Tuesday 13 January 2009
Late on Monday night the intrepid Mermaid Project 2009 crew anchored off Fitzroy Island south of Cairns where we then waited for the crew of Pirate to join us for a few hours to pick up video footage of the Mermaid site which Xanthe had compiled for a media release on the discovery.
After the drop off Spoilsport headed south for Flora Reef and the wreck of the Mermaid – on the way the vessel passed through bands of turgid and dirty water, complete with whole trees, a result of the floods that had inundated parts of Cairns a few days earlier.
Arriving at Flora Reef divers quickly located the wreck but conditions on site were in marked contrast to the conditions we were working in ten days earlier. The strong North Westerly winds had picked up sand and sediments and the water had now taken on a milky appearance – photography was out of the question. The Mermaid was inspected and despite the exposed nature of the site no scouring of the seabed was detected and no artefacts had been exposed.
The dive to locate the Mermaid’s ketch anchor was less successful. The GPS marks were inaccurate and despite a swim search the anchor could not be located. After checking the GPS marks the anchor bouy was retrieved and the site re-bouyed. This time the divers were more successful with Lee, Grant and Ed relocating the anchor. Although the anchor was OK the team reported that some of the nearby coral bommies had been overturned during the recent south-easterlies.
The afternoon on Flora Reef was spent looking for surveying bouys left on the Reef the previous week, cleaning and packing equipment and backing up date. In the evening the crew were treated to one of Xanthe’s AV productions on the survey of Endeavour Reef. I will endeavour (pun intended) to upload the AV once we get back to Cairns on Thursday.