Finding ‘Hope’ with a magnetometer: Kenn Reefs expedition, days 6 and 7

Pete Illidge and Renee Malliaros prove that site mapping and synchronised swimming are not mutually exclusive tasks. Image: Julia Sumerling/Silentworld Foundation.

Pete Illidge and Renee Malliaros prove that site mapping and synchronised swimming are not mutually exclusive tasks. Image: Julia Sumerling/Silentworld Foundation.

One of the major goals of the Kenn Reefs expedition was to find Hope, the small cutter built from material salvaged from Bona Vista, and later lost during the rescue of the brig’s crew. According to historical accounts, two boats were sent from the rescuing vessel (the ship Asia) to Observatory Cay, where they recovered most of Bona Vista’s crew, the brig’s allocation of specie (gold and silver coin brought aboard Bona Vista for trading purposes), and brought them aboard Asia. A skeleton crew of thirteen and the personal belongings of all of the brig’s officers and men remained aboard Hope, as did unspecified salvaged goods valued at £1,000. However, as Asia got underway and took Hope under tow, tragedy struck:

Continue reading

Seals, sharks and shipwrecks: 3D mapping the Lady Darling shipwreck

The Narooma Bar on a very calm day with Montague Island in the distance. Image: Lee Graham /ANMM.

The Narooma Bar on a very calm day with Montague Island in the distance. Image: Lee Graham / ANMM.

New South Wales hosts a wide variety of historic shipwreck sites. These range from large, fully exposed and intact hulls to smaller, largely disarticulated, dispersed, and buried structural components and artefacts. The environments in which these sites exist also differ significantly in terms of seabed composition, water depth and water clarity.

Continue reading

Frederick Reef Archaeological Survey – Day 1 Part 2

Back again… It’s actually the morning of Day 2, but I thought I’d catch you up with what went on after leaving Brisbane airport.  There were other crew members on our flight- John Jackie and Jenn Mullen and Gordon.  We were all working together on the Mermaid project back in 2009.  Our blog from that expedition is still archived on our website.

We arrived in Gladstone at about 1.30 pm.  A bit delayed, but at least all of our equipment made it with us!

We took a taxi to the marina and met the crew of the Kanimbla.  Carl and Jesse had picked up all the gear we had shipped up from Sydney the week before and it was already on the boat.  Kieran and I did a quick check and found that one parcel had been left behind.  And a pretty important one at that… the cable that attaches the magnetometer tow fish to the computer!  The magnetometer, or mag, is a piece of electronic survey equipment.  Basically it is a very sensitive metal detector, but if you can’t connect the sensor to the computer it’s not going to work.

We got Carl to take us to the TNT depot where we spotted it right away.  The depot thought it was for Telstra because it was a big blue cable!  With that problem solved we picked up a few other supplies that we knew we might need and headed back to the marina.  Kieran had a couple of interviews scheduled for 3 pm.

We got back spot on 3 pm and one film crew was just unpacking and another reporter and photographer were already on board Kanimbla.  That took about an hour to provide the story, photos and film.  There should be a news piece on Channel 7 evening news on Thursday.  But we won’t be able to get this blog out until after that.  Sorry…

Kieran and I took advantage in the break in activity to unpack our personal gear and settle into a four bunk berth.  It has enough room to store some of the camera and video equipment.  After that we got stuck into unpacking and reorganising some of the 19 assorted bins and boxes of dive gear and survey equipment.

The doctor for the project arrived at about 5.30 pm.  Frederick Reef is so remote that we felt it was a good idea to have a diving doctor on board the Kanimbla.  At 6 pm the rest of the ANMM staff arrived along with the staff and students from Flinders Uni.  Everyone had arrived on our boat.

The last person was Xanthe Rivett our project photographer and videographer.  Everyone stopped work and took some time to get to know each other.

At 8.30 pm we had our safety briefing from the captain of Kanimbla, as required of all charter boats in preparation for departure.  We had dinner at 9 pm and pulled away from the wharf at 10 pm. We’re on our way to Frederick Reef!!  I’ll let you know how we stay busy for the next 30 hours…

Cheers Paul Hundley  (Sr. Curator and archaeologist)

Frederick Reef Archaeological Survey – Day 1

Hey everyone.  If you’ve found this you might have heard an interview with Kieran Hosty our team leader.  Or maybe saw an article in the newspaper.  Welcome to our project.  This is actually the second trip to Frederick Reef for the ANMM.  Nigel Erskine and I did a reconnaissance trip in October 2010 with Silentworld Foundation.  Here are a couple of images from that trip.

Images from the scouting trip in 2010. Paul and Nigel

Paul and Nigel at work. Looking for remains.

We found a number of areas that had ship material scattered on the reef.  This project will go back to those areas for a closer look, as well as do a magnetometer survey around the entire southern reef system.

We are looking for the remains of the Royal Charlotte, convict ship that wrecked in 1825.  Here is an image of the Borrowdale, another convict transport. It is a bit smaller and older than the Royal Charlotte, but it will give an idea of what it looked like.  You can read a brief history here.

We are currently sitting in Brisbane airport waiting for our flight to Gladstone where we are meeting the rest of the team and the two boats.  We will be on the Kanimbla.  The other part of the team will be on Silentworld II, which is part of the Silentworld Foundation.

I know this is short, but I wanted to get something out to you quickly….  and we need to board our flight now!

We will write again tonight once we know when we will be leaving port. Stay tuned!  We will be sending posts back regularly…. with images and video clips too!!

Cheers Paul Hundley  (Sr. Curator and archaeologist)