Shores: The Battle of
the Atlantic Expedition
|n early 1942, America was under
siege as U-boats struck Germany's first
blows against America in World War
II. They waged a bloody war in the
seas off Cape Hatteras, N.C., attacking
285 vessels while losing only seven
U-boats. The United States prevailed,
however, and drove the Germans away.
Unlike a battlefield on land, the warriors of 1942 still lie where they fell. It
is as significant a battlefield to honor,
study and preserve as Gettysburg, or
Led by staff from Monitor National Marine Sanctuary with support from federal, state and academic partners, a team
of experts in marine archaeology and
technical diving successfully surveyed
the wrecks of 10 World War II merchant vessels during the 2010 season of
the Battle of the Atlantic project. These
wrecks are important, not just to the
families of their lost crew and the survivors who served on those vessels, but
also to the thriving recreational diving
community that is working with NOAA
to ensure this sunken battlefield is documented and protected for future generations as a place to visit and to learn.
Sanctuary Staff Help Map world-Famous Titanic Wreck
The Titanic is the most famous shipwreck of the 20th century. In 1986, Congress tasked
NOAA with working with public and private partners to help manage and protect the wreck.
Last year, the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries joined the Woods Hole Oceanographic
Institution, the Waitt Institute for Discovery, the National Park Service, the Institute of Nautical
Archaeology and RMS Titanic, Inc. to use revolutionary acoustic imaging, sonar technologies and high-resolution optical imaging to map 25 nautical miles of seabed with pinpoint
accuracy and create detailed three-dimensional maps and footage of the Titanic's bow and
stern. The new director of the national marine sanctuaries' Maritime Heritage Program, Dr.
James Delgado, served as principal investigator on the mission, and was joined by Monitor
National Marine Sanctuary Superintendent David Alberg. Discussions about the future of the
Titanic as a possible marine protected area and memorial are ongoing.
Whaling Shipwreck Two Brothers Identified at Papahānaumokuākea
A collaborative team conducted 25 days of surveys on five islands and atolls during the
Explorations 2010 research cruise to Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.
Focusing their efforts on documenting a previously unidentified whaling shipwreck site
discovered at French Frigate Shoals in 2008, archaeologists identified the wreck as the
Two Brothers, a whaler lost in 1823 under the command of Captain George Pollard. The
shipwreck was Pollard's second; his first was the ship Essex, rammed by a whale and
sunk in the South Pacific in 1820. The story of the loss of the Essex and its survivors
inspired Herman Melville to write "Moby-Dick". The 2010 expedition also included exploration, surveys of numerous maritime archaeological sites, and biogeographical assessment of several shipwreck and sunken aircraft sites in the monument.
Exploring Maritime Landscapes of the Great Lakes at
Innovative, cost-effective technologies have paved the way for sanctuary staff to locate
and learn more about significant shipwrecks at Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
With a grant from NOAA's Office of Exploration and Research, the sanctuary deployed cutting-edge shipwreck-finding technology to Lake Huron's "Shipwreck Alley." A 448-square-
mile area with 50 known historic shipwrecks is protected by the Thunder Bay sanctuary,
but there are more shipwrecks to be discovered beyond the sanctuary boundaries. From
Aug. 16 to 27, a team from the sanctuary and the Applied Research Laboratories at the
University of Texas at Austin set out to discover new shipwrecks and prehistoric archaeological sites using an autonomous underwater vehicle. Visitors who travel to Alpena, Mich.,
to dive on the wrecks of the sanctuary and learn about them in its visitor center have
bolstered the local economy, sparking considerable local and regional interest in expanding the sanctuary to include more shipwrecks.
Annual Research Cruise Targets Seven Historic Shipwrecks
Over a two-day period in August 2010, a Stellwagen Bank sanctuary research team
visited seven historic shipwrecks, ranging from fishing boats to wooden-hulled sailing
vessels with cargoes of coal or stone, and gathered high-definition still and video imagery
with the Kraken 2 remotely operated vehicle. Sanctuary archaeologists joined staff from
the Northeast Undersea Research Technology and Education Center (NURTEC) at the
University of Connecticut to characterize newly located archaeological sites. Several
shipwrecks without obvious cargo remains may be the oldest vessels yet located in the
sanctuary. Preliminary research on these vessels indicates that the artifacts and vessel
construction features date to the early 19th century. This was the sixth Stellwagen Bank
sanctuary maritime heritage cruise with NURTEC since 2002. The partnership has successfully investigated 28 shipwreck sites. Archaeologists used data from these cruises to
successfully nominate five archaeological sites to the National Register of Historic Places.