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

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

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.

Monday 12 January off Endeavour Reef

As the expedition winds down for 2009 the weather has been winding up – the wind and the seas have been gradually increasing over the last three days. Whilst its still possible to dive on Endeavour Reef an expected wind shift to the south and east will making diving on the HMB Endeavour stranding site very difficult.

The first dive teams were in the water quite early this morning trying to finish off the Endeavour Reef research prior to the wind shift.

Nigel had tracked down archival information on the early salvage work on the site. This information indicated that the early salvor’s had recovered most of the stone ballast from an area 26 meters at 080 degrees from the tripod. The records also indicated that most of the iron kentledge was recovered from an area 28 meters at 105 degrees from the tripod.

The stone ballast team consisting of Peter, Nigel, Lee and Warren and the kentledge ballast team, consisting of Xanthe, Ed, Grant and myself located the railway iron tripod and ran out tapes on the designated bearings. Luckily for us the salvor’s information proved accurate and the two teams quickly located the areas.

Visual surveys of the two areas indicated that the reef areas still showed signs of the explosives with a large depression 10 meters in diameter and 1 meter deep marking the area where the kentledge had been recovered. This depression, devoid of any coral, was stripped back to bare coral rock. A metal detector survey of this area produced no magnetic anomalies however Ed Slaughter did locate a significant anomaly about 14 meters away from the tripod.

The stone ballast team did not see evidence of blasting but did not locate several other ballast stones and more lead sheathing.

Following this dive the decision was taken to close down the work on the Endeavour Reef and prepare to head down the coast in Spoilsport to Flora Reef and the team from Nimrod / Silentworld.

Nigel Erskine, ANMM, inspecting possible HMB Endeavour ballast on Endeavour Reef

Nigel Erskine, ANMM, inspecting possible HMB Endeavour ballast on Endeavour

Endeavour Reef

Photo of

With strengthening winds the decision was taken last night to move Spoilsport to Endeavour Reef, approximately 120 nautical miles to the north of Flora Reef, to investigate the 1770 stranding site of HMB Endeavour.

In 1969 the stranding site of HMB Endeavour was located by the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences and six cannons, iron and stone ballast blocks, a large Admiralty pattern anchor and the remains of six gun carriages were recovered from the site. The Australian National Maritime Museum holds a significant collection of material recovered from the site during these expeditions and we are hoping a reinspection of the site along with a remote sensing survey of the surrounding reef may reveal additional material associated with the 1770 stranding.

After arriving on site the magnetometer team hit the water using a site report from the initial discoveries of the site along with additional information supplied from Doug at Fugro Instruments in Sydney who had conducted an aerial survey of the reef in the early 1960s.

Photo of

After a few false starts the magnetometer picked up two magnetic anomalies on an isolated bommie on the southern side of the eastern reef and two survey teams consisting of Nigel and Lee and Xanthe and Kieran dived on the reef. The first divers in found a fantastic coral garden with thousands of fish swimming around brain, staghorn and plate coral.

The second dive team in were Grant, Warren, Ed and Peter with Xanthe to video record the search shortly afterwards a series of rain and wind squalls struck the area obscuring the divers bubbles from the surface boats. The divers were recalled to the surface but not before they had located some cement blocks on the reef top. From his archival information Nigel realised that these blocks were most likely the ones left by some of the earlier salvers’ of the vessel.

Concentrating on the area around the concrete block the next team of divers located sections of railway iron on the seafloor which had also been placed on the Reef in the early in 1970s and most excitingly what appears to be several ballast blocks similar to those in the ANMM’s collection.

By now the weather conditions on Endeavour Reef had deteriorated to such an extent that we have had to postpone diving for the rest of the day (a rain bearing depression to the west of us in the Gulf has now formed into tropical cyclone Charlotte) and Trevor, the skipper of Spoilsport, is currently moving the vessel around to the northern side of the Reef to get some protection from the strengthening South-easterly.

