Various Articles on the Maritime Subject
Two divers are missing and presumed dead after they were reported to be trapped on a wreck off the coast of Cornwall. HM Coastguard confirmed that the rescue phase of their search is over and it has now become a recovery operation.
The two divers were exploring HMS Scylla, a popular diving destination near Whitsand Bay, when their dive boat reported to HM Coastguard that they had become trapped.
A third diver managed to get to the surface and is being treated for decompression at DDRC in Plymouth.
The coastguard launched a coordinated search with a helicopter from Newquay as well as both Plymouth RNLI lifeboats and Looe's RNLI lifeboat. Devon and Cornwall Police are also involved.
The coastguard said the search continued until the early hours of the morning but the divers were not found.
By Ellen Gustoskey - Mental Floss
By the time divers recovered 168 bottles of champagne from a trade schooner shipwreck near Finland, the bubbly beverage had had plenty of time to mature—about 170 years, to be precise.
But while the Baltic Sea had kept it in technically drinkable condition, the champagne didn’t age all that gracefully. Tasters compared its flavor to “animal odor” and “wet hair” (though it did mellow out once it had a chance to air out).
On this episode of The List Show, Mental Floss editor-in-chief Erin McCarthy is diving deep to unearth all the most fascinating stories behind objects that went down with their ships.
The champagne isn’t the most questionable shipwreck item that adventurous tasters have sampled—that distinction probably goes to cheese salvaged from a 17th-century vessel.
By Ben Cousins - CTV News
For Isabelle Ramsay-Brackstone, the Mary Celestia is among the most prized scents at her perfume boutique -- not just because of the scent itself, but also the story behind it.
Ramsay-Brackstone was born and raised in Montreal, but since 2004 she’s been the owner and perfumer at Lili Bermuda, which has two locations in the island country. Ramsay-Brackstone is also the honourary consul of Canada in Bermuda.
Among her most asked-about scents is the Mary Celestia, a modern recreation from a 150-year-old perfume that was found in a sunken ship that bears the same name.
“It's really, really fascinating and the fragrance to me is beautiful,” she told CTVNews.ca in a recent phone interview.
“It's a very simple fragrance. You think of back in 1864, we didn't have a fraction of the materials we have now to make perfume. So it's a very simple, easy, very, very simple composition.”
The ship operated as a blockade runner for Confederate soldiers during the U.S. Civil War. Before its sinking in 1864, the vessel was used to transport banned goods in and out of Confederate ports.
The vessel ultimately sunk after it struck a blind boiler while transporting food, guns and ammunition to Wilmington, S.C., according to the Bermuda 100 Challenge, which works to digitally document Bermuda’s sea floor. There remains speculation that the ship was sabotaged, but it has not been proven.
From The Maritime Executive
Royal Navy bomb disposal experts have destroyed a one-tonne German WWII-era bomb found within the wreck of a 17th century warship near Southend Pier in Essex, England.
Civilian divers with Historic England discovered the device during an archeological dive on the 350-year-old protected shipwreck of the London, which lies in two parts near the pier.
An eight-man team of Royal Navy divers from Portsmouth were dispatched to the area, where they towed the device out of the estuary to safely destroy it at sea in a complex six-day operation. It took 27 hours on the water, equating to 216 man hours, with 20 dives accumulating 375 minutes underwater. Visibility below the surface was zero, and tidal currents during working periods were up to one knot. The Thames Estuary can flow at up to three knots at this time, limiting the available work periods.
"Dealing with one of the largest pieces of German Second World War ordnance in the Thames Estuary presents some of the most challenging diving conditions there are to work in," said Lieutenant Ben Brown, Officer in Charge of Southern Diving Unit Two. "With nil visibility underwater and significant tidal flow, the diving windows are extremely limited and all work on the ordnance must be done by touch."
"The deteriorating weather conditions of this week also added another layer of complexity, and all whilst working next to one of the busiest shipping channels in the UK. However, these conditions are exactly what Royal Navy Clearance Divers are trained to work under and my team did an excellent job of keeping the public - and other mariners - safe," he said.
The WWII German parachute ground mine contained a main charge of 697kg of Hexamite, equivalent to 767kg of TNT, and weighed 987kg in total. Known as a GC, it was one of the largest pieces of ordnance used by the Luftwaffe during the Second World War.
From Space Coast Daily
Robert F. Marx of Indialantic, Florida, passed away peacefully at the age of 82 on the Fourth of July 2019 surrounded by his devoted wife and daughters.
Bob was born on December 8, 1936, in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. Leaving home at an early age, he embarked on a life of adventure that took him around the world and under the sea.
A pioneer SCUBA diver, Bob was internationally known for his achievements in marine archaeology and maritime history.
Besides being a mentor to many and a famous raconteur, Bob is best known for the archaeological excavation of the sunken city of Port Royal for the government of Jamaica as well as the discovery of the 1656 Spanish galleon Nuestra Señora de las Maravillas shipwrecked off Grand Bahama Island.
His expedition was featured in a network television documentary Treasure Galleon narrated by Rod Serling.
A proud United States Marine, Bob was a Staff Sargent and the Director of the USMC Diving School, Vieques, Puerto Rico in the 1950s and a Korean War combat veteran.
By Catherine Graue on Pacific Beat - ABC.net
There are new warnings that thousands of World War II shipwrecks in the Pacific, still containing millions of litres of oil, pose a potential environmental disaster. Those involved in a new remediation program say they're in a race against time.
It's estimated more than 3000 ships sank during the war in waters across Asia and the Pacific. Studies have shown that they're coming to the end of their life spans, with their metal walls now corroding.
Paul Adams and his team at the Major Projects Foundation have spent the past year assessing the wrecks and have narrowed the number down to 55 they say need urgent attention — in waters off countries like Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Palau.
The foundation's director, Paul Adams, last year bought an old New Zealand warship with his wife Wilma, and they have made it their mission to prevent a major oil spill.
He says the cost of not doing anything will be huge.
"Some of these tankers out there, we're talking about millions of litres. The clean-up cost will be enormous. It might be $4 or $5 million now to take the oil out, it'll be $50, $60, $70 [million] if we don't," he told Pacific Beat.
"Not to mention the environmental damage, which is irreparable. It's something that needs to be done urgently, and we are running out of time, there's no question about that".
They're now partnering with the University of Newcastle and the Pacific's leading environmental group, SPREP, to bring scientists, engineers and historians together for a remediation program.Fijian Awei Bainivalu is a PhD student at the university and on the team, piloting a process known as bio-remediation that could be one of the technologies used to remove the oil.
About eight years ago, many bottles of what was purported to be the world’s oldest champagne were discovered in a shipwreck among the islands of Åland, the semi-autonomous maritime province off Finland's south-west coast.
There were hopes the champage, bottled around two centuries ago by famed champagne house Veuve Clicquot, could be auctioned off or mixed with a newer vintage.
However, an analysis of the shipwreck bubbly by the French vintner that made it found the beverage to be undrinkable, according to public broadcaster Åland Radio.
Åland's culture minister Tony Asumaa visited France last week, to hear about the champagne firm's analysis. A sample bottle of the shipwreck bubbly was sent to Veuve Clicquot last year.
At the time, the champagne treasure discovery made headlines around the world. It also caused local controversy when Finland's deputy chancellor of justice reprimanded the Åland regional government for recovering the shipwreck cargo before receiving permission from the National Board of Antiquities.
In 2011 and 2012 Åland's government had sold off some of the bottles for record prices at auction and pocketed the considerable proceeds.
The Netherlands and Indonesia are to set up a joint team to protect Second World War shipwrecks being plundered on the sea bed.
Foreign affairs minister Stef Blok said he had agreed with his Indonesian counterpart to set up a team to locate and protect vulnerable wrecks by the end of the year. It follows the discovery last year that three Dutch wrecks had disappeared from the bottom of the Java Sea, having apparently been taken by scrap dealers.
At least 110 Dutch ships that were sunk during the Pacific Ocean campaign are currently lying in Indonesian waters.
On a visit to Jakarta, Blok said the Indonesian government was aware of the cultural significance of the shipwreck sites to the Netherlands.
The locations of the three missing vessels – the SNLMS De Ruyter, Java and Kortenaer – will be marked as commemorative sites. The ships were sunk by the Japanese fleet in 1942, with the loss of around 1,100 sailors.
By Ceimin Burke - The Journal.ie
A host of historically significant vessels are among the thousands of shipwrecks that can be found on a new interactive map that was launched this week.
The ‘Wreck Viewer’ features exact locations for around 4,000 recorded wrecks, while information on an additional 14,000, whose location has not been fully confirmed, is also available to download.
The oldest wrecks on the map are logboats found in inland lakes and rivers, many of which date back into prehistory.
A recently recorded logboat from Lough Corrib has been dated to 1100 BC. Six Spanish Armada wrecks from the attempted invasion of England in 1588 were successfully identified and plotted.
They are La Trinidad Valencera (Kinnagoe Bay, Donegal), La Juliana, Lavia and Santa María de Visón (Streedagh, Co Sligo), Santa Maria de La Rosa (Blasket sound, Co Kerry) and the Girona (Antrim). You can scout around and try to find the ships of your own accord or even use the handy search function to locate a particular wreck you are looking for.
A spokesperson for the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht said the map has generated a lot of interest since it was launched on Wednesday.
“Because of the international dimension to many of the vessels wrecked in Irish waters there has also been a strong interest from abroad,” the spokesperson said.
By Aditya Sudarshan - The Hindu
With many thousand kilometres of coastline, an ocean named after it, and maritime activity dating back to the Harappan era, there’s no question that a lot of India’s history lies underwater.
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has had its eye on underwater explorations since the mid-1970s, with an Underwater Archaeology Wing (UAW) officially in existence since 2001.
But the significant findings, such as the discovery of man-made structures off the coast of Dwarka, have tended to originate from autonomous bodies like the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), where a handful of explorers have always borne a disproportionate workload.
In 1990, S.R. Rao, named the father of marine archaeology in India, who supervised the Dwarka dives, observed that ‘five diving archaeologists is too small a number for a country of the size of India.’
Almost 30 years later, even after the UAW sensibly shifted operations from land-locked Delhi to Goa about a year ago, that number is down to a paltry three.
By Shireen Khalil - News.com.au
Ever since a treasure trove of 170-year-old Champagne was salvaged by divers from a shipwreck at the bottom of the Baltic Sea in 2010, change has been afoot in the world of wine.
A handful of winemakers from around the world have forgone land-ageing techniques and started experimenting with underwater wine ageing. Among the 168 bottles of French bubbly that had aged in near perfect conditions, was Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin, a well-known brand founded in 1772 that still exists today.
One of the four Veuves that were found sold for about $AU21,500. Experts discovered that the historic “Baltic wine” version contained lower alcohol content and higher sugar levels compared to the modern Veuve Clicquot.
Consistent temperature levels, salinity, and low light and oxygen contributed to the results.
Greek winemaker Iannis Paraskevopoulos decided to give it a go, submerging his 2009 Thalassitis dry white the same year the historic bubbly was discovered.
About four years later he dived 18 metres into the beautiful waters of the Aegean Sea near Santorini to rescue his 450 bottles. Sadly, only three survived. Despite the losses, it passed the tasting test, sparking the obvious question — did it taste salty ?
He instantly noted a distinct and disgusting aroma of old fishing nets. Fortunately, it was just the smell of the bottles. The one bottle he opened tasted awesome.
It didn’t take long for Australian winemaker Ben Portet to adopt the unique technique leading him to be the first and only in the country to release an underwater wine range.
Except he did it differently; rather than resorting to the whims of ocean and ageing individual bottles, he submerged entire barrels of wine in freshwater (via a rain water tank) held down by weights at his family-owned Yarra Valley winery, Dominique Portet.
From Janet Begley - USA Today
A Salvation Army bell ringer received a coin with ties to a fleet of Spanish galleons sunk in 1715 off the coast of Vero Beach.
Longtime volunteer Jim Bessy received the gold Spanish escudo worth several thousand dollars from a donor who wished to remain anonymous. He said the donor handed him the coin for safekeeping Thursday so it wouldn’t get mixed up with the other coins in the kettle.
Bessy then turned over the coin Friday to Salvation Army Lt. Jay Needham in Vero Beach. When Needham, in his first year as Salvation Army corps officer in Indian River County, began researching the coin on the Internet, he said he was amazed to learn of its history.
The coin is in a plastic case, marked with the words “1715 Fleet 1 Escudo.” “This is certainly a big welcome for me,” Needham said. “My first Christmas here comes with treasure from a 300-year-old ship. It brings a 300-year-old story about treasure together with a 2,000-year-old story about the birth of our Savior at Christmas.”
