Flora Reef

Members of the Mermaid Project during a rain squall.

Members of the Mermaid Project during a rain squall.

Warren Delaney from the Maritime Archaeological Association of Queensland. One of the Mermaid Project 2009 volunteers.
Warren Delaney from the Maritime Archaeological Association of Queensland. One of the Mermaid Project 2009 volunteers.

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.

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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.

3 thoughts on “Flora Reef

  1. Well intrepid expeditioners you are maintaining the standard and the passion for your work.Xanthe’s photos are such an enhancement to your blog Kieran.What about a photo of you ??Warren’s picture is a beauty,and also the underwater shots of Nigel,Xanthe,Peter et al.
    today 15/1 I assume you are back on land in Cairns Come down gently on your wobbly sea legs from such a unique experience.All the best to all .

  2. hi Kieran i was just wondering if you could send me a complete list of everything found.. oh and do you spell john’s last name as Mullins. thanks and if you could send it to me asap that would be good

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