Mermaid Project Update

Soft corals on the wreck of the Merchant off Sudbury Reef, Queensland.

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.

Friday 9 January – on the site of the Mermaid

Peter, Ed and Xanthe recording artefacts before recovery on HMCS Mermaid site.

Expedition team members from the ANMM, MTQ and Silentworld are all up at 0600 for breakfast and the regular morning dive briefing. The weather is continuingto deteriorate with strengthening south-easterlies predicted over the next four days due to the development of a deep monsoonal trough north of Cairns which is sucking up wind from the South.

As the developing weather pattern will make further work on the site increasingly difficult and the combination of low tides, strong winds and large seas would remove our survey tapes and marker I have decided to close down the site for the time being.

After discussion with Ed Slaughter from the Museum of Tropical Queensland, the State Government agency responsible for the management of shipwecks in Queensland waters and other team archaeologists I have also decided to remove several diagnostic artefacts from the site which may be damaged during the expected weather.

With an increasing sea from the South-east divers entered the water to start the work shutting down the site. Xanthe and Warren (MAAQld) entered the water to finalise the photomosaic, Nigel and Greg (Silentworld) completed plotting of artefacts whilst Lee and Steve (Silentworld) started to tidy up the site removing excess markers, lines and shotweights from the seabed.

The next teams in the water were Grant (DEWHA) and John (Silentworld) who photographed the exposed objects prior to their recovery.

The lifting team consisted of Peter (Oceania Maritime Pty. Ltd.) and Ed (Museum of tropical Queensland) who tagged and recovred the objects – they were assisted in the water by John and Lindsay (Silentworld Foundation) and on the boat by Paul and Dr. Lloyd. The whole process was photographed and videoed by Xanthe, despite the conditions everything went smoothly and the selected artefacts were quickly onboard Spoilsport.

Lee and I then completed a final inspection of the site removing the centreline and offset tapes, the swim line from the site to the kedge anchor and the two site bouys.

Silentworld Expedition vessel Nimrod in front of a squall west of Flora Reef site of HMCS Mermaid.

Silentworld Expedition vessel Nimrod in front of a squall west of Flora Reef site of HMCS Mermaid.

Thank you :)

Kieran asked that as were no longer on the boat if we could make comments on our experiences so here goes (I don’t know how many of you will actually read this but anyway its here). It’s an honest view of what you are like.

 

Kieran you are super nice and deserve so much more than this pittance for all the work you put in to organising absolutely everything. You’re a legend and just thankyou. J

Ed thanks for being kool about our randomness but it was actually cause you were kool and good to talk to. I really enjoyed your input and your passion for your job and I’ve seriously started thinking about what type of history I might like to do and that volunteering thing. Stay awesome!!

 

Wayne cause you didn’t mind when we got everyone to call you Dwayne and talking to me about real and important things…

 

Paul you have no idea how much it means to us that you kept taking us out without complaint and you were just so friendly it made a good atmosphere and really helped us to find our notch and fit in. J

Lee you are super friendly, pleasantly nice and happy. You were good to be around.

 

Warren god you can go for an old fella J but thanks for your opinions on life and your stories. I’m sorry we missed your presentation even if you didn’t particularly want to do it…

 

Lloyd who came snorkelling with us a lot and for bandaging my toes so well that six days later the bandaids are still there.

 

Nigel even though you were quiet you were nice and helpful.

 

Xanthe you’re just amazingly skilled with a camera with such grace underwater. It was extremely impressive and I think it might be a career path that Alice is now seriously considering.

 

Peter for raising spirits when you found the anchor.

 

Jacqui for being so nice and supportive of our blogging efforts.  J

Alice if you read this you kept me entertained in the off periods. We made a good team.

 

Miss Lynch it just seems to weird too say Elaine again thanks for everything it means a lot.

 

John this experience and meeting you and everyone else is just so amazing and different to anything I have ever done before. Thank you for giving it to us. Words can’t convey my gratitude.

