increasingly difficult and the combination of low tides, strong winds and large seas would remove our survey tapes and marker I have decided to close down the site for the time being.

After discussion with Ed Slaughter from the Museum of Tropical Queensland, the State Government agency responsible for the management of shipwecks in Queensland waters and other team archaeologists I have also decided to remove several diagnostic artefacts from the site which may be damaged during the expected weather.

With an increasing sea from the South-east divers entered the water to start the work shutting down the site. Xanthe and Warren (MAAQld) entered the water to finalise the photomosaic, Nigel and Greg (Silentworld) completed plotting of artefacts whilst Lee and Steve (Silentworld) started to tidy up the site removing excess markers, lines and shotweights from the seabed.

The next teams in the water were Grant (DEWHA) and John (Silentworld) who photographed the exposed objects prior to their recovery.

The lifting team consisted of Peter (Oceania Maritime Pty. Ltd.) and Ed (Museum of tropical Queensland) who tagged and recovred the objects – they were assisted in the water by John and Lindsay (Silentworld Foundation) and on the boat by Paul and Dr. Lloyd. The whole process was photographed and videoed by Xanthe, despite the conditions everything went smoothly and the selected artefacts were quickly onboard Spoilsport.

Lee and I then completed a final inspection of the site removing the centreline and offset tapes, the swim line from the site to the kedge anchor and the two site bouys.

Silentworld Expedition vessel Nimrod in front of a squall west of Flora Reef site of HMCS Mermaid.

Silentworld Expedition vessel Nimrod in front of a squall west of Flora Reef site of HMCS Mermaid.

This entry was posted in Maritime Archaeology, Mermaid Project 2009 by Kieran Hosty. Bookmark the permalink.

About Kieran Hosty

I started diving in Western Australia in 1976 and after a few years of mucking around on shipwrecks joined the Maritime Archaeological Association of Western Australia in order to try and make sense of what I saw on the seabed. My love of diving and maritime history made me pursue a graduate degree in history and anthropology from the Western Australian Institute of Technology followed a few years later by a post graduate diploma in maritime archaeology from Curtin University also in Western Australia.

After 18 months as an archaeological field volunteer I took up a position with the Maritime Archaeology Unit at the Victoria Archaeological Survey. I was the Commonwealth Historic Shipwrecks Officer in Victoria for six years before coming to the Australian National Maritime Museum in 1994 to take up the position of Curator of Maritime Archaeology and Ship Technology. At the Museum I was responsible for the Museum’s maritime archaeology program as well as curating the Museum’s collection relating to convicts, 19th century migrants and ship technology. My expertise in convict related material was further enhanced, when I took up a temporary position as Curator / Manager of Hyde Park Barracks Museum for eighteen months in 2004 followed by a further 18 month contract at the Barracks where I curated an exhibition on the history and archaeology of convict hulks and another on the World Heritage listing of Australian convict sites.

In 2012 my role at the Museum shifted focus when I became the Manager – Maritime Archaeology Program – reflecting an increased emphasis on the importance of the maritime archaeology program at the Museum.

I have worked on many maritime archaeological projects both in Australia and overseas including the survey and excavation of the Sydney Cove (1797), HMS Pandora (1791) and HMCS Mermaid (1829), the Coral Sea Shipwrecks Project (sponsored by the SiILENTWORLD FOUNDATION and the ARC) and the hunt for Cook’s Endeavour in the USA.

I’m the author of the book Dunbar 1857: Disaster on our doorstep, published by the Museum along with two books on Australian convicts and 19th century migrants published by McMillan.

6 thoughts on “Friday 9 January – on the site of the Mermaid

  1. Kieran
    Thanks for looking after the Bega team so well over the past week. It would seem they were extremely lucky to have had such great weather and to have been in on the find. Eliane has come back with many stories about the trip and I know that when I catch up with the girls, they too will have much to tell. You were a great team manager – great to think all the efforta were well rewarded with the discovery. Thankyou for giving the girls a trip of a lifetime.
    Kath Miller – Head Teacher History bega High School.

  2. Well you have had quite a busy day .Weather reminds us of mother nature’s power.Thankfully you were able to achieve so much with the professional team that you had brought together.What next?working on the diagnostic artefacts and taking ime to reflect on the achievemnts and the lessons learned along the way.
    Still there with you all in spirit and still finding my land legs ,my sea legs are persistent.

    • Dear Elaine, Alice and Megan – Thank you for your updated blogs and kinds comments it was a real pleasure have you three along and Spoilsport is not quite the same without your presence. You are missed. Alice I have tracked down your books – one of which turned up in Dr. Lloyd’s cabin – I think he was tring to get in touch with his inner youth – and I will post them to you. Regards from all here on board Spoilsport.

  3. thanks keiran.. miss you all too.. ive got home and not known what to do with myself.. but ive left the trip full of ideas.. i know now that i want to sail and be just like xanthe.. it was such a wonderful insight thankyou all so so so so much!!! xxx Alice

  4. Hope everyone made it home safely! Scott and I enjoyed meeting all of you and our kids have had a great time reading the blogs and looking at the pictures.(our oldest made me post so I could become more up to date as she says!) Congratulations on a successful mission and thanks for everyone’s care and hospitality!

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