In 2015, more than 200 coins were retrieved along the Treasure Coast and valued at more than $1 million. A contractor working for 1715 Fleet-Queens Jewels LLC, a historic shipwreck salvage company based here, recovered the coins that were part of the fleet that sunk in a hurricane off the coast July 31, 1715.
The shipwrecks are what give the area of Indian River, St. Lucie and Martin counties its Treasure Coast nickname.
By Evan Lubofsky - Hakai Magazine
There’s a three-way war being waged over the ancient shipwrecks that dot the ocean floor. On one side, marine archaeologists are rushing to study and preserve these historical sites.
On another, treasure hunters and salvagers are staking their claims. Meanwhile, both groups are racing against the clock. “We’re seeing severe damage to wreck sites,” says marine archaeologist Mike Brennan. “It’s ongoing, and every day that we wait for protection of these sites, trawlers are scraping them apart.”
Fishing fleets are the unwitting third power in this dispute. Archaeologists and treasure hunters have different motives, but fishing trawlers are wreaking havoc, their weighted nets pulling at wrecks and disrupting these sunken treasures.
In preserving maritime history, says Brennan, time is of the essence. Brennan has seen the devastation trawlers can cause firsthand. During a recent study, he and his colleagues made two surveys of a wreck site off the coast of Turkey.
In the 11 months between cruises to visit the Ereğli E, a trading vessel that carried wine, olive oil, and other goods across the Mediterranean, a delivery truck’s worth of artifacts from the fourth century BCE—including ceramic jars and human bones—had been dragged away or dismantled by fishing gear.
In reality, Brennan had anticipated the damage. His study had been designed, in part, to document the damage trawlers can cause, and fuel the case for establishing marine protected areas around ancient wreck sites.
Brennan, like many marine archaeologists, is of the mind that humanity’s sunken past should stay beneath the waves and off the auction block.
And, he says fishing bans around wrecks will thwart excavation by treasure hunters, who often use the threat of trawl damage as an excuse to haul up and sell artifacts. Sean Kingsley, director of Wreck Watch International, takes issue with the excuse theory, saying it is disingenuous to suggest that the threat of damage through fishing is used to justify commercial exploitation.
But he also doesn’t see the viability in trying to preserve all wrecks on the ocean floor.
“Who will pay to enforce the continuous monitoring of endangered sites is hard to imagine,” he says. “And ring-fencing a wreck would need to be a permanent measure, financially and administratively.”
From WA Today - Ray Sparvell
Two wrecks discovered over six months during the search for Malaysia flight MH370 are ghostly reminders of the shipping dangers posed by the Indian Ocean.
While those long-fogotten vessels were found quite some way from land, some estimates suggest as many as 1600 vessels – large and small - may have found their final, watery resting places along the WA coast.
Up to 1300 of these, laden with treasure of both the literal and historical variety, lie undiscovered on the ocean floor, in a similar vein to those found in the MH370 search.
Maritime archaeologist Ross Anderson of the WA Museum said the key reasons why it has been such a notorious graveyard for ships was primarily storms, cyclones and shallow reefs along the coast.
"Some vessels were also purposely sunk or abandoned after they had passed their 'use by' date and were no longer seaworthy," he said.
Another key contributor to that extensive catalogue of wrecks was that navigational longitude couldn't be accurately measured until the mid-18th century. Many ships simply failed to turn north for the Dutch East Indies at the right time.
As a result they were wrecked on the WA coast. Mr Anderson said coastal trade vessels carrying passengers, cargo and mail had been important in linking WA settlements before road transport.
By Alison Campsie - Scotsman
Scotland’s often treacherous coastline is littered with 1,800 known wrecks stretching from the Shetland Islands to the Solway Firth.
The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS) has charted and mapped nearly 18,000 maritime losses in Scottish from the 17th century to the present day.
Now, maritime explorers such as Patrick Crawford, 32, of Utility ROV Services in Glenrothes, Fife, say telecommunications industry technology is being used for shipwreck exploration to great effect. Devices such as fibre optic ropes, acoustic cameras and underwater robots that can travel thousands of miles are transforming deep sea finds.
Patrick has worked on several deep sea wrecks with his parents – veteran shipwreck salvagers Moya and Alexander Crawford. They include passenger liner the SS Persia, which was torpedoed in the First World War and searched by the family near Crete in 2004. A haul of rubies, diamonds and Veuve Clicquot Champagne was made.
Patrick said: “Things have changed massively over the years and the amount of information that can be retrieved by the subsea guys is now phenomenal. “A lot of the kit is now being taken from the telecoms industry, such as fibreoptics which are allowing us to get to depths which we could never have achieved be before.”
Patrick has been able to gather information from as deep as 3,300m, using visual and acoustic cameras operated remotely from ships positioned above the potential salvage site.
He said: “When you get down to a certain level you get the dust kicking up from the sea bed and the visibility goes and you can’t see anything. “You would have to wait till that clears, but now with the acoustic cameras you can keep going.
They see the same way that a bat sees. It allows us to work in zero visibility. There are obviously air diving limits which mean you can only go so far.”
By Peter B. Campbell - Gulf News
Archaeology has long been exploited as a political tool. Hitler used artefacts and symbols to manufacture a narrative of Aryan racial superiority.
Daesh (the self-proclaimed Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) proves its zealotry by destroying evidence of ancient history. Underwater archaeology — the world of shipwrecks and sunken cities — has mostly avoided these kinds of machinations, though. Since no one lives beneath the sea, leaders haven’t found many opportunities for political gains from archaeological sites there. That is, until now.
In the past few years, politicians in Canada, Russia and China have realised that they can use shipwrecks on the sea floor to project their sovereignty into new maritime territories. And this politicised abuse of science is putting the world on a path toward conflict.
For decades, global powers have been engaged in a race to exploit lucrative marine resources, from oil to fisheries to control of strategic waterways. But they have faced a challenge: How can a country claim new territory despite the restrictions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea ?
It turns out that “historical ties” to resource-rich regions can conveniently help to contravene international law. Last year, Canada announced the discovery of H.M.S. Erebus, Sir John Franklin’s flagship, which disappeared during a Northwest Passage expedition in 1845.
Stephen Harper, then the prime minister, personally announced the discovery. His government and its allies provided significant funding for the research. But Harper isn’t just a history buff; his interests are practical.
Global warming has made the Northwest Passage more accessible to shipping, which could be an economic windfall for Canada if the government is able to demonstrate sovereignty and charge other countries a transit fee.
“Franklin’s ships are an important part of Canadian history given that his expeditions, which took place nearly 200 years ago, laid the foundations of Canada’s Arctic sovereignty,” Harper said.
By Stephanie Webber - US Weekly
Buckle up…and never let go! A ride inspired by the famous 1912 Titanic shipwreck is set to launch at an amusement park in 2018.
Variety reports that Twentieth Century Fox is building the structure for a Dubai resort, and the studio is also developing attractions based on TV shows and films such as Sons of Anarchy, Planet of the Apes, and Aliens.
It will reportedly cost $850 million.
"This will build a tremendous amount of fan engagement with these brands," Jeffrey Godsick, president of Fox Consumer Products, said in a statement. "There are strong merchandising opportunities and it will allow us to connect with our audiences on an ongoing basis."
Some are already putting in their two cents. Critics specifically took to Twitter to talk about the new Titanic ride, and are still scratching their heads.
"How the hell will they make a 'Titanic' theme park ? What will be the rides ? A fluke ride of sliding down the tipped boat?" one commenter tweeted on Thursday, Nov. 5. A second added: "They do know lots of people died on the Titanic, don't they ?"
By Lauren Biron - Symmetry
Scientists on an experiment in Italy are looking for a process so rare, it is thought to occur less than once every trillion, trillion years.
To find it, they will create the single coldest cubic meter in the universe.
The experiment, the Cryogenic Underground Observatory for Rare Events, will begin by the end of the year, scientists recently announced after a smaller version demonstrated the feasibility of the design.
The project, based at Gran Sasso National Laboratory, will examine a property of ghostly neutrinos by looking for a process called neutrinoless double beta decay. If scientists find it, it could be a clue as to why there is more matter than antimatter in the universe–and show that neutrinos get their mass in a way that’s different from all other particles.
The full CUORE experiment requires 19 towers of tellurium dioxide crystals, each made of 52 blocks just smaller than a Rubik’s cube. Physicists will place these towers into a refrigerator called a cryostat and cool it to 10 millikelvin, barely above absolute zero.
The cryostat will eclipse even the chill of empty space, which registers a toasty 2.7 Kelvin (minus 455 degrees Fahrenheit).
CUORE uses the cold crystals to search for a small change in temperature caused by these rare nuclear decays. Unlike ordinary beta decays, in which electrons and antineutrinos share energy, the neutrinoless double beta decay produces two electrons, but no neutrinos at all.
It is as if the two antineutrinos that should have been produced annihilate one another inside the nucleus.
“This would be really cool because it would mean that the neutrino and the antineutrino are the same particle, and most of the time we just can’t tell the difference,” says Lindley Winslow, a professor at MIT and one of over 160 scientists working on CUORE.
Neutrinos could be the only fundamental particles of matter to have this strange property.
A video was just posted on YouTube allegedly shot offshore Fiji showing fishermen clinging on to wreckage from what appears to be their boat while attempting to hide from the crew of another fishing vessel that was shooting at them with rifles.
Update: It seems this incident likely did not happen off Fiji, but was rather the result of a failed piracy attempt off Somalia against Taiwanese fishing boats.
Needless to say, the men who were in the water were all killed in cold blood while their killers shot video and celebrated.
The video has been turned over to the Fiji Police for an investigation to find out exactly when and where the video was filmed.
Considering how graphic and utterly disturbing the video is, we’re not going to post it to gCaptain, but if you can watch it HERE
By Natario McKenzie - Tribune 242
A senior government official yesterday seemingly ‘wrecked’ salvagers’ hopes for speedy licence approvals, revealing that a moratorium remained in effect and suggesting their motives did not necessarily align with the Bahamas’ national interests.
Dr Keith Tinker, the Antiquities, Monuments and Museum Corporation’s (AMMC) director, told Tribune Business that a moratorium on wreck searches and salvage leases in the Bahamas remains in effect for now, as the necessary protocols to prevent “the rape” of historic sites still need to be put in place.
While a growing list of frustrated wreck salvagers have in recent times questioned why the Government has dragged its feet in acting on their license applications, Dr Tinker said: “The moratorium is still in effect. As far as we have been advised, it has not been lifted.
I know that the process of consideration by the Bahamas government is ongoing as to if they are going to lift it, and when they are going to lift it. That’s as much information as we are aware of. That’s the sum total of it.”
Dr Tinker’s comments, though, are at odds with the position taken in today’s Tribune Business (see Page 2B) by one of the 18 salvagers with an outstanding licence application before the Government.
Apart from stating that the moratorium had been lifted, the salvager said he had been waiting since April 2012 for his licence approval, which was supposed to come within 90 days.
“The salvage business is a very expensive undertaking, requiring large financial assets, boats, equipment and manpower, and none of these can just sit around for indefinite periods of time,” the salvager wrote.
By Owen Bennett - Express
The nephew of senior Nazi SS officer Ernst Kaltenbrunner has come forward with information about a hoard of Nazi treasure buried in Lake Toplitz, confirming suspicions held by investigators for decades.
Michl Kaltenbrunner, 79, has never spoken before about what he knew but was inspired to talk to an Austrian investigative reporter after watching a feature she had done on the true story of the Monuments Men.
It has long been the subject of rumours about hidden Nazi gold, which is said to have been buried in the lake as the war came to an end.
"I can guarantee there is a lot of gold and vast treasures inside," Mr Kaltenbrunner said in the interview due to be broadcast this evening.
Reports of a convoy of SS vehicles taking large chests to the lake in early May 1945 began to emerge soon after Germany surrendered.
In 1959, a diving team salvaged several of the chests and discovered forged British banknotes with a face value of seven hundred million pounds.
The notes had been produced at the concentration camp at Sachsenhausen, near Berlin, and were part of a plan devised by Hitler - Operation Bernhard - to destroy the British economy.
Mr Kaltenbrunner also said he thinks these treasures are located where the counterfeit money and printing plates were found at the bottom of the lake over a decade ago.
A medal found by chance in 2001 by a Dutch tourist diver in a second lake in the region - Lake Altausee - that once belonged to Ernst Kaltenbrunner was believed to have been dropped by the SS boss into the water as he moved through the area trying to evade capture.