 

Finally every one else aboard the Nimrod and the Spoilsport (I’ll be here for hours naming you all), you were completely different to what I expected wealthy people to behave. Just the common courtesy shown to us was phenomenal and the fact that we’re just kids, it really makes me respect all of you even more.  

 

Thanks to all the staff to you know who you are and what you did.. J

I’ll stop blabbing on now so finally, thanks…  

The Last Day!!!! Unfortunately

Day 8

 

Last and final day aboard the Spoilsport with the most awesome group of people ever.. That includes the Nimrod as well.

 

 Up, breakfast and off we go. Paul and Lloyd again put up with us as we form our very last line. Another strong current with very high seas.. Fun fun fun (sarcasm). It wasn’t too bad but we were only in the water about an hour (while constantly fighting the current when we decided to move out further onto the reef as we weren’t finding anything. But we ran into were the Mag boat was surveying with Wayne and Andrew (who were leaving with us), Ed and Peter as well I think. J

 

So we ended up going back to the boat and waiting for them to come back as Alice and I were allowed to go Manta board riding.. Yay. So we waited it out and then away we went. For anyone who doesn’t know what it is it is just a wooden boat attached to a rope dragged behind a boat, which you hold onto. You then just angle the board down to go under the water or up to come back up. J

 

Alice went first then it was my go…. It was the most fun I had all day due to the leaving.. My arms feel kinda strained at the moment but they were fine when we were doing it. It was so spectacular to watch coral and fish zoom by as you seem to just glide so effortlessly.. It was awesome and thanks to everyone involved in that… Very much appreciated.

 

Then we got back and just hung around not doing much.. We had a very quick lunch then it was up to the top deck to talk to the media… How exciting. J!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Alice and Miss Lynch to be more correct, as he only wanted to speak to one of us and Alice was quicker. J

 

Next thing I know we’re (Alice and I) rushing around trying to be organised as they had been looking for us while they were talking on the phone as it was time to leave.

 

It’s surprising how quick you can be when you don’t have any time. We were both mostly packed it was just our swimmers and stuff that need to be included. Then we were hugging everyone and shaking hands. It was then the terrible realisation that we wouldn’t be seeing many of these people ever again, sunk in.. It was quite depressing really. J

 

Then we went across to the Nimrod and climbed onto the Pirate. Both Alice and I were given bandana’s with the Solomon Island flags on it to represent John’s worldly affairs.. Which was nice,,

 

 So off we went. Dwayne (aka Wayne), Andrew, Alice, Miss Lynch, some of the staff swapped over so Tristan and Warren came on the Pirate (another smaller boat) with us and Trevor went to skipper the other boat (the Nimrod).

 

It took about two hours to get back and had a conversation with Wayne while sitting on the front of the in the wind!!!!!!!! Which was fun as you could see everything.

 

Then we were back on land and it was all over. We said good bye to everyone who was with us and started feeling the effects of a week at sea… I’m still rocking after over 24hours later. Fun. J

 

And so concluded our week aboard the Spoilsport and our successful quest to find the Mermaid. Thanks for the opportunity, it won’t be forgotten. J

 

Missing all of you and I mean everybody. J

Our last whole day :(

Day 7

 

Today was our last whole day L… We got up at about 6.30 and got going.. We needed to put in a lot of effort because it was our last chance to find something..

 

Again our very tolerant and awesome leader Paul took Alice, Elaine, Lloyd and me snorkelling along the reef with the holding the line. We were searching in a westerly direction this time to see if anything would show up but again unfortunately we were unsuccessful..

After a couple of hours in the water we got out.

 

Kieran then asked us if we would make a presentation on what we had done during the week at the night De-briefing.. We of course accepted and began to organise our power point presentation…. After lunch we were ready to go again as we weren’t missing our potential last snorkel. We went out with Paul again as well as some other people from the Nimrod (some divers, some snorkelers) to look at a anomaly that the Mag (a very high tech metal detector). There was no organisation and we were told to just have a look around the area… Again no one found anything except I saw a largish stingray swimming through the water. Apparently Alice followed around a six foot shark (which would have been heaps exciting) and it swam right under Miss Lynch.. J

 

After a while we gave up and came back because nothing was found. Alice and I continued to work on our presentation and upload pictures to the internet..

