Due to the sea conditions on the HMCS Mermaid site on Flora Reef the ANMM / Silentworld expedition vessels have moved to the western side of Sudbury Reef.
Whilst at Sudbury the ANMM / Silentworld team have carried out a series of inspections on the wreck of the Merchant on the northern side of the reef and the Deodorus on the western side – between Stagg Patches and Sudbury Reef.
The Merchant was a 1059 ton, American built, three masted, wooden barque 167.1 feet long, with a beam of 36.2 and a depth in the hold 23.2 feet. Whilst en route from Mossman River, Qld to Melbourne with a cargo of timber the vessel ran on to a reef near Brook Island then put into Cardwell for repair. The vessel left again on the 5 March 1878 and was not seen again. Wreckage was found along the northern Queensland coast between Cardwell and Port Douglas. The remains of the vessel were later found off Sudbury Reef.
The site today consist’s of a very large bluestone ballast mound, bilge pumps, a capstan, anchor chain and the timber remains of the lower hull. The wrecksite has also become the home for thousands of softcorals.
Depending upon weather conditions the team may split with one vessel staying on station at Flora Reef with Spoilsport heading 100 miles north up to Endeavour Reef to inspect the stranding site of HMB Endeavour in 1770.