By Dalya Alberge - The Guardian
Britain's rich maritime legacy is under threat from commercial treasure hunters who are accused by experts of plundering and destroying the nation's underwater heritage.
A group of leading archaeologists and historians warn that unless the government intervenes to protect scores of historically significant wrecks lying beyond the country's territorial waters, sites including the graves of those lost at sea could be exploited and lost for good.
On Monday the group, which includes leading scholars from Oxford University and the British Museum, will call on the Foreign Office, the Ministry of Defence and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to sign up to a United Nations treaty on protecting underwater remains.
"We've got a wonderful reputation for dealing with cultural heritage on land, and so far we've got a pretty abysmal reputation for dealing with it at sea," Barry Cunliffe, emeritus professor of European archaeology at Oxford, told the Observer.
The archaeologists want Britain to join 45 other nations in ratifying the 2001 Unesco convention on the protection of the underwater cultural heritage, a legal framework for protecting such sites.
In a briefing document to be presented to William Hague, the foreign secretary, they warn that unless it signs up to the treaty, Britain will be largely incapable of protecting wrecks lying beyond its waters.
The report argues that a number of threats including natural erosion, damage from fishing vessels and illegal looting mean that "simply being hidden in deep water no longer offers protection".
It warns that British law has no deterrent to people from taking objects from the seabed.
Britain's maritime influence once spanned the globe, and sunken ships are the last resting place of many of its seafarers. The Royal Navy alone lost at least 2,227 vessels between 1605 and 1918; some 1,373 in foreign waters.
These include HMS Aboukir, HMS Cressy and HMS Hogue, armoured cruisers which in September 1914 were patrolling off the Dutch coast when they were torpedoed by a U-boat, killing 1,459 men.
Cunliffe voiced alarm that wrecks are disturbed and damaged in the hunt for cannon and potentially lucrative cargoes: "They are disturbing them in a way that no respectable archaeologist would do."
He adds that many shipwrecks are at great depths, and the techniques are "rather crude and can be very destructive".
From Fox News
Oil companies and environmental groups may spar over off-shore drilling, but there's one thing they can agree on: Leaving scuttled rigs on the ocean floor creates a rich environment for coral, endangered species and other marine life.
The Gulf of Mexico – home to approximately 3,600 offshore oil and gas platforms – is set to lose a third of those structures in the next five years, which many claim will destroy almost 2,000 acres of coral reef habitat and the seven billion invertebrates that thrive on or near the platforms.
Such organisms include federally protected species, like scleractinian corals, octocorals, hydrozoans and gorgonians.
Despite an unlikely consensus that the decommissioned rigs create prolific ecosystems, a law enacted more than 30 years ago requires that many of these platforms be ripped from the ocean floor – in turn destroying a habitat used by countless organisms for feeding, spawning, mating and maturation.
Pressure to remove the old rigs comes on two fronts. A 1970s federal law, enacted before the benefits of leaving them on the ocean floor were understood, called for companies to remove them.
Though still in effect, subsequent state rulings that cited the boon to marine life that the rigs can provide conflicted with it. The older law was not strictly enforced until the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, which left hundreds of rigs damaged and unusable.
Even then, it appears to be in conflict with state laws, federal programs and even scientific consensus.
Oil companies also find it in their interest to remove some of the rigs – despite the estimated cost of $3 million – because they can be held liable in perpetuity for navigational hazards caused by the sunken wreckage.
By Valerie Hill - The Record
Suffering through a slow recovery from hip replacement surgery, 86-year old Jack Youngblut is confined to an easy chair where he wiles away his time reflecting on a remarkable life.
"I started diving in 1958, and once you start diving, you always want to do something better," said Youngblut, an award-winning underwater photographer and one of the founding members of the now defunct Trident Diving Club in Kitchener.
What makes Youngblut's story compelling is that he started diving just four years after the first scuba certification course was offered in California. In 1956 renowned underwater explorer Jacques-Yves Cousteau shot the documentaryThe Silent World.
The film was one of the first to use underwater colour cinematography and went on to win several prestigious awards — including an Oscar. Scuba, particularly underwater photography, was virgin territory.
Don Wilkes, retired manager of Fathom Five National Marine Park and the Bruce Peninsula National Park, has known Youngblut for years and calls him "one of the grandfathers of scuba diving in Ontario.
"He built his own split lens camera in 1960 when scuba diving was new." The lens allowed Youngblut to shoot photos above and below the water's surface simultaneously.
Youngblut was on the cutting edge of an activity that had, up to then, been confined to the military. Much changed after National Geographic magazine ran an article in 1953 about Cousteau's underwater archeology near Marseille.
The public suddenly started demanding diving gear. Around the same time the term SCUBA was coined, an acronym for "self-contained underwater breathing apparatus."
Youngblut recalls those days with nostalgia — the excitement of doing something few others attempted and the fun of building equipment that wasn't available, including a housing for his underwater camera and the camera itself. But his experiences weren't always fun.
"We dove for the police, like once when a child drowned in a gravel pit," he said, the image of that dive near Waterloo still vivid.
Despite a string of ‘unbelievable’ hurdles, a diving operation to lift the biggest-yet discovered fragment of the famous Russian meteorite stuck in a mud lakebed has entered the final phase.
RT is scheduled to show live the recovery of the 50cm by 90cm space rock weighing an estimated 600kg, which plunged into the depths of Lake Chebarkul in February.
It is one of a few salvageable chunks of a massive meteorite, which exploded over Russia’s Chelyabinsk Region, producing a blast wave that injured some 1,600 people on the ground before circling Earth three times.
The recovery operation started on September 10 and was expected to last for about a week, but the process was stalled due to several obstacles.
The amount of sediments that need to be removed to uncover the meteorite fragment has proven to be bigger than the initial optimistic estimates. It took the team 10 days of pumping mud away from the site to come close enough to touch the rock with a probe.
“It’s like the little green men don’t want us Earthlings to get the celestial body,” Maksim Shipulin, one of the divers, commented to Rossiyskaya Gazeta. “We thought we’d be able to get the big meteorite from the depth of 14 meters, but it’s being sucked in deeper, and we are now talking about 16 to 20 meters.”
The divers have to work in zero visibility conditions due to the muddied waters. It’s quite risky because even an experienced diver can lose orientation underwater without visual cues. There are other hazards as well.
“One of the guys was almost trapped under a chunk of dense mud. It’s good for him that he didn’t panic,” Shipulin said.
Meteorites in Russia
From LA Times
Baseball historians know him as a businessman who helped bring Major League ball back to Milwaukee, but Edmund B. Fitzgerald is better known for his family connection to one of America's most famous shipwrecks.
All 29 sailors on the freighter Edmund Fitzgerald drowned in Lake Superior on Nov. 10, 1975. The next year, they were memorialized in Gordon Lightfoot's haunting ballad,"The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald."
The reasons for the wreck are still uncertain, but its legacy followed Fitzgerald throughout his life.
In 1958, his mother, Elizabeth Fitzgerald, christened the massive iron ore freighter, whacking it three times before her champagne bottle broke.
The $8-million ship had been commissioned by Fitzgerald's father, an insurance magnate also named Edmund, whose board of directors honored him by putting his name on one of the largest ships ever to navigate the Great Lakes.
The younger Fitzgerald, sometimes called "young Ed" to distinguish him from his father, died Aug. 28 of natural causes at his home in Nashville, his family said. He was 87.
On the 30th anniversary of the wreck in 2005, he recalled meeting Lightfoot at a dinner hosted by the Canadian prime minister in the 1980s.
"I told him what my name was, and he looked rather surprised," Fitzgerald said of the Canadian singer-songwriter. Fitzgerald called Lightfoot's homage to the ship a "fine song."
A 54-year-old man had to be rescued Friday from the waters off Port Allen, Kauai after a battle with a 230 lb tuna ended with his boat capsizing, him in the water, and one amazing story to tell.
The US Coast Guard reports that Coast Guard Sector Honolulu received a distress call at 7:41 a.m. Friday from a woman saying that her husband’s 14-foot Livingston boat had capsized about 10 miles south of Port Allen.
The man, identified as Anthony Wichman of Koloa, Kauai, was apparently fishing in the area when he hooked a massive 230 lb Ahi tuna.
Things took a turn for the worse when the fierce battle with the fish capsized his boat, catching his leg in the fishing line in the process and dragged him underwater. Luckily, Wichman was able to free himself, climb on top of the capsized boat and call his wife for help.
The Coast Guard, after establishing communication with Wichman via cell phone, launched a 47-foot Motor Life Boat crew from Kauai and a MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew to the scene.
Once on scene, the Dolphin crew found Wichman sitting on the hull of his partially submerged vessel and airlifted him to safety.
Meanwhile, the MLB crew stayed on scene with the capsized boat until Jordon Ornellas and Abraham Apilado, two friends of Wichman, arrived on scene to help salvage his boat.
While trying to right the capsized vessel, Ornellas and Apilado realized that the Ahi was still hooked on the fishing line attached the vessel.
By Arminta Wallace - The Irish Times
In January 1835 a three-masted barque sailed from Cork harbour, bound for Australia, with 241 people on board.
Most were Irishwomen who had been convicted of various crimes and sentenced to transportation to the colony of New South Wales. Some were the wives of Irishmen who had already been banished. There were also more than 30 children, mostly babies and toddlers.
On May 13th the ship hit a reef north of King Island, off Tasmania, and sank with the loss of 224 lives.
A few survivors managed to get to King Island, but most of those died on its beaches from cold, exposure and shock.
It was the second-largest maritime disaster in Australian history and the greatest catastrophe in almost a century of convict transportation.
Yet the name of the Neva , and the story of its pitiful human cargo, is almost unknown in Ireland.
Now the Cork historian Cal McCarthy has teamed up with the Australian artist and designer Kevin Todd to tell that story in a new book.
The Wreck of the Neva does more than just reconstruct the drama of the shipwreck; it also gives a vivid sense of the lives of these women from all over Ireland, filling in many of the human details behind the stark historical facts.
For a modern reader, one of the most startling aspects is the harshness of the sentences that British courts imposed in Ireland for what we would consider to be minor misdemeanours.
One woman received seven years for the theft of a handkerchief; another got a life sentence for stealing sheep. But, as McCarthy says, by the standards of the day this could be seen as getting off lightly.
“Forty years earlier a lot of those crimes would have resulted in execution. So I suppose transportation would have been seen as a lighter sentence.”
By Jill Reilly - Mail Online
In 1985 a long period of heavy rains sent the lagoon bursting over its banks, and it swept over a busy small town Epecuen was submerged beneath 10 metres (30 feet) of water and 1,500 residents fled their homes.
Even when waters receded, the country town, 550 kilometres (340 miles) south of the capital, was never rebuilt.
It remained a hidden underwater world for nearly 25 years, but slowly the water around Argentina's 'town that drowned' has started to recede, exposing the ruins that nestle below.
Once a vibrant spa town south of Buenos Aires, Epecuen was flooded nearly three decades ago - the lagoon salt water has left its mark with everything slowly emerging from the flood covered in a silvery-white layer.
The town was flooded without warning after a long period of heavy rains finally sent the lagoon bursting over its banks, submerging the small community on 10 November, 1985.
The flood barely gave its 1,500 residents time to gather their belongings and flee - stark reminders of daily life remain from the car engines left in the streets to the rusty beds protruding from the water.
'I had a bunch of cats and dogs, and they ran away a couple days before the flood and I never saw them again,' Norma Berg, 48, told AFP.
She lived in the town until the flood forced her family to desert their home. 'I think my pets could feel that the water was coming,' explained Ms Berg.
Since 2009 the level of the water has been decreasing, exposing the ruins of this once popular lakeside resort.
The spa town had been a popular tourist designation with 20,000 people paying a visit each year to the lagoon. The town had 280 businesses, including lodges, guesthouses, hotels and businesses, centered around the tourist trade.
Lago Epecuen’s therapeutic powers have been famous for years and the lagoon has a salinity level only topped by the Dead Sea.
It is said that Epecuen — or ‘eternal spring’ — can cure conditions such as depression, rheumatism and skin diseases.
From the Economist
Two centuries underwater had dulled their sparkle, yet the first glimpse of silver coins drew excited cheers on board Odyssey Marine Exploration’s flagship.
The gold coins that came next really caught the Iberian sun—and the spirits.
The entire haul was worth around $500m; a record find for Greg Stemm, Odyssey’s boss. He dislikes the “treasure hunter” label, but sports a beard and cracks pirate jokes.