 

It was our last night on board so we requested that anyone who wanted to could sign the Mermaid shirts that we had so generously been given.. Thanks again John, for everything..

 

Miss Lynch I hope you like the present we gave you and I’m sorry for not mentioning you in the last one but there are just so many people who I’m thankful to. You deserve a medal for putting up with us for a week and taking such good care of us. Its very reassuring to no someone is looking out for you at all times..

 

Well back to the day we had dinner. The last one……………………… L L L L L Kieran once again gave us our debriefing on the events of the day. But due to all publicity and the fact that Xanthe was working on a photo mosaic (one square metre at a time of the entire location so the can have a better understanding of what the site looks like) she decided that it would bore us looking at them all.

 

Then it was our turn and Alice and I both took our turns reading from the power point which was on the two massive flat screen TV’s.  Everyone clapped at the end but I’m not sure weather it was out of relief or not.. J

 

Then it was Nigel’s turn and he briefly talked about on of the ship wrecks he had help excavate and research.. Then good old captain Trevor told us all about deep sea diving to the extreme and the little mishaps that caused panic.  

 

Also want to thank Josh for keeping us entertained I no it was a bit tedious.. J But I’m pretty sure you had fun….

 

Thanks Megan    

We found the MERMAID :)

Day 6

 

This morning was another early morning… Of course. So it was breakfast then a meeting on the dive deck to delegate jobs and plan the events of the morning. We were snorkelling with Paul again he’s a trooper having us with him almost every time we’ve gone out.

 

We made a line only about twenty metres long with five people spread along it to try and find any more wreckage. We were headed north from a buoy in our attempt to survey the area. The current is still very strong and we had gone about half a kilometre when we stopped and discovered we were drifting to the east and we were a long way of course. So the tender picked us up. We then went back to the buoy we started from and this time attempted to work against the current.. This time success but we didn’t find anything…. which was a bummer.

 

Lunch was next which was Mexican.. Yer. We had to get changed into our shirt and cap that had the mermaid logo on it so we could have our picture taken by Xanthe and then so she was in the picture Warren for a press release which is exciting. It sounds very professional too.

 

We went and had a look at the anchor duck diving in about five metres of water…

It was so awesome and it just made it a bit more realistic..

 

People who deserve thanks and recognition include Ed who talked to me about goals and ambitions and really made the mermaid exploration exciting with his excitement and good humour. He has interesting stories worth remembering and does a great credit to the Queensland maritime museum as he is the shipwreck officer there. Thanks for making this such an awesome trip…. J

Paul again cause he’s so nice and tolerant.. it is more than appreciated as we know were not professional.

Lee who’s just always friendly….

Wayne (Dwayne) who is always smiling and cheers everyone up. Even if its just mocking J lol.

A massive thanks to John who made this all possible and with out we wouldn’t be here having the best time….

 Xanthe for her super photographic skills, and her light, bubbly persona.

Jackie, Christina…. for being so positive and nice.

Kereen without all our organisation skills and nice up beat personality none of this would have happened. Its not as recognised as it should be but everyone can’t thankyou enough.

Every other novice that helped out and not made us feel so bad because of our lack of knowledge on specific details. J

Everyone else because you talking to us as if were adults and not just stupid immature kids..

 

Last but not least the crew

Bre cause you entertain us as well as making us feel right at home.
Warren your our entertainment… keep it up your awesome.

David for playing cards and talking to us right at the beginning… and still, obviously..

Kireen, Sterlo, Tristan, Alex, Moon and Trevor the captain..

 

In our de-briefing after dinner it was finally confirmed that it is in fact the Mermaid…..

Yyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeesssssssssssssssssssssssssssss!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! wwwwwwwwwwweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee… it is the best news that topped off a good day and made it great. It is so over whelming and just exciting to be a part of this.. a part of history in the making.. We celebrated… Yay. We were even entertained by Captain Trevor.

 

An all round fantastic day even though our time is quickly coming to an end..

 

Megan    

Its the Mermaid

Dr. Nigel Erskine , ANMM, surveying a cluster of anchor chain on site.

Dr. Nigel Erskine , ANMM, surveying a cluster of anchor chain on site.

I hope you have been following Alice and Megan’s blogs on the 2009 Mermaid Project over the last six days. Over the last couple of days the dive team have made a number of significant discoveries on Flora Reef. Two days ago during a magnetometer survey on the southern side of the reef the team picked up a small but impressive magnetometer signal about 150 meters offshore from what was then Flora Reef Unidentified shipwreck No 2. A team of divers were sent in and after only a short search located a 5 foot long, wrought iron kedge anchor sitting on top of a coral bommie in 7 meters of water. We know from historical accounts of the wreck that the crew of the Mermaid dropped a small kedge anchor about half a cable length from the stern of the vessel in an attempt to kedge (pull) the Mermaid off the reef. Their attempt failed and the kedge anchor and its coirfibre cable were abandoned.

Lee Graham from the Museum's Fleet section next to the Mermaid's anchor.

Lee Graham from the Museum’s Fleet section next to the Mermaid’s anchor.

Paul Hundley, ANMM surveying in the schooner's pump.

Paul Hundley, ANMM surveying in the schooner’s pump.

In itself the discovery of the anchor did not proove that that the wrecksite was HMCS Mermaid and the team continued to survey the site looking for additional information. Yesterday a metal detector survey uncovered a series of anomlies scattered amongst coral rubble on the southern side of the site. These anomlies have now been identified as being casement or cannister shot (packets of ball bearings contained within a small canvas bag of small wooden cannister) the team have also found fragments of copper sheathing, sheathing nails, ship’s fastenings, lead patches and several large magnetic anomalies on the wrecksite. This information along with the position of the wreck and the size of its remains has meant that we are now quite positive that the site is that of HMCS Mermaid wrecked off the Frankland Islands in 1829.

Archaeologists, scientific divers and volunteers divers and snorkellers are continuing their investigation of the site hoping to reveal more information about this fascinating vessel.

Day 6!!!

K.. day 6.. I DONT WANNA GO HOME!!! Eeeeee

.. actually its more 50/50.. I wouldnt wanna be stuck on this boat forever.. and I’ve got stuff to do : P.. ok today.. usual 6:00 rise and yummy breakfast.. burnt the stupid raisin toast.. AGAIN *pouts* grr but had some fruit salad on top (not on toast just as well) then we went for the morning snorkel.. a 20m line sweep in a northerly direction from the site of the anchor chain pile.. didn’t visually find anything but I saw a really cool clam.. it was BLUE well the algae in its membranes that photosynthesise for it were blue.. I liked it… I also found two puffer fish.. I was trying to get one to blow up but it was just raising its spikes at me : P well it was in a tiny hole with another puffer fish.. I think if it did blow up its friend wouldn’t be too impressed.. hehe I also saw a nudibrank (no idea how to spell that!!) but it’s a slug pretty thing.. ?? google it : P hehe

after coming back we had lunch.. Mexican.. yum yum soft tortilla.. actually should say now Tristan our cook is the awesomenest.. anyways.. me and megan didn’t go on the afternoon snorkel.. sweeping either the east or west of the chain (I cant remember) and instead fixed our blogs, annoyed people and generally wet ourselves laughing for hours over minute childish matters : P

I spent my afternoon drawing on a T-shirt of Tristan’s while Megan and Bre folded napkins.. looks like a opera house or a hot poker flower : P was pretty sweet.. we then had a restaurant dinner and discussed blogging which leads me to the following..

