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2008 Papahanaumokuakea Maritime Heritage Expedition
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Mission info 2007 Nancy Foster Cruise
 

Mission Blog: August 8, 2008
Documenting the Hermes, Day 2

By Cathy Green, Education and Outreach Coordinator
Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Kelly documents one of the two large anchors on the Hermes site.

Kelly documents one of the two large anchors on the Hermes site.

As Tane so colorfully described in yesterday’s entry, the Hermes site is a challenging environment in which to work.  Yes, we do have regular visits from the local residents: sharks, ulua, and a giant lobster living in the wreck’s one intact trypot.  And yes, we are fighting a fairly powerful surge from the sea swells that barrel toward the reef, where they break just a few meters behind us.  The team, however, remains undeterred and prepares for a full day of diving – 3 tanks – to gather enough information on this early nineteenth-century whaling ship to form the basis for an accurate site map.

his blubber hook is one of the diognosic artifacts on this whaling site.

his blubber hook is one of the diognosic artifacts on this whaling site.

Tane, Kelly, and Dee work together to document the eastern half of the site, whose artifacts include two large anchors, a blubber hook, and an array of copper fasteners. Hans, Jason, and Cathy tackle the western half of the wreck, including 4 heavily concreted cannon, a trypot, and huge piles of pig-iron ballast.  The scattered nature of the site does not lend itself well to setting up a traditional baseline. Instead, we trilaterate the artifacts to one another, making a web, which helps pinpoint their placment on the map back in the lab. After a full day, we retire to the Hi’ialakai for showers, dinner, and an evening of transferring the data from our slates to the site plan.  All goes well, and the team is ready for the next site…the cause of the Hermes’s demise, the wreck of the whaleship Pearl.

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.

 

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