Like old buccaneers, he also tangles with the authorities. After five years of legal wrangling, America’s Supreme Court in 2012 upheld a ruling that, because the wreck was a Spanish warship, it enjoyed sovereign immunity.
Odyssey has already returned most of the trove, nearly 600,000 coins. A ruling by a Florida court this month could make it pay Spain’s legal costs—which run into millions of dollars.
A former chicken farmer called Mel Fisher took eight years to secure his rights to the wreck of the Nuestra Señora de Atocha, a 17th-century Spanish galleon. When he found it after more than a decade’s searching off the Florida coast, a hotbed for treasure hunters, the state claimed ownership of its cargo of silver coins and emerald jewellery.
Eventually the Supreme Court ruled that the site was in international waters, where finders’ rights prevail.
Such struggles with officialdom make a tough business even harder. Some 3m wrecks pepper the ocean floors, according to the UN (though few contain riches). Finding them involves lengthy research and lucky breaks.
Recovery can take months of work by specialist crews. Of 52 annual reports filed by publicly listed shipwreck-recovery firms since 1996, only five show a net profit.
In that time Odyssey, the biggest, has racked up losses of nearly $150m. The “treasure” consists of money extracted from “starry-eyed investors”, according to James Goold, a lawyer who represented Spain in the Odyssey case.
By Chad Oliver - NBC2
An NBC2 Investigation examined the fragile future of deep sea shipwrecks which some have called "ticking time bombs."
They are relics of the past but posing potential problems for the future.
One ship in particular sits 75 miles from Southwest Florida and is now on the dederal government's radar. It's an oil cargo ship named the Joseph M. Cudahy, which could cause a mess for the environment and for tourism.
Records show the Cudahy had nearly 80,000 barrels of oil on board when a German U-boat blasted it with a torpedo during World War II.
Even though the ship sank in 1942, divers say oil still leaks into the water.
In 2010, Congress allocated $1-million for the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to form a database of shipwrecks and assess their threat.
It's called "Remediation of Underwater Legacy Environmental Threats – referred to as "RULET."
We were was given advance results of the assessment ahead of the national report coming out later this month.
Out of 20,000 ship wrecks off the coast of the U.S., NOAA determined about one hundred pose a substantial pollution threat.
Fewer, only six, are considered high priority for a most-probable discharge of oil. One of those ships is the Cudahy.
It's a ship Michael Barnette, from the Association of Underwater Explorers, knows well.
"One of the easiest ways to find the wreck when you're in the vicinity, especially on a calm day - you'll see a slick on the water," said Barnette. "You actually smell it before you get there."
Barnette is a respected diver who has written three books on Florida shipwrecks. He is a marine biologist who spends his free-time exploring underwater.
"There are still plenty of wrecks to be found," added Barnette.
The St. Pete native has identified or helped identify more than 50 shipwrecks worldwide, including the Cudyhy six years ago.
He said what makes diving intriguing is "piecing together in your mind what happened."
From the Windsor Star
It’s the oldest shipwreck ever found in Canada and one of the most important in the world: a 16th-century Basque whaling galleon that lies at the bottom of Labrador’s Red Bay, a sunken relic from the Age of Discovery that symbolizes the early spread of European civilization — and commerce — to the New World.
Now, the 450-year-old San Juan, a jumble of thick beams and broken barrels lying in shallow waters off the site of a 1560s-era whaling station in the Strait of Belle Isle, is to be resurrected by a team of Spanish maritime heritage experts planning to construct a full-scale, seaworthy replica of the original 16-metre, three-masted vessel.
Parks Canada underwater archeologists, who discovered the 250-tonne San Juan in 1978 after following documented clues about a lost galleon traced by federal archivist Selma Barkham, will meet this week with Spanish officials to begin sharing decades of amassed research on the ship’s design and construction, Postmedia News has learned.
Then, to mark the Basque city of San Sebastian’s year as Europe’s “cultural capital” in 2016, Spain expects to christen its floating tribute to the whaling crews that — for several decades during the 16th century — transported millions of barrels of whale oil to Europe from the future Canada, a treasure every bit as valuable at the time as the gold taken by Spanish conquistadors from more southerly parts of the Americas.
“Right from the start, we thought this was a really, really great idea,” said Marc-André Bernier, Parks Canada’s chief of underwater archeology. “For archeologists, this is basically the ultimate final product.
You’re taking all of the research from a site that’s been excavated, then you take it to the maximum in experimental archeology,” physically recreating “what is lost.”
For Robert Grenier, Bernier’s predecessor as Canada’s top marine archeologist and the leader of the Red Bay discoveries more than three decades ago, the planned construction of a San Juan replica is “like a dream.”
By Greg Tuttle - Independent Record
The silver Spanish coin that Harold Holden found while diving off the Florida coast had been missing for nearly 300 years.
Now it's missing again, and his family would like it returned.
Holden, a Florida construction supervisor whose hobby was diving for treasure, died Jan. 10 in a Red Lodge nursing home at age 88.
When his sister, Evelyn Grovenstien, of Billings, went the next day to collect his belongings, the silver coin Holden wore daily on a chain around his neck was gone.
"He wore it all the time," Grovenstien said. "I don't think he hardly ever took it off."
The Red Lodge Police Department is investigating the matter at the Cedar Wood Villa nursing home as a theft, a spokesman for the agency said.
Officers continue to interview employees, but so far the necklace remains lost.
The coin, also known as a Spanish piece of eight, was verified to have come from a fleet of Spanish ships that was sunk by a hurricane off the Florida coast in 1715.
Hundreds of sailors died in the disaster, which scattered the ships' cargo of gold and silver coins across the ocean sands just a few hundred yards from shore.
Some of those coins continue to be found, and Holden was among those who made a hobby of diving in the area to search for the treasure.
The Spanish navy has documented 1,580 shipwrecks in a database created in 2011 to track ships lost at sea based on information in the naval archives, the defense ministry said.
The database confirmed that most of the ships lost at sea went down off the Iberian Peninsula and in the Caribbean, with many of the vessels involved in the intense maritime traffic with the Americas over the past few centuries.
The project's goal is to locate and identify the vessels whose sinkings are documented in the navy's vast records of both Spanish ships that sank around the world and foreign ships that went down in Spain's territorial waters.
Of the 1,580 shipwrecks registered so far, references to locations exist in 1,176 cases, or 75 percent.
Europe accounts for 59.3 percent of the documented losses, with Spain accounting for 596 shipwrecks, or 50.7 percent.
North America, Central America and the Caribbean account for 314, or 26.7 percent, of the shipwrecks, with 176 of the sinkings occurring off Cuba.
South America accounts for 80, or 6.8 percent, of the shipwrecks, while the Far East, especially the Philippines, and Australia account for 5.4 percent of the losses.
The Philippines alone were the scene of 50 of the documented shipwrecks.
North Africa, according to the navy database, accounts for 21 shipwrecks.
The date of the shipwreck is known in some 85 percent of the cases.
The project, which has not been completed, will continue over the next few years, depending on the availability of funding, the defense ministry said.
By Robert Beckhusen - Wired
Even casual divers know that diving too deep, or surfacing too quickly, can cause a host of complications from sickness to seizures and even sudden death.
Now the Pentagon’s scientists want to build gear that can turn commandos into Aquaman, allowing them to plunge into the deeps without having to worry as much about getting ill. (Orange and green tights sold separately.)
According to a list of research proposals from the U.S. military’s blue-sky researchers at Darpa, the agency is seeking “integrated microsystems” to detect and control “warfighter physiology for military diver operations.
Essentially it comes down to hooking divers up to sensors that can read both their bio-physical signs and the presence of gases like nitric oxide, which help prevent decompression sickness, commonly known as “the bends.
If those levels dip too low, the Darpa devices will send small amounts of the gases into divers’ lungs to help keep them swimming.
The agency doesn’t specify what exactly the machine will look like, as it’s still in the research stage, but the plan is to make it portable enough for a diver to carry, of course.
Darpa also wants the gear for bomb-disposal units and “expanded special operations.” For an understandable reason.
Decompression sickness can be extremely painful, and potentially lethal to divers in both the civilian world and the military.
When underwater, a diver breathing compressed air out of a tank normally absorbs the air into fatty body tissues instead of breathing it all out, which is normally safe.
But ascending to the surface too fast after a deep dive can cause those gases to form into bubbles inside the body — imagine yourself as the equivalent of a soda bottle, shaken really fast.
That causes the body’s nervous system to go haywire and the joints to freeze up as if they were paralyzed. And that’s in addition to oxygen toxicity, nitrogen narcosis and a nasty problem called high-pressure nervous syndrome.
None of these things are very pleasant, let alone for those who make a career deactivating underwater mines.
From BWW TV
There are modern day pirates patrolling the coast of southern Florida - and the bounty they're after is boats in distress. Salvage companies scan the waters day and night.
When trouble strikes they race into action, whether it's saving a sinking vessel, rescuing boats from dangerous hurricane storms or putting out a massive fire.
While their intentions are good, it doesn't mean it isn't a cutthroat business. With a fortune to be made, the competition is intense. The first crew on the scene is the one that gets the job - and the lucrative profits.
The rest of the companies get nothing and mustwait for the next call in hopes of securing a job and keeping their business afloat. Meet the men behind four of south Florida's fiercest salvage companies in Discovery's all-new series, premiering Monday, January 14th at 9PM ET/PT.
Ricky Arnold, Sr., a fifth generation Key West resident, built his business from the ground up. He started his salvage company with five-gallon buckets and a boat, removing derelict vessels filled with all kinds of dangers - from parasites to sharks. Ricky, a headstrong and unapologetic man, does things his own way, even if that means all-out fights with his sons RJ and Shane, also in business with him. Together they are taking marine salvage to the next level, all whilepreserving their family roots in Key West.
Atlantis Marine Towing & Salvage
Stu Korpela is a salvage pioneer. After serving in the Air Force and later as an aircraft mechanic for a private company, Stu headed for Florida where in 1974 he made an even trade: his house on land for a 52' sailboat that he and his family call home. He runs one of the most accomplished and feared independent salvage businesses around. Stu's son Burt has been in the salvage business with his father his whole life and is just as ruthless as Stu. Also like his father, Burt is raising his family on the water, making a boat their home - a huge advantage in a business where timing is everything.
From The Daily Record
More than 20 of the country’s sunken relics of the sea have been mapped by a diver then turned into undersea landscapes by an artist.
Rod Macdonald, one of the country’s best known divers, says the sea is revealing more details of the sunken ships as they erode.
He has surveyed and researched 25 lying in Scottish waters for his new book, Great British Shipwrecks.
Rod provides a dramatic account of the ships’ time afloat and their eventual sinking, with each wreck being illustrated by marine artist Robert Ward, of Muchalls, Aberdeenshire.
His journey starts with the famous shipwrecks at Scapa Flow in the Orkney Islands – where the German fleet was scuttled in 1919.
Also included is the legendary WWI British cruiser HMS Hampshire, on which War Secretary Lord Kitchener perished on a voyage to Russia in 1916.
It rests in over 200 feet of water off Marwick Head to the north west of Orkney.
The famous West Coast shipwrecks ,such as the steamships Thesis, Hispania and Shuna, and cargo ship Rondo in the Sound of Mull are featured.
There are the renowned wrecks of the Dutch steamship SS Breda, lost near Oban in 1940, and the WWII minelayer HMS Port Napier off Skye.
Rod also reveals the haunting remains of HMS Pathfinder, the first Royal Navy warship to be sunk by a U-boat torpedo during WWI. It lies in the Forth.
Rod, 53 said: “The authorities at first attempted to cover up the true cause of the sinking.
“They feared the affect that knowledge of the loss of such a ship to a U-boat torpedo would have because it revealed just how vulnerable to torpedo attack British warships were.
“Pathfinder was thus reported, at first, to have been mined. The Admiralty came to an agreement with the Press Bureau, which allowed for the censoring of all reports.
But other newspapers soon published an eyewitness account from an Eyemouth fisherman who helped in the rescue and confirmed rumours a submarine had been responsible, rather than a mine.
A dispute between Papua New Guinea and Canada's Nautilus Minerals threatens to sink plans to mine gold and other metals for the first time from the ocean floor.
It could also work against efforts by the South Pacific country to restore faith in its vast resources potential and entice more foreign companies to follow the likes of Exxon Mobil , Newcrest Mining and Barrick Gold and invest billions of dollars in resource projects.
The groundbreaking undersea venture hopes to use robots operating 1 600 m deep to mine the sea floor near hydrothermal vents that deposit copper, gold and other minerals.