Ed was upset that his only mention being that he sat and listened.. he submitted a formal complaint and now were recognizing his full magnificence… : )

Today we found 5 canister shots and 1 pistol shot (musket ball) anyways we has a wreck ONE MERMAID!!!!! YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and in megans distaste OMFG!!!!!! YAYNESS!!!!!!!! WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!! We have some footage of the anchor with hand movements : P our beautiful models.. you know who you are!!!! Lol which should be on win news YEW WE FOUND OUR WRECK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! CHEYER!!!

TO THE MERMAID!

Alice

Day 5- Wooow

pipe found by Lee

pipe found by Lee

I didn’t sleep much at all and then it was ten to seven so I literally had to jump out of bed and get ready to come and have breakfast. Which I ate very quickly so that we could be ready to leave… I couldn’t see properly cause my eyes were blurry and I had a massive headache. A good way to start the day.

We went out to the site so that the new members we seem to be accumulating could see what had been found. The water was extremely choppy with a strong undercurrent… we spent the majority of the dive searching for the rest of the wreck as we could only find the big ring which was marked… apparently the rest of the site was behind us but we didn’t no. Lee found a copper pipe and that caused a bit of a stir as it was part of a pump or something. By this stage the water was starting ti break and it was too choppy to continue so we came back to the boat….

After lunch we were separated into groups and Alice and I got to do the tagging which was putting orange tags on things so that they can be relocated when they need to be.. So once again we went out with Paul and we marked things… I was lucky enough to find a copper pin to mark in the middle of nowhere. We think we managed to mark almost everything.  Again it was pretty choppy and the current was very strong.

Once back on the boat another diving team went out. Unluckily for Alice and I cause we can’t dive and they found the Anchor…. almost immediately the whole boat found out. WWWWOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWW….. YAY….. The excitement was unbelievable.

We then had Asian for dinner and prepared for a very special meeting and debriefing due to the momentous discovery.  after watching Xanthe’s awesome shots of especially the anchor we briefly discussed the events of the day and went from there.

imgp6975

We were introduced to some of the new members both staying on our boat and the Nimrod. Unfortunately for two of them (josh was talking to Alice and me) were left behind and had to be taken across by one of our tenders. Very unlucky

For those of you who don’t know finding the anchor is extremely important to finding out and aging when the ship was built and sailed…….

Day 4!!!

Coral

Coral

Day 4…

 

 

 

Today could have started better.. bad night sleep and woke up early.. feeling crap (I ate too much sea water) urgh!! So yer my tummy and digestive system is doing back flips.. we went snorkelling did a sweep of another section marked with buoys.. we battled the current and basically found zilch.. hmm saw a shark though SWEET AS!!!.. random minor epiphany between me and Megan.. we is sad lil children.. lmao (laughing my ass off) we basically only talk to the staff.. and their PAID to keep us entertained *hangs head* nah I think they like us.. I hope they like us lol… their so awesome WE LOVE YOU GUYS!!! (Nah we do talk to everyone else as well)

 Hehe lol back to relevant issues… after our morning snorkel I went for a sleep because of my unhappy tummy.. and was woken up by Ms Lynch telling me to get ready because I was going snorkelling in 10.. AH!! So didn’t bother with wetsuit and went out to a place where we think we it’s the mermaid but is most defiantly a shipwreck.. we found a few different bits and pieces.. we found a 2 staples, copper nails, a barrel ring which could actually be a mask ring though.. another ring off a compass and a pile of chain cemented to the reef floor..

 Unfortunately the weather worsened and we headed back to Spoilsport and blogged away into the night. We watched a few presentations- on other shipwrecks such as Pandora and the pictures that Xanthe had taken during the day.

 

Alice

 

p.s 2 interesting things.. 1) learning to walk in a straight line on a rocking boat (aka not look drunk) and 2) photography underwater when you float and the current is constantly moving you and your camera is gay.. alot of the coral colours are 100X brighter then what turns up on the camera : (

p.p.s one of my photos aka so crap compared to Xanthe’s