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expeditions/August/September 2007/Maritime Heritage
8 - Out with the maritime heritage team.
by Carlie Wiener
here to see where the Hi'ialakai is now.
here to see current data from the ship.
I cannot believe that I have been out at sea for over a week
now the time goes by so fast, even with an extra hour of
sleep. We are so far off from the main Hawaiian Islands that
the ship is traveling in a different time zone. It was a
real different experience to go out with the Maritime Archeologist
team today, what an exciting and exhilarating day.
Maritime heritage team (Sean Corson, Tane Casserly,
Hans Van Tilberg and Kelly Gleason), Carlie Wiener.
Dr. Van Tilberg and Sean Corson recording wreck debris
coordinates, Carlie Wiener.
was finally sunny but the swell increased even more from
yesterday, making for a bumpy ride out to the first site.
The team arrived at the Quartette wreck, which is in the
crystal clear lagoon waters of Pearl and Hermes. I was stunned
by the perfect visibility of the beautiful, pale blue waters.
Quartette wreck site, Carlie Wiener.
Our skilled coxswain navigated around the shallow reef areas
ensuring that the boat stayed in sandy patches, in order
to avoid hitting any coral. The research team is very knowledgeable
about the sites, and seemed excited to map out the Quartette
wreck. This particular ship wrecked in 1952 for unknown reasons,
carrying animals and milo maise. I really think it is amazing
that you can go back to the past and learn information just
from one item or surveying at a wreck. The archeology crew
surveyed the site by picking artifact points to draw a map
of the site. I was fortunate enough to snorkel the area with
them, sketching out artifacts to scale, measuring them and
developing a site plan. The wreck was really remarkable;
you could see some parts of the ship sticking out of the
water and underneath on the reef. The wreck debris made an
excellent home for marine species, and there was an immense
amount of reef fish, with many different species.
Large school of fish at the Quartette wreck, Carlie
a white tip reef shark and were closely investigated by a
few very large ulua. The most challenging part of investigating
the wreck was the ripping current. It was extremely difficult
to swim against the current as it had a really strong pull.
This made for a challenging swim (especially while taking
photographs) but still an excellent workout and beautiful
site. Later in the afternoon, the team went to examine debris
at the newly found sail boat wreck from the day before. They
did this by towing two people from a rope at the back of
the boat, slowly moving across the water and scanning the
shallow reef floor.
Tow pulling in the lagoon to scan the reef for wreck
debris, Carlie Wiener.
Unfortunately nothing was recovered,
but it was still a fun ride in the beautiful lagoon. Every
day following dinner, all the principal investigators meet
to discuss the next day’s work plans and locations.
Tonight, the group decided that we had accomplished all we
needed from Pearl and Hermes atoll, and that a day at Midway
would be beneficial. With that, we steamed full speed ahead
to the historic Midway Atoll. For the last time from Pearl
and Hermes atoll a hui hou!
here for maps of the region