Hungry for foreign investment, Papua New Guinea (PNG), a nation of seven-million spread over an equatorial archipelago the size of California, had agreed in 2011 to pay 30% of the costs to build the Solwara 1 project in the Bismark Sea, which Nautilus said amounts to $80-million so far.
But in June, the government's investment arm, Petromin, said it was terminating the agreement. Without the funds, Nautilus says it cannot afford to proceed and the matter is now in arbitration in Australia under The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCitral).
Nautilus' shares have tumbled 60% since it said in mid-November it was laying off 60 workers and halting assembly work on the project to save cash. CE Michael Johnston said another round of job losses would follow on Friday unless a resolution can be reached.
"We don't know where we stand at the moment," Johnston told Reuters in an interview. "We're optimistic because we have to be, but we just don't know what Petromin is thinking."
Papua New Guinea has been described as an island of gold floating in a sea of oil, surrounded by gas, but consistently punches below its weight on the global resources stage.
The impoverished country has a long legacy of mining projects derailed by environmental disasters, landowner uprisings and corruption.
By Steve Hathcock - Valley Morning Star
The cargo steamer Baychimo, built in Sweden in 1914 for the Hudson Bay Company, spent its early days plying the frigid waters along the Victoria Island Coast of the Northwest Territory trading supplies for pelts with the people who lived in the cold northern wilderness.
The Baychimo was homeward bound in October 1931, when it became trapped in the ice. The ship was briefly abandoned, but the crew managed to break her free from its icy prison and the vessel resumed her journey.
A few days later the Baychimo again became stuck in the ice and this time most of the crew was airlifted to safety.
Fifteen men remained behind in the hopes that the vessel could be freed from the ice. A great blizzard sprang up and the crew took shelter in a cabin on a nearby shore.
When the storm lifted the ship had vanished and the crew assumed that the Baychimo must have sunk during the storm.
A few days later, the Baychimo was once again sighted some 45 miles away. The crew re-boarded her and a brief inspection revealed the craft to be unseaworthy.
After removing its cargo of furs and pelts and expecting the ship to sink at any time, the crew once again abandoned the old steamer.
Incredibly, the Baychimo continued to float on the sea on its own for another 38 years, and was seen many times.
Several times the ghost ship was boarded, but due to either bad weather or the lack of necessary equipment to salvage her, the Baychimo continued on her last voyage.
The Baychimo was last seen stuck in the ice of Beaufort Sea in 1969. According to legend, one of the most famous of the ghost ships, the Flying Dutchman, can never go home and must sail the sea forever.
If she is stopped by another ship at sea, her crew of the dead will try to send messages to people ashore (who are also long since dead).
In most versions of the story, the Dutch captain swore that he would not stop sailing in the face of a storm that threatened to sink his ship.
The crew and passengers begged him to change course, but the captain, who was either drunk or crazy, swore he would continue to round the Cape of Good Hope until Judgment Day.
Monstrous waves crashed against the ship and a howling wind shredded the sails and bent the mast but the captain stayed his course, alternately shouting curses at the heavens or drinking great draughts of beer and smoking his pipe.
From ABC News
Medical experts expect the number of scuba divers suffering the bends to reach a record high in New South Wales this year, because of a new diving site on the state's central coast.
The ex-naval frigate HMAS Adelaide was sunk off Terrigal and Avoca beaches last year to become an artificial reef and dive site.
Since then, doctors are reporting significant increases in the number of divers with decompression sickness.
The wreck lies about 32 metres below the surface, which is around the depth limit for many recreational divers.
Figures from the hyperbaric medicine unit at Sydney's Prince of Wales Hospital show 27 patients were treated for the bends up until August this year.
In comparison there were 19 cases in total in 2011 and 28 in 2010.
Glen Hawkins from the University of New South Wales, who is also the medical director of private firm Hyperbaric Health, says the dive season has only just begun.
"By August this year, we've already reached the annual normal number and haven't hit the main diving season yet," Dr Hawkins said.
By Mike Schuler - gCaptain
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society on Tuesday unveiled its newest addition to the fleet, the SSS (as in Sea Shepherd Ship) Sam Simon.
Named after the man who gave Sea Shepherd the money to purchase it – Sam Simon is co-creator of The "Simpsons" - the SSS Sam Simon was unveiled today in the port of Hobart, Tasmania where it is preparing to depart on Sea Shepherd’s newest campaign, “Operation Zero Tolerance.
The all white, 56- meter vessel is registered in Melbourne, Australia, and will carry a crew of 24 international volunteers who are ready to brave the Southern Ocean – and the infamous Sea Shepherd antics – in order to seek out and shut down the illegal Japanese whaling fleet.
The vessel itself was built in 1993 by IHI shipyard in Tokyo and was formerly used as a research ship by the Japanese Government – go figure !
The Sam Simon features an ice-strengthened hull and was operated by the Maizuru Meteorogical Observatory, a department of the Japan Meteorological Agency, up until 2010.
From Belfast Telegraph
They were whacked into a lake in 1891 as part of an exhibition by sporting legend Old Tom Morris but now they are worth far more than their weight in gold, if only they can be recovered amid thousands of other balls at the bottom of a Donegal lake.
The golfer's own 'gutta percha' balls were worth just a shilling as he practiced his swing on the banks of Lough Salt in Co Donegal.
More than a century later the little pieces of sporting history are worth €20,000 each, or up to €400,000 if all 20 are found.
Divers are now searching for the sunken treasure that has been hidden for 121 years. At the end of the 19th century, four-times Open champion Old Tom was in the county to design the Rosapenna golf course. Local historians record an incident where the Scottish golfer stopped off at nearby Lough Salt to practise his swing.
Now diver Gus O'Driscoll and four members of the Delta Specialist Diving Club are hoping they can find the rare old golf balls.
"There are literally thousands of balls at the bottom of Lough Salt because stopping off to hit golf balls there has been a tradition going back to Morris's time," he said.
"We have recovered some golf balls from the early 1900s but we haven't located Morris's golf balls as yet." Morris's son 'Young Tom', golf's first progidy, won four consecutive British Opens, a feat which has never been equalled.
Franco Banfi, a 53 year-old explorer who is an avid snake lover has unearthed images of the huge 26-foot anacondas of Mato Grosso in Brazil.
The Mato Grosso do Sul is a Brazilian river and Banfi was able to take numerous photos of the huge snake scanning the water for food, which comes in the form of mice, fish or birds.
The Swiss diver and his team visited the region for ten-days and were able to locate several of these beasts and get extremely close to them as they laid on the riverbank.
One particular anaconda had recently eaten a capybara rodent so was resting and not hungry.
Banfi, who is a father-of-two stated, “As the snake had just eaten it didn’t take much interest in us. Everything is possible but I don’t think it would have eaten us. I was very close, I could have touched it if I wanted to.”
Throughout his trip he unearthed six different female anaconda snakes in the Mato Grosso do Sul region, which is in the heart of South America.
“At the first moment it’s scary because you don’t know the animal and everybody say it’s dangerous,” added Banfi. “But after a while you understand that nothing happens if you respect the snake.
I have never been so close to a snake like this before.”
Banfi then went on to state, “I think a small poisonous snake is more scary than a big one.
At least you can see the anacondas clearly and know what they’re doing.”
By Noel Baker - The Irish Examiner
Sunken ships in our waters are heritage sites. The work of preserving their artifacts is chronicled in a new pictorial guide by the geological survey, says Noel Baker.
The most spectacular and important shipwrecks in Irish waters are detailed in the book Warships, U Boats and Liners: A Guide to Shipwrecks Mapped in Irish Waters, which is published this week.
The book, a joint venture between the Geological Survey of Ireland and the Underwater Archaeology Unit at the Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht, includes photographic and sonar images of 300 shipwrecks.
Underwater wrecks have dotted our coastline for centuries, but the interest in them, from abroad and at home, has increased hugely.
In the autumn of 1588, the mighty Spanish Armada took up positions off the west coast of Ireland and was almost blown to bits by westerly gales.
Its remnants lie below water, awaiting discovery.
Last August, the RV Keary, a 15m aluminium catamaran operated by the Geological Survey of Ireland, stationed itself a few hundred metres off the coast of Rutland Island, near Burtonport, to search for a wreck that may have been part of the Armada.
The dive was carried out by the Underwater Archaeology Unit (UAU) of the National Monuments Service, and led, for the third year in a row, by Corkwoman Connie Kelleher.
This site, and that of a French vessel a few hundred metres away, are two of the best preserved wrecks off the Irish coast, but they hold secrets.
Archaeologists have not confirmed that the well-preserved wreck was part of the Armada, but there are indicators.
Connie, one of three State underwater archaeologists in the UAU&, said: "We have one side bow to stern [intact] and it’s 18m long at the bottom.
"She was a medium-sized vessel, so she might have been 30m, and she was a war ship." Musket-shot balls and burnt material have been discovered, so it is a fair guess that she burned.
By Shaheryar Mirza - Tribune
Karachi remains a city by the sea when it could be so much more – only if it became one with the sea.
The neglect that the city’s coast has suffered is highlighted by the fact that there isn’t a single pier with recreational facilities for the public.
In this atmosphere of apathy, Yousaf Ali has taken it upon himself to look after the coral reef near Churna Island, located off the coast of Mubarak Village, which is near the border of Sindh and Balochistan.
“Back in 1979, I was on my way to work when I heard an advertisement on the radio about scuba diving. I turned around at that moment and now I’ve been doing this for over 30 years,” said Ali, speaking at his office in the Karachi Scuba Diving Centre (KSBC).
Here, he teaches Karachi’ites as well as expatriates how to scuba dive and take care of the marine environment. He said that one reason why people don’t take part in water sports is because they have an “unknown fear of the ocean and water.”
Many people take a dip during the monsoon season when the sea is inhospitable and swimmers encounter mishaps.
This makes the public perceive the open water as a dangerous space. Another reason why scuba diving hasn’t taken off in Pakistan is because it is expensive.
“People who can afford it aren’t interested and those who are interested [in scuba diving] can’t afford it,” said Ali, adding that expatriates are more interested in exploring the underwater world.
By Lori Tobias - The Oregonian
The call to sub chaser SC-536 came at night on May 19, 1943. A patrol boat had made contact with at least one enemy submarine off the Oregon coast, but was out of depth charges.
With guidance from two Navy blimps, the crew on SC-536 headed out of Astoria to join the hunt. What happened in the coming hours is as clear to Robert Wood, now 93, as when it happened.
"The blimp sent us a message saying our charge had made a direct hit on the sub and sunk it," Wood recalled by telephone from his Tennessee home.
"We felt mighty honored that we had done that because that was our job, to try to find Japanese subs and sink them. We were a happy bunch of sailors."
But they were about to become a disappointed bunch of sailors. When the sub chaser's executive officer arrived in Seattle with Wood's typed report, the admiral insisted it never happened.
Now, a group of divers believes it's on the cusp of proving Wood's claim, with evidence of a sunken vessel in an undisclosed area off Cape Lookout.
They've got the images from an infrared camera, Wood's recently declassified original logs and personal stories that have persisted for decades.
"We missed putting divers on the wreck by 35 yards," said Kathleen Wallis, project manager for the Oregon Coast Project team.
"Between current and depth, they're not dropping straight down and not seeing anything because it is pitch black. We know there is room for error.
It could be a barge or a tug, but we also know something happened out there and it was labeled top secret by the government."
The Kara Sea, a body of Arctic waters so remote that the Soviet Union used it as an atomic- waste dump for more than 25 years, has become the focus of an environmental battle that oil companies are preparing to win.
Exxon Mobil Corp. and its Russian partner OAO Rosneft are taking steps to drill near the ocean-floor wasteland, eager to plumb an Arctic region estimated to hold enough crude to supply the world for five years.
They’ve sidestepped environmental groups’ calls for a clean-up prior to exploration of the area off Russia’s northern coast where Soviet ships dumped worn-out reactors and 17,000 containers of radioactive waste.
Scientists in Norway today, presenting the first survey of the area’s atomic pollution in 18 years, will say there isn’t any increased radiation, according to an official at the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority.
Stable levels may mean major leaks haven’t developed, robbing ecologists of a weapon to stop drilling that oil companies say can be done safely.
“All ecological and nature protection norms are being followed at the same time,” Rustam Kazharov, a spokesman at Rosneft, said by e-mail.
The Moscow-based company is preparing for exploration based on Russian law and “the best world practices available.”
Exxon and Rosneft this month agreed to start designing a platform to drill in the Kara Sea’s shallow waters.
The first well can be started as soon as 2014.
From Daily record
A man has died while diving near a shipwreck.
The 66-year-old was exploring wrecks in Scapa Flow, Orkney when he got into difficulty at around 11.30am yesterday.
