Flora Reef 14 January (but really back in Sydney)

Well its been almost two weeks since my last post on the Mermaid Project blog and a lot has happened in that time.

On the morning of Wednesday 14 January the Mermaid Project team along with the gallant crew of Spoilsport found themselves anchored yet again off the southern edge of Flora Reef. We had relocated the site the previous evening and had commenced the preliminary post recovery assessment of the site in less than ideal conditions. However conditions had moderated overnight and underwater visibility had improved enough for us to complete our assessment.

Despite the largish seas which had been washing over the site for the last five days or so we could see no additional scouring or disturbance to the seabed on the Mermaid site – the areas where artefacts had been recovered from looked much the same as the rest of the reef – and there did not appear to be any additional corrosion occuring on the exposed iron concretions.  The Mermaid‘s anchor also appeared quite stable although reef areas further south of the anchor appeared to have been damaged by the robust seas.

Whilst the two sites were being assessed by Paul Hundley, Lloyd Fletcher, Grant Luckman and myself the gallant mag and manta board crew of Ed Slaughter, Lee Graham, Peter Illidge and Nigel Erskine were doing it all again but this time for Xanthe Rivett’s camera – just in case we missed any crucial footage the first time round. All the crew acted like old hands (or is that old hams) and the filming was completed in record time.

After the work dives were completed we all took the opportunity to be photographed as a team around the Mermaid anchor before starting the lengthy task of checking and washing the gear and stowing it away in preparation for our departure from Flora Reef in the afternoon.

Spoilsport departed Flora Reef and the site of the Mermaid at 1400 and we arrived back in Cairns about 1830 in the evening.

Last dive on the Mermaid

Last dive on the Mermaid

The Mermen of the Mermaid Project 2009

The Mermen of the Mermaid Project 2009

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.