End of the trip now lets plan the next one

All good expeditions must come to an end, equipment must be returned to its owners, expedition members returned to their families, friends and employers, charter vessels have to be cleaned, resupplied, the crew changed over and then sent back out to sea with a different set of passengers seeking different diving locations and sites.

The same applied to the Mermaid 2009 expedition. On Thursday morning we had to have everything and everyone of the vessel by 8.15 to allow the crew and the vessel to prepare for its afternoon departure.

After a hasty breakfast the packing of gear continued and cabins, storage areas, the dive deck and saloon were checked for left items, books, electrical cables, cameras, misplaced T Shirts and lost toothbrushes. While all this was going on I organised a vehicle to pick up all the offloaded equipment and arranged accomodation for those expedition members who were staying over nght in Cairns.

Peter Illidge said his goodbys and commenced his drive back to Townsville ferrying equipment we had borrowed from James Cook University and the Museum of Tropical Queensland. We also said our goodbys to Dr. Nigel Erskine and Dr. Lloyd Fletcher who were also leaving us today in Cairns.

Whilst the remaining crew were seeing the sites of Cairns – Paul Hundley, Lee Graham and I were playing material conservators – packing the artefacts recovered from HMCS Mermaid in absorbent gel and protective boxes – before they made their long trip to Sydney and into the care of the conservation section at the Australian National Maritime Museum.

In the evening the remaining crew members got together for a final meal before flying out to their respective States. Like all good things expeditions must come to an end BUT as the evening meal progressed talk moved onto other wrecks on other reefs off the coast of Australia.

Museum archaeologist Dr. Nigel Erskine dreaming of new shipwrecks on new reefs.

Museum archaeologist Dr. Nigel Erskine dreaming of new shipwrecks on new reefs.

Expeditions such as this one are only as successful as the crew are experienced, innovative and hard working.  A very big thankyou (in no particular order) to Peter Illidge, Warren Delaney, Ed Slaughter, Wayne Morris, Grant Luckman, Lloyd Fletcher,  Elaine Cuzens, Alice Lafferty, Megan Blacker, John Mullen, Jacqui Mullen, Jenni Mullen,  Stephen Day, Lindsay Birley, Greg Tanner, Scott Northcutt, Anne Northcutt, Christina Koh, Andrew Turner, Grant Bowering, Xanthe Rivett, Nikki McNicole, John McNicole, Lesley Howlett, Laurie Carrico, Mark Stewart, Cathy Stewart, Meyric Slimming, Fred Pakoa, Lee Graham, Paul Hundley and Nigel Erskine.

Mermaid Project 2009 Expedition Team

Mermaid Project 2009 Expedition Team

and a big hats off to Trevor Jackson, skipper of Spoilsport, Kerrin Johns, Spoilsport Cruise Director and all of the crew at Mike Ball Dive Expeditions including Craig Stevens, Stirling Robertson, Warren Boast James, Richard Kennedy, Alex Mitchael, Tristan Brighte, Bre Jenkins and Katrina along with the crew of Nimrod and Pirate for all their hard work, professionalism and sense of humour.

Silentworld Foundation dive vessel Nimrod on station at Flora reef

Silentworld Foundation dive vessel Nimrod on station at Flora reef

I would also like to thank the expeditions sponsors the Silentworld Foundation without whose assistance this expedition would not have been possible.

Mike Ball Dive Expeditions vessel Spoilsport off Flora Reef

Mike Ball Dive Expeditions vessel Spoilsport off Flora Reef

This entry was posted in Maritime Archaeology, Mermaid Project 2009, Uncategorized 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.

2 thoughts on “End of the trip now lets plan the next one

  1. Well Kieran what a successful expedition on every level.You have done a wonderful,professional job as the expedition leader and I honour you particularly.
    Of course all the people who worked with, and around us were terrific and I appreciate their support and professional expertise.
    We are back at school ,experiencing heatwave conditions and dreaming of that awesome week.The girls on return wrote an informative ,interesting account of the expedition with some of Xanthe’s auperb photos for the local paper the Bega District News which was well received.We have also done an interview with the local ABC radio.Megan and Alice are upskilling their media presentations!!
    We have been interviewed by the editor of Side by Side DET’s paper and this will be published soon.
    Megan has asked several times what next in terms of their commitment to the museum she likes to be prepared.

  2. Very nice blog – you are an excellent writer. I enjoyed the photos also.

    Next time you are planning an expedition make sure you use the travel meta-search site 1000travelsites.com to find the best prices on flights and hotels. They search pretty much every travel provider on the web in a matter of seconds. It’s the best site for finding the lowest price.

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