Missions Header Graphic
2008 Papahanaumokuakea Maritime Heritage Expedition
menu
Mission info 2007 Nancy Foster Cruise
 

Mission Blog: August 4, 2008
Calm Seas and Clear Skies at French Frigate Shoals

By Kelly Gleason, Maritime Archaeologist
Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument

Cathy and the team enjoy blue skies and calm waters on the half hour ride to the dive site.

Cathy and the team enjoy blue skies and calm waters on the half hour ride to the dive site.

When I first dove on the schooner Churchill shipwreck last year, I remember wondering how we would ever create a site map for this complex site. Like most shipwreck sites we come across in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, the remains of the Churchill are scattered over hundreds of meters, inside coral reef crevices, and underneath layers of sand and rubble. The wooden timbers of the hull are long gone, but what remains gives us a glimpse into the rich maritime history of these atolls. Rigging implements, three anchors, windlasses and a capstan help us understand the types of ships that traveled through this remote part of the Hawaiian Islands archipelago.

Divers work in teams taking measurements to position artifacts in their sections.

Divers work in teams taking measurements to position artifacts in their sections.

On our third day of diving operations, we set out to collect our final measurements and the data we would need to begin creating a site plan of this shipwreck site. Deirdre and Hans began the day with a dive to expand the boundaries of the site and search for any artifacts that we may not have found in previous dives. Often, shipwrecks in these atolls leave a trail of scattered artifacts from the spot where they first made contact with the reef to their final resting place on the sea floor. Tane, Cathy, and I resumed mapping the areas of the shipwreck we’ve been working on for the last couple of days. After three dives, the team successfully collected measurements and photographs that will help us create a site map during our transit days to our next destination, Pearl and Hermes Atoll. Looking at this site for the first time last year, I never could have imagined we would accomplish so much in just three days. We have been blessed with beautiful, calm weather, and a really talented team of maritime archaeologists, who accomplished a great deal in a short time. As we transit to our next survey sites, the team will put all of the information together and work out a site plan. Our team finished the day counting stars on the bow of the Hi’ialakai and planning the days ahead.

To ask us questions, you can email the team at: sanctuaries@noaa.gov and we will answer your questions within the blog, or in a live internet broadcast later in the cruise. Again, stay tuned for details.

 

leaving site indicates a link leaves the site. Please view our Link Disclaimer for more information.
Revised August 14, 2008 by Sanctuaries Web Team | Contact Us | Web Site Owner: National Ocean Service
National Ocean Service | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | Privacy Policy | For Employees | User Survey
http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/missions/2008pmnm/blog_080408.html