He died at the scene, Northern Constabulary said.
The circumstances are not suspicious and no more details will be issued until the man's family have been informed.
A report has been sent to the procurator fiscal.
Scapa Flow is popular with divers exploring First World War wrecks on the seabed.
By Kazuhiko Okada - The Asahi Shimbun
“Sea walks” have become increasingly popular at an undersea world here believed to have been the home of ancient sunset worshippers.
Off the city’s Hinomisaki cape, in depths up to 30 meters, various carved rocks are scattered about, resembling an altar, stairs, an approach and turtles. There is also a cave with a gravel-covered floor.
Divers can view these features up close by walking on the sea floor near Fumishima island.
It is really a mysterious world,” said Mutsuko Kobayashi, a 53-year-old care worker from Fukuyama, Hiroshima Prefecture, who visits the site once a month. “And the sea walk here makes me feel good.
Tetsuo Okamoto, a 59-year-old local diving guide who has been studying the area near the cape since 1999, discovered the rocks that year.
Since Fumishima island is known for its traditional sunset festival in August, Okamoto concluded that the underwater carved rocks were part of an ancient sunset festival site that became submerged under the sea.
After a diving magazine and other media featured the spot, an increasing number of divers and diving groups have been visiting Fumishima from the Kinki and Sanyo regions, according to Okamoto.
By Benjamin Radford - Live Science
Atlantis is a legendary "lost" island subcontinent often idealized as an advanced, utopian society holding wisdom that could bring world peace.
The idea of Atlantis has captivated dreamers, occultists, and New Agers for generations.
In the 1800s, mystic Madame Blavatsky claimed that she learned about Atlantis from Tibetan gurus; a century later, psychic Edgar Cayce claimed that Atlantis (which he described as an ancient, highly evolved civilization powered by crystals) would be discovered by 1969.
In the 1980s, New Age mystic J.Z. Knight claimed that she learned about Atlantis from Ramtha, a 35,000-year-old warrior spirit who speaks through her.
Thousands of books, magazines and websites are devoted to Atlantis, and it remains a popular topic.
Unlike many legends whose origins have been lost in the mists of time, we know exactly when and where the story of Atlantis first appeared. The story was first told in two of Plato's dialogues, the Timaeus and the Critias, written about 330 B.C.
Though today Atlantis is often conceived of as a peaceful utopia, the Atlantis that Plato described in his fable was very different.
In his book Frauds, Myths and Mysteries: Science and Pseudoscience in Archaeology, professor of archaeology Ken Feder summarizes the story: "a technologically sophisticated but morally bankrupt evil empire — Atlantis — attempts world domination by force.
The only thing standing in its way is a relatively small group of spiritually pure, morally principled, and incorruptible people — the ancient Athenians.
Overcoming overwhelming odds ... the Athenians are able to defeat their far more powerful adversary simply through the force of their spirit. Sound familiar ?
Plato's Atlantean dialogues are essentially an ancient Greek version of Star Wars."
By Marina Mello - The Royal Gazette Online
Bermuda’s “inspirational” scuba diving is a cover story in Sport Diver magazine, featuring several pages of colour photos of the Island’s shipwrecks and sights as the writer follows in the footsteps of the stars of the movie The Deep.
And even more publicity is set to follow in the November issue when the magazine publishes a 16-page feature on Bermuda and a special guide to the Island.
But the leading scuba magazine said it received no cooperation or advertising from the Tourism Department for either issue —- despite the fact the new National Tourism Plan specifically named diving and water sports as a new “destination hub” that Bermuda should be marketing.
In fact, Sport Diver’s editor said they were only able to eventually get all the articles and guide produced by working directly with two dive centres and two hotels on the Island.
The editor said Bermuda Tourism representatives in Britain had provided no help with the assignment, but that did not put his team off wanting to write about diving in Bermuda.
In the end, the dive centres and hotels ended up funding the Bermuda guide, he said.
“After much contact back and forth with the UK representation for the tourist board regarding sorting out an editorial trip to Bermuda, and the possibility of a 16-page ‘Guide to ...’, eventually it all came to nothing despite endless promises of assistance, and the only reason that we managed to get any articles on Bermuda — and a cut-down, 12-page ‘Guide to ...’ — was through the sterling efforts of two individual dive centres, assisted by two hotels,” said Mark Evans, editor of Sport Diver’ and Global Dive Companion.
UK-based Sport Diver is the official magazine of PADI’s International Diving Society.
From Hydro International
On 31 August, the survey ship Level A collided with a Belgian-propelled barge on the Rhine at Basel, Switzerland, and capsized.
The four crew members fell overboard.
Although Professor Dr Volker Böder, director of the project and professor of geodesy and hydrography at the HafenCity University Hamburg (HCU), was rescued, he sadly died in hospital the following day as a result of his injuries.
Despite a large-scale search operation, the skipper of the Level A has not yet been found.
The two other crew members survived the accident. The Level A was commissioned by the Basel urban construction and transportation departments and in collaboration with the Swiss Rhine ports active in Basel, tasked with testing new equipment and technologies for measuring the shipping lanes in the Rhine.
Boat and crew had arrived at Basel earlier that week and were due to remain working on the Rhine in Switzerland for a further two weeks.
Professor Dr Volker Böder made an enormous contribution to encouraging young professionals to join the hydrographic industry.
The chances of finding a message in a bottle are about the same as winning the lottery, but one Scottish fishing boat found two in the last six years, breaking its own world record after previously uncorking the world’s oldest message in a bottle.
Skipper Andrew Leaper from Shetland made his discovery off the coast of Scotland in April while working on the Copius fishing vessel. Guinness World Records has confirmed the find.
“The oldest message in a bottle spent 97 years and 309 days at sea,” Guinness announced. “The bottle was discovered 9.38 nautical miles from the position it was originally deployed.”
Leaper found the bottle by accident while pulling in his fishing nets.
When opened, the message in the bottle asked the finder to record the date and location of the discovery, and to return the drifting treasure to the Director of the Fishery Board of Scotland for a reward of six pence.
Numbered 646B and dated June 1914, the bottle had been cast into the sea by Captain CH Brown of the Glasgow School of Navigation.
It was part of a scientific attempt to monitor the undercurrents of the waters around Scotland.
To date, only 315 of the 1,890 bottles originally used in the experiment have been found. Each new find is being recorded by Marine Science Scotland.
By Jackie K. Cooper - The Huffington Post
The Lifetime Channel continues its streak of making movies about real life crime stories with Fatal Honeymoon.
This is the story of the couple who went to Australia back in 2003 on their honeymoon and went scuba diving.
The husband claimed that his wife panicked underwater and knocked off his mask and breathing apparatus.
While he climbed to the surface she drowned. What really happened is anyone's guess but when you watch this movie you get a clear idea of what the writers of this movie thought.
Just like Natalee Holloway, whose story was also a Lifetime movie, Tina Thomas (Amber Clayton) was an Alabama girl.
She came from a prominent family and was the apple of her daddy's eye. Tommy Thomas (Harvey Keitel) was not happy when his daughter Tina got involved with Gabe Watson (Billy Miller).
There was just something not quite right about him, but Tina loved him so Tommy could only agree to their wedding and wish the couple well.
Still it came as no surprise to him when he received a phone call from Gabe's father with the news that Tina had drowned while the couple were scuba diving in Australia while on their honeymoon.
From that point on Tommy was convinced that Gabe had killed his daughter and he swore to see that her death was avenged by having Gabe convicted of murder.
The participation of Keitel is reason enough to watch this movie.
This actor is so talented that he can make any role believable, and that is what he does with his performance as Tommy Thomas.
He is fascinating to watch on screen as he builds the character layer by layer. To most actors Thomas would just be a grieving father but Keitel makes him that and more. He gives him nuances that show how deep the man's pain runs.
By Marianna Tsatsou - Greek Reporter
A significant archaeological finding, a gold coin, has been reported discovered underwater in the area between Limassol and Larnaca by a local amateur fisherman.
According to Cypriot authorities, the coin is of great value.
Cypriot media reported that it dates back to the first century A.D. and depicts the third Roman emperor called Caligula, well-known for his fierce and brutal policy during his reign.
On this coin, Caligula is sacrificing an animal before the Temple of Augustus, which is constituted by six pillars.
Many coins of the same age have been found over the course of time, but this one is regarded among the most significant due because it’s made of gold.
Representatives of the Nicosia Archaeological Museum of Cyprus stated that such a finding enriches cultural heritage of the broader region, and may provide archaeologists with important information on ancient Cyprus’ trade.
Moreover, the area, where the golden coin was found, could reveal more clues concerning the coin’s origin and the way it ended up in Cyprus, they said.
By Katie Burrell - Indy Star
When a group of scuba divers went looking for a way to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, they decided on a novel idea: playing darts underwater for prizes.
Hosted by Diver's Supply Indy and Aqua Pro HD, the underwater darts tournament will be Aug. 18 at Warren Central High School on the Far Eastside of Indianapolis.
In the event, a team of two scuba divers will throw four Toypedo "darts" through square targets made from PVC pipe.
Like playing a game of darts on land, the center bull's-eye is worth the greatest number of points. If the divers manage to bounce the Toypedos off the surface of the pool, points are doubled.
The winning team will win a prize.
"Like a race, people sign up and care how well they do, but the real goal is to raise money for LLS," tournament organizer Preston Hobbie said.
According to Hobbie, an instructor at Diver's Supply Indy, his club had always looked for ways to give back to the community but never found the right opportunity.
It wasn't until 2008, when his sister was diagnosed with lymphoma, that he realized he had found something worth raising money for.
Then, in 2009, one of his students was diagnosed with leukemia.
Hobbie, an Indianapolis resident, found a model for the tournament from another diving group in Cincinnati.
It successfully raised money for breast cancer, and he felt he had enough passion to spearhead the event.
By Neil Prior - BBC News
DNA mapping has shed light on a 260-year-old mystery of the origins of a child shipwrecked on Anglesey, who helped shape medical history.
The boy of seven or eight, who could not speak English or Welsh, washed up on the north Wales coast with his brother between 1743 and 1745. Named Evan Thomas, he was adopted by a doctor and went on to show bone setting skills never seen before in the UK.
Now a DNA study has revealed he came from the Caucasus Mountains.
The boys' dark skin and foreign language led people to believe they were Spanish - a myth which went on for hundreds of years.
Evan's brother survived only a few days, but he went on to demonstrate he already possessed bone setting skills, including the first recorded use in Britain of traction and splints to pull apart the over-lapping edges of breaks and immobilise limbs while healing took place.
Analysis of DNA from the 13th generation of Evan's descendants is now indicating that the brothers came from an area of the Caucasus Mountains, including Georgia, Ossetia and Southern Russia.
Anglesey bone setter DNA project director John Rowlands said: "When we embarked on the project, all the historical evidence seemed to point to Spain as being the most likely origins of Evan Thomas.
"Not only was there his exotic appearance and language, but also the fact that many Spanish ships were sailing past Wales at the time of the shipwreck, in order to supply troops in support of the Jacobite rebellion in Scotland.
"But early on in the analysis we were able to rule out British or Spanish descent, and now, after studying 300 gigabytes of data, our team at Edinburgh University have found 48 out of 51 points of similarity with DNA originating in the Caucasus.
By Jonathan Brown - The Independent
International action is urgently required to save the world's historic shipwrecks from the ravages of commercial fishing, experts say.
Industrial trawling, capable of destroying fragile underwater heritage, is occurring on a scale that is creating an archaeological catastrophe comparable to the looting of the National Museum in Baghdad or the destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan, they warn.
The seabed is often described as the world's greatest museum but it is estimated that 42 per cent of the globe's three million wrecks may have been damaged by trawling.
The scale of the devastation means the chances of repeating the recovery of vessels such as the Mary Rose are decreasing, while there are fears that HMS Victory – the 1737 predecessor to Nelson's flagship – has already been damaged by trawlers in the English Channel and is at risk of total destruction.
Dr Sean Kingsley of Wreck Watch International is calling for the creation of national "red lists" for shipwrecks of major international importance similar to those created by the International Council of Museums (Icom) for cultural objects.
But he said attempts to safeguard sunken vessels, some dating back to the earliest civilisations, were being hampered by a lack of political will and a shortage of funds.
From Kitsap Sun
A public memorial has been planned to celebrate the life of David D. Scheinost, the Department of Natural Resources scuba diver who died July 24 while diving in the waters off Bainbridge Island.
His family has invited anyone who knew him and those who want to pay their respects to the memorial scheduled for this weekend.
A public viewing will be held Saturday from 5 to 8 p.m. at Edwards Memorial Chapel in Lakewood. The funeral is scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m. at the Auburn Adventist Academy Church in Auburn.
An account also has been created at Boeing Employees Credit Union to help the family with expenses, including the purchase of a headstone and other debts tied to Scheinost's passing. The account is set up under David Scheinost's name.
Scheinost, 24, died last month while collecting geoducks for his job with DNR to test for paralytic shellfish poison.
The Kitsap County Coroner is waiting for the results of lab tests to release a cause of death.
At the time of his death Scheinost was living with his girlfriend, Angela Singleton, in Tacoma. He was known for his positive, outgoing personality, a contagious laugh and his love of music, according to his family.
By Elizabeth Patterson - The Chronicle Herald
If you’ve lived in Nova Scotia for any length of time, you’ve heard about Oak Island.
It’s a place shrouded in mystery and wonder, thanks to its association with pirate treasure and the resulting folly that seemingly strikes anyone brave or foolish enough to hunt for it.
Oak Island Family: The Restall Hunt for Buried Treasure is the story of one family’s tragic search for riches.
Lee Lamb’s parents were circus performers who toured with their motorcycle act, the Globe of Death, across North America in the 1950s.
For a change of pace, they decide to move to Nova Scotia in 1959 with their two sons to search for pirate treasure on Oak Island.
Lamb, who was married with her own family at the time, admits the Restalls weren’t exactly your average family, a fact that didn’t make the book any easier to write.
“Oak Island Family was meant for readers new to the Oak Island story.
It would provide a scaled-down version of the original treasure hunts and just the bare bones of the Restall experience on Oak Island,” said Lamb in an email interview, adding that she thought the job would “be easy and fun.”
“I was wrong. Stripping the stories to essentials was hard work, and the emotional impact of revisiting my family’s experience completely blindsided me.
While I wrote, this memory reminded me of that, and that led to another recollection, long forgotten. By the end of the book, I was completely wrung out.
I was left with a strange pervasive sadness and deepened awareness of the sacrifices my mother and brothers had made for what, at the very end, had become only my Dad’s obsession.”
The plan was to stay there for less than a year, but delays and problems kept them there until 1965, when a tragic accident killed her father, brother and two men working on the site.
While, in hindsight, it’s hard to imagine searching for something that could kill you, Lamb successfully explains the journey to that fatal day and how a family’s hard work, dedication to an idea, and hope led to the deaths of four people.
The Restalls simply tried too hard to find an island’s deep, dark secrets, which have yet to be uncovered.
Oak Island is still a magical place for Lamb, but she fears for its future as long as the treasure remains unclaimed.
By Tom Meersman - The Star Tribune
Two researchers who scrutinized the bottom of Lake Minnetonka for possible shipwrecks are turning their underwater sights on Lake Waconia in Carver County and White Bear Lake in Ramsey County.
Ann Merriman and her husband, Chris Olson, are archaeologists who together founded the nonprofit Maritime Heritage Minnesota in 2005.
Their quest is history, not treasure, since the steamboats, barges, sailboats and other objects they've identified were usually stripped of anything valuable and intentionally sunk when they became outdated.
The couple use inexpensive but high-quality sonar equipment to scan the bottom of lakes and rivers methodically, searching for possible archaeological sites.
Merriman said she received an acceptance letter last week for a $7,000 grant from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund -- part of the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment -- to survey Lake Waconia and White Bear Lake, two of the metro area's largest lakes behind Minnetonka. She said the work could be done in late summer or early fall, and will take about a week.
Waconia and White Bear have much in common with Lake Minnetonka, Merriman said.
"These three lakes had the same kinds of vessels on them," she said, and sometimes a boat built on one lake was sold and shipped to another.
Both White Bear Lake and Lake Minnetonka had yacht clubs, Merriman said.
Minnetonka and White Bear Lake were also connected by the streetcar system, she said, and each had an amusement park.
Like Lake Minnetonka and its Big Island, Lake Waconia also developed a resort area with hotels and steamboats that took visitors to amusements on Coney Island.
By Brian Lam - Gizmodo
You think carrying your grocery and laundry into your 5th-floor walkup is a pain in the ass ?
Try bringing that stuff into an undersea base without it getting soaked. How do you do it ?
The answer is surprisingly low-tech: pressure pots.
Pressure pots are paint cans that have been modified with a release valve that lets them gradually normalize to their surroundings' pressure.
When they go down to the habitat, the valves let air flow in slowly, adjusting to an environment that is at 2.5x regular atmospheric pressure; when they come, they let the pressure slowly bleed off.
Clamps or bolts hold the lids on, and divers swim them 50 feet down to the entrance of Aquarius Reef Base.
Without the bleed off valve, a pot would be dangerously compressed when brought to the surface—the lid could literally fly off when you undid the clamps.
When brought down to the bottom, a canister's vacuum would make it impossible to open.
By Stephanie Pappas - MNN
About half of the marine junk was broken fishing gear and plastic from Midway Atoll.
Scientists loaded their ship to the max this month off the coast of Hawaii, but their bounty wasn't fish or coral or any other scientific specimen. It was garbage.
The crew of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) ship Oscar Elton Sette pulled 50 metric tons of marine debris out of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument off the northwestern Hawaiian Islands last month, part of an ongoing mission since 1996 to clean up the shallow coral reef environment.
"What surprises us is that after many years of marine debris removal in Papahanaumokuakea and more than 700 metric tons of debris later, we are still collecting a significant amount of derelict fishing gear from the shallow coral reefs and shorelines," Kyle Koyanagi, the chief scientist for the mission, said in a NOAA statement.
"The ship was at maximum capacity and we did not have any space for more debris."
NOAA has been sending out garbage-removing ships every year since 1996.
On the mission that ended on July 14, 17 scientists cleaned up the coastal waters and shorelines of the Kure Atoll, Midway Atoll, Pearl Atoll, Hermes Atoll, Lisianski Island and Laysan Island, all in the northern section of the Hawaiian Islands.
By Paul Conner - Daily Caller
With 34 Republican senators now opposing a United Nations effort to regulate international waters, the Law of the Sea treaty effectively has no way forward in the U.S. Senate.
Republican Sens. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Rob Portman of Ohio, Mike Johanns of Nebraska and Johnny Isakson of Georgia joined 30 other GOP members in agreeing to vote against the U.N. treaty.
South Carolina Republican Sen. Jim DeMint helped lead the conservative effort on Capitol Hill to rally senators against the treaty, which has been pushed by chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee John Kerry and notably backed by Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain.
Business groups like the American Petroleum Institute and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, as well as Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also support the Law of the Sea treaty, which would give unprecedented taxing and permitting authority over activity on international waters to a U.N.-created agency.
“Proponents of the Law of the Sea treaty aspire to admirable goals, including codifying the U.S. Navy’s navigational rights and defining American economic interests in valuable offshore resources.
But the treaty’s terms reach well beyond those good intentions,” Ayotte and Portman wrote in a Monday letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
The mysterious disc-shaped object at the bottom of the Baltic Sea could be a relic from a giant World War II device placed there by the Nazis to disrupt Soviet submarine navigation.
The object may be the concrete anchor of the device, which also had to be fitted with stainless steel mesh, Swedish naval officer and warfare history expert Anders Autellus told Swedish newspaper Expressen.
It would interfere with submarine radar signals and make them crash.
The mesh itself may well have eroded away over the decades, but the images of the object made by the Ocean X team exploring it show what appear to be holes, where it was attached to the foundation, he added.
Stefan Hogeborn, a member of the team, concurs, saying their find is located just under an important shipping route. German vessels carried many goods important for the war effort during the war, and Soviet submarines sneaking from the Gulf of Finland into the Baltic Sea targeted them.
If the theory is true, the trap may be an important historical find, but there is evidence against it too.
The 60-meter object studied by Ocean X is way larger than what Germans and some other warring nations deployed during the World War II. Peter Lindberg, another member of the team, says he still believes the object is a natural formation.
The “Baltic UFO” was discovered in May last year through sonar imaging technology.
By Cathy Hayes - Irish Central
Eight drain experts, four oxygen tanks, and a diver down the septic tank but they still could not relocate the $10,000 engagement rings that were flushed down a toilet at Bellinter House Hotel, County Meath.
This strange tale all started when Imogen Gunner (31) accidentally knocked her friend’s rings, which came from Harrods in London and Fields in Swords, Dublin, into the toilet.
Last Friday, Ashling Cahill (32) was sharing a room with her friend at the hotel, ahead of her own wedding in November. She wrapped the rings in tissue and stored them in her wash bag over night.
However, when the wash bag was accidentally tipped over, Gunner unknowingly flushed the ball of tissue down the toilet. Gunner, who will perform at Cahill’s wedding as part of the group Celtic Harmony, said she was thankful to everyone who had tried to help.
She told the Irish Independent, “It has really brought out the best in people. I'm going to have to find out the make and model of the rings and see if I can replace them.”
A strangely-shaped object at the bottom of the Baltic Sea has been interfering with the electrical devices of the Swedish diving team that is trying to film it. But critics are growing more skeptical about the long-running mystery.
The Swedish Ocean X treasure-hunting team first discovered a mystery object reminiscent of the Star Wars spaceship Millennium Falcon last year.
But they didn’t have the resources to investigate. Now, they have returned with top-of-the-range 3D seabed scanners and a submersible – all funded by a secret sponsor.
They are trying to film it but as soon as they get close, they are foiled.
“Anything electric out there – and the satellite phone as well – stopped working when we were above the object,” Stefan Hogerborn, the expedition’s lead diver, told Swedish channel NDTV.
“And then we got away about 200 meters and it turned on again, and when we got back over the object it didn’t work.”
The discovery itself is described as a round object resembling a “huge mushroom.” On top of it is an “egg-shaped” portal. The team said that a 300-meter trail that “can be described as a runway” stretches out from the site of the “spaceship.”
The team has not been shy to speculate about what they have seen.
“It's a meteorite or an asteroid or a volcano or a base from, say, a U-boat from the Cold War which has manufactured and placed there – or it is a UFO.
Well honestly, it has to be something," says Dennis Asberg, one of the Ocean X team.
The electric interference seems to confirm that the object is by no means ordinary.
By Michael Sheridan - New York Daily News
Sorry geeks, it's not the Millenium Falcon.
A team of deep sea treasure hunters investigating a bizarre formation below the Baltic Sea said over the weekend it’s definitely not a UFO.
"It's not, obviously, an alien spacecraft.
It's not made of metal," Peter Lindberg, the leader of the Ocean Explorer team, told Fox News. He also noted it appeared to be some sort of "natural, geological formation."
It is likely a rock, the team said, but it still presents a bit of a mystery.
"During my 20-year diving career, including 6,000 dives, I have never seen anything like this," Stefan Hogeborn, one of the divers at Ocean Explorer Team, said in a news release posted to the team's website on Saturday.
Images of the bizarre shape, which made the object appear to resemble the famed starship from the "Star Wars" films, were first captured by Ocean Explorers in August 2011.
The photo sparked wild speculation, and garnered so much interest that the team was able to raise the money needed for a full-fledged dive.
Lindberg, along with scientists and divers, spent 12 days exploring the 200-foot-wide object and are in the process of reviewing the footage.
In the news release, the team described the formation as a "huge mushroom," with "rounded sides and rugged edges."
By Adrian Bishop - Earth Times
One of the most proactive marine conservation body is offering to help patrol and protect Australia's new Coral Sea marine reserve.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) says it can contribute expert know-how, ships and resources to help preserve the world's largest marine reserve.
The Australian Government announced just last week that it is establishing the reserve to combat the dangers faced by the precious marine ecosystems.
Conservation groups believe that enforcement is vital to prevent poaching, overfishing and other illegal acts that will damage the new Coral Sea marine sanctuary.
The Coral Sea Region covers an area of more than half the size of Queensland and includes green turtle nesting sites, as well as various species of shark and big predatory fish.
Former MP Peter Lindsay said the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority should take charge of monitoring, but would need help. "There's no point in having a marine park unless you can patrol it and police it.
"They would have to receive adequate funding, they can't do it in their existing budget. Even if it does take another $10 million, it's money well spent."
In response, Sea Shepherd has pledged to help protect the waters from foreign fishing vessels operating illegally at Coral Sea, which means Australian taxpayers would pay nothing.
SSCS says it would also let members of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, or other appropriate Australian authorities, use vessels and go onboard during patrols.
It will work with the various Australian authorities to create strategies that will lead to prosecution of illegal fishing activities.
By Barbara De Lollis - USA Today
A luxury resort in Bermuda this summer has arranged for guests to explore a shipwreck that dates back to the 17th century.
Guests at Rosewood's Tucker's Point resort can dive to see the historic Castle Harbour shipwreck of the Warwick. The dive package is available through July 24.
The ship's believed to date back to the Armada of 1588. When it set sail in 1619, it ran into a hurricane, which sent the ship to the depths of the sea off the coast of what is now the hotel.
The research team is back this summer to continue uncovering the mystery in a partnership with the National Museum of Bermuda and the Institute of Nautical Archaeology.
A “UFO-shaped” object, found at the bottom of the Baltic Sea last year, has puzzled many.
And a Swedish expedition that plunged into the deep eventually surfaced with more questions than answers.
Covered in soot, with little “fireplace”-like structures and lying at the end of a 300-meter “runway” – this is not something you would expect to find sitting on the sea floor.
And whatever you think about extraterrestrial life, “the thing” is still there and there has to be an explanation.
So what could it be ?
On June 19, 2011, a team of Swedish treasure hunters was exploring the bottom of the Baltic Sea with their sonars when they noticed a bizarre, disc-like structure at a depth of 90 meters.
Back then, international experts failed to explain the sonar images.
In 2012, after months of preparation, the Ocean X Team, as they call themselves, went back in order to unveil the mystery.
“We've heard lots of different kinds of explanations, from George Lucas's spaceship – the Millennium Falcon – to ‘It's some kind of plug to the inner world,’ like it should be hell down there or something,” The Daily Mail quoted one of the founders of the Ocean X Team, Peter Lindberg, as saying.
From Austrian Times
Deep sea divers are about to solve the out-of-this-world riddle of how an object just like the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars got to the bottom of the Baltic Sea.
Amazing sonar images taken by Swiss treasure hunters appeared to show Han Solo’s spaceship the Millennium Falcon resting on the ocean floor.
Now the explorers - who had originally been looking for booze on a merchant ship sunk in World War I - and their ship the Ancylus say they could be just hours from revealing the truth.
Initial checks have revealed no hazards to divers, who are expected to start their first attempt to reach the object nearly 300ft below the surface at a secret location between Sweden and Finland.
"We are all convinced that what we are looking at is something unique. There is definitely something really unusual on the bottom of the sea here – a real mystery," said a spokesman for the Ocean X search team.
Research head Peter Lindburg added: " I have never seen anything like it."
By Rob Waugh - Daily Mail
Until now, filming underwater has required teams of divers and expensive underwater camera rigs - but a new iPad-controlled robot does the lot itself.
The battery-powered Aquabotix Hydroview shoots in Full HD and swims independently, letting users see through its eyes with an app that works on iPads, smartphones and Windows laptops.
The $4,000 machine comes with a 75-foot cable and battery pack that lets it 'swim' for three hours - its makers suggest the tiny submarine could be used to find lost keys underwater, or for underwater documentaries.
Complete with on-board LED lights for underwater, the HydroView travels at up to five knots forward and one knot in reverse while shooting video or capturing still images at depths up to 150 feet down.
It can also capture information on water conditions.
The Hydroview costs $4,000 - more prosaically, you can also 'explore the depths' with a camera mounted on a boat hook for just $475.
The HydroView communicates wirelessly from the user’s handheld device to the HydroView’s top-side box, which is in-turn connected to the submersible via a cable tether.
By Pat Kettles - Anniston Star
First we had fake wines allegedly belonging to Thomas Jefferson. The bottles were even engraved with his initials. Although, upon examination by experts, the engraving was determined to be the product of a modern-day dentist’s drill.
More recently, Indonesian national Rudy Kurniawan was indicted by a federal grand jury in New York on four counts of mail and wire fraud for selling counterfeit wines. The FBI raided Kurniawan’s Los Angeles home and found a complete lab for producing fraudulent wines.
In both cases, questionable wines were vetted by top auction houses and connoisseurs. Wine professionals waxed ecstatic over these old wines, and rich collectors paid out the wazoo for them.
In their defense, the New York indictment describes Kurniawan as “a wizard at concocting fake wines by mixing and matching younger, less valuable wines that mimicked the taste, color and character of rare and expensive wines.
Given these scenarios, I cautiously relate the following tale. In July 2010, news outlets reported a rare find by seven Swedish divers, who discovered a cache of 30 ancient bottles off the Finnish Aland Islands at a shipwreck site 200 feet down on the ocean floor.
A dive instructor brought up a single bottle, hoping to determine the age of the wreck. Upon opening, the bottle contained sweet champagne tasting of oak and tobacco.
The wine was thought to be from the Champagne house of Veuve Clicquot, founded in 1772. Divers believed this cache might have been destined for Imperial Russia, sent by King Louis XVI of France.
The oldest known bottle of champagne still in existence is a bottle of Perrier-Jouët from 1825.
These found bottles could have dated from the 1780s. A wine still drinkable at this age is remarkably rare. Its drinkability was attributed to ideal preservation conditions on the dark, cold floor of the Baltic Sea.
The first bottle, believed to be Veuve Clicquot, was auctioned by New York auction house Acker, Merrall and Condit last June. It was snapped up by an anonymous bidder in Singapore who paid around $40,000.
The same bidder paid around $30,000 for an earlier offering of a single bottle of Juglar, a now defunct champagne house. The cache at the time of the auction was said to be 148 bottles.
Chairman of the UK’s Joint Nautical Archaeology Policy Committee, Robert Yorke has replied to an article in the Sunday Times, which the paper ran on May 17, called “Guns and Glory”.
He is critical of Odyssey Marine, the team that was forced away from a joint project with MoD to recover treasure from HMS Sussex off Gibraltar, because of Spanish pressure..
The article had stated that “Odyssey Marine scours the ocean more efficiently and stands to profit more handsomely”, by selling coins and artefacts from the wreck of HMS Victory which sank in 1744. It also posed the question, “Is that really so unfair?”
In his reply Mr Yorke said, “Of course it is unfair. It deprives ours and future generations from seeing the full grandeur of the ship’s 100 bronze cannons and its full collection of artefacts (including any coins that may be found) properly conserved and displayed in one place, such as the Mary Rose Museum.”
His letter explains that this is because the collection will be spread all around the world as Odyssey Marine sells off artefacts to reimburse its costs.
He then questions the fact that that sort of practice is not allowed on land excavations so why should it be allowed underwater ?
He wrote, “Long-term visitor income from a future Victory museum should not be sacrificed for short-term greed and one-off financial gain.”
He also writes that in his opinion, “Just as importantly, the Maritime Heritage Foundation, to which the Ministry of Defence has given the wreck and to which Odyssey Marine is a sub-contractor, is under a duty to work in accordance with the rules of the Annex of the Unesco Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage 2001.”
The Annex, which the UK Government has accepted as its policy for historic wrecks, states that wrecks should not be exploited for commercial gain and artefacts should not be sold off.
Concluding his letter, Mr Yorke wrote, “If the MoD were to allow the Maritime Heritage Foundation and Odyssey Marine to sell off Victory’s artefacts, not only would it be in breach of UK government policy, it would also set a precedent for treasure hunters worldwide to finance the excavation of historic wrecks by selling off their contents.
And we do not want that.”
From Sydney Morning Herald
Nobody knows what's buried on Oak Island in Mahone Bay, nor does anybody know who put it there. Nobody knows if the Money Pit, as it has come to be called, hides the lost jewels of Marie Antoinette, though some have suggested as much.
It has been excavated sporadically - and unsuccessfully - since 1795. Some have argued that the pit holds documentary proof that Francis Bacon wrote Shakespeare's plays.
If it wasn't for booby traps (with six fatalities to date), Canada could finally pin this great mystery on Freemasons, the Knights Templar or Sir Francis Drake.
Even Captain Kidd has been fingered as a possible culprit: perhaps pirates, returning to the Caribbean by way of the Gulf Stream, stopped off in Nova Scotia to hide their booty, like dogs hiding a bone, on the edge of the northern Atlantic.
Spanish scissors and coconut fibres have been found in the pit - odd, given that the closest coconut tree is more than 2000 kilometres away.
The chairman of the Friends of Oak Island Society, Charles Barkhouse, remains unconvinced by the Captain Kidd theory.
"No pirate did this because it's a massive feat of engineering," he tells me one morning when I stop to see the island, closed to visitors though clearly visible from the shore.
"Still, somebody went to a lot of trouble to bury something of great value out there."
Maybe he's right, along with past believers such as Errol Flynn, who tried to scour the island in 1940 until he discovered that search rights already belonged to John Wayne. Maybe, on Oak Island, the two unknowns of "who" and "what" really do equal something incredible.
By Stella Tsolakidou - Greek Reporter
One of the oldest submerged archaeological town sites in the world is located underwater off the coast of southern Lakonia in Greece.
BBC Two follows the workings of a group of experts from the UK and Greece to digitally re-create and bring the sunken city to light with the help of hi-tech equipment and programs.
In 2009, the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture, the Hellenic Center for Maritime Research and the University of Nottingham under a British School of Archaeology at Athens, began a 5-year collaborative project to outline the history and development of the submerged ancient town of Pavlopetri.
Over the coming years, the Pavlopetri Underwater Archaeology Project aims to establish when the site was occupied, what it was used for and, through a systematic study of the geomorphology of the area, how the town and the Elaphonisos Strait became submerged.
Having an almost complete town plan, including streets, buildings, and tombs, Pavlopetri was discovered in 1967 by Nicholas Flemming and mapped in 1968 by a team of archaeologists from Cambridge.
It has at least 15 buildings submerged in three to four meters of water.
From Paul Fraser Collectibles
The Apollo 11 mission was a milestone for mankind, and it inspires collectors to this day...
This week a story caught my eye that, to me, says everything about the power of historic memorabilia.
In 1969 a five-year old boy by the name of Jeff Bezos sat in front of the television with his family and, along with 530 million people around the world, watched as Neil Armstrong took his "one small step" onto the surface of the Moon.
As NASA's chief historian Steven Dick commented in an interview with National Geographic magazine; "Putting a man on the moon not only inspired the nation, but also the world."
It certainly inspired Jeff Bezos.
"Millions of people were inspired by the Apollo Program. I was five years old when I watched Apollo 11 unfold on television, and without any doubt it was a big contributor to my passions for science, engineering, and exploration."
If the name Jeff Bezos sounds familiar to you, there's a good reason - in 1994 he took his experience as a computer analyst on Wall Street and founded an online retail business called Amazon.
The rest, as they say, is history.
But the power of watching the Apollo 11 mission stayed with him, as it has stayed with millions of others who watched it live. And it turned into a life-long passion which led him to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.
A journey into the deep...
In 2011 Bezos decided to mount a search for the five enormous F-1 Rocket engines which launched Apollo 11 in such spectacular style. T
They detached from the ship and plunged back to earth just a few minutes later, lost in the ocean as Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins headed off to their date with destiny.
Photo Antonie Robertson
By Colin Simpson - The National
A pearl diver wearing the traditional, light-coloured costume used by generations of Emirati treasure hunters reaches out for an oyster shell on the seabed off Jebel Ali.
Only his modern diving mask shows that the scene did not take place many decades ago, before the pearl industry collapsed in the 1930s.
It actually happened yesterday, thanks to a new initiative by the Emirates Marine Environmental Group (Emeg) and Jumeirah.
From tomorrow, members of the public can take part in a traditional pearl diving trip on a dhow, using authentic clothing and techniques.
Pearls were gathered in the Gulf for centuries and the industry was the only source of income for the seven emirates. But the development of much cheaper cultured pearls in Japan killed off the trade.
The new venture intends to draw attention to this important part of the UAE's heritage.
"This is a great thing. If you don't think about your traditions, you will lose all your future," said Major Ali Saqar Al Suweidi, the president of Emeg and the son and grandson of pearl divers. He said the Gulf's oyster beds had deteriorated greatly since the end of pearl diving.
"The old people believe that the oyster is like a plant," he said. "If you cut the plant it comes again, but if you leave it then it will be destroyed. This is what has happened - I've dived at many places and there are not as many oysters as before.
"I teach children to pearl dive. One said, 'I can't go pearl diving because a shark will eat me', and his grandfather was a pearl diver. I taught him, and in the end he loved pearl diving. This is in their blood."
At the industry's peak there were 500 pearl diving boats in Dubai and the fleet spent three months at sea each summer without returning to port.
By Graham Smith - Daily mail
It may look like an alien life-form has washed up on a beach, but this striking neon blue effect is a completely natural phenomenon.
The incredible image was taken by photographer Doