Ashmore Reef Expedition 2015 – Part Five

Overnight, the wind from the north-west has abated a little and the swell on the northern exposed edge of Ashmore Reef, where the wreck site is located, has decreased. This allowed us to get dive teams on-site nice and early to take advantage of the calmer seas.

Led by Michael Gooding (Silentworld Foundation), Lee Graham (Australian National Maritime Museum) and Grant Luckman (Department of Environment) the dive teams have continued to plot the scattered remains of the shipwreck by carrying out additional 100 metre-long compass and tape transit surveys from the two main anchor clusters.

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Endeavour: voyaging to Hobart, days 7 – 10

A blog series from on board the Endeavour ship as she sails to Tasmania. See our Sail the Endeavour page to learn more about joining voyages like this.

Day 7  Tuesday 17 Feburary

Climbing the mast

Being at anchor overnight meant only a few crew were needed for short night watches. Most of the crew took advantage and headed off to bed for a good stretch of sleep on calm water, with no rolling and rocking. We awoke to a beautiful but misty morning with mist just outlining Tasmania coastline. After a hearty breakfast of pancakes, all hands on deck were called to bring up the anchor. For some of the voyage crew this was a new activity and all put great effort into making what can be a complicated process seemingly easy.

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X-Ray Vision – Fish Inside Out

X-ray photograph of Lookdown, or Selene vomer

Selene vomer (Lookdown), one of the photographs in X-Ray Vision. Credit: Sandra J. Raredon, Division of Fishes, NMNH.

Superman has it, and so does the Smithsonian Institution: x-ray vision. We’ve just finished hanging 40 intriguing x-ray images of fish specimens from the USA’s National Fish Collection, a library of more than 4 million preserved specimens of some 20,000 fish species from around the world held by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC (that’s a lot of preserving jars).

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‘The fate that launched a thousand ships’: What happened to the Franklin expedition?

The mystery surrounding Sir John Franklin’s 1845 expedition in search of the Northwest Passage has been a part of Canada’s identity for nearly 170 years. A lecture at the University of Sydney last Friday gave many engrossing insights into the story, and can be viewed online.

Franklin’s party of two ships and 129 men disappeared without trace in their quest to find the Northwest Passage, setting in train a series of unsuccessful rescue missions that would claim many more ships and lives. Last year, the wreck of HMS Erebus, one of Franklin’s lost vessels, was finally discovered 11 metres under water in the north of Canada.

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Ashmore Reef Expedition 2015 – Part Four

Overcast weather on Ashmore Reef

Looks like we have a change in the weather. Photo courtesy Xanthe Rivett, Silentworld Foundation.

Although the Bureau of Meteorology had indicated that we were in for a long spell of great diving conditions — with blue skies and calm seas — the team woke up this morning to grey overcast skies and a stiff breeze from the north-west resulting in a considerable surf building up on the northern edge of the reef. After assessing the situation and finding conditions onsite a little bumpy but workable, the first groups of divers re-commenced work.

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Operation: Torpedo

The 1200 kg dummy torpedo class 21" MK9.

The 1200 kg dummy torpedo class 21″ MK9.

Working as a registrar at the museum often requires one to think outside the box, and today was no different. Today’s task was to organise the return of a 1200 kg dummy torpedo class 21″ MK9 to the Naval Heritage Collection – simple, right? The only problem was that the NHC storage facility is located on Spectacle Island…and it’s an island. Solution? Call in the Navy.

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Endeavour: voyaging to Hobart, days 4 – 6

A blog series from on board the Endeavour ship as she sails to Tasmania. See our Sail the Endeavour page to learn more about joining voyages like this.

Day four – Saturday 14 February

Supernumerary Bill Morris demonstrating the sextant.

Supernumerary Bill Morris demonstrating the sextant.

Under a clear sky and thousands of stars overnight the sails were handed (clewed up to the yards) as we motored south.

The Main Mast Foremast Crew sat together laughing and chatting on how “hard it is to helm”, when they had been given direction from the Officer of the Watch and the Watch Leader.

Supernumerary Bill gave an interesting talk on sextants in the Great Cabin. Bill explained a little of the history of this navigation instrument and the subtle differences between types. We regularly see Bill out with his own sextant, recording his observations.

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Nominations are open for $5,000 maritime history prizes

Winner of the 2015 Frank Broeze Memorial Maritime History Prize was John Odgen for his two-volume set Saltwater People.

Winner of the 2015 Frank Broeze Memorial Maritime History Prize was John Odgen for his two-volume set Saltwater People.

Every two years, the museum, in association with the Australian Association for Maritime History (AAMH), jointly sponsors two maritime history prizes totalling $5,000.

Anyone – writers, publishers or readers – can nominate a work for these awards. Nominations close on 30 April 2015.

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Endeavour: voyaging to Hobart, days 1 – 3

A blog series from on board the Endeavour ship as she sails to Tasmania. See our Sail the Endeavour page to learn more about joining voyages like this.

Day one – Wednesday 11 February 2015

Today we set sail again for Hobart! Our first Tasmanian voyage was cancelled, and we missed the Australian Wooden Boat Festival but intend to be the star attraction at Elizabeth Street Pier from 20 to 24 February! The voyage crew joined at 0800, 16 in total; twelve sailors and four supernumeraries — a small crew for the trip to Hobart.

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How to make an easy deep sea diver costume

What might there be at the bottom of the sea? Oceans galore for you to explore; A shipwreck’s sunken treasure, a fearsome colossal squid, a stealthy submarine or a deep sea diver, out to explore the ocean’s floor.

Voyage-to-the-Deep-kids-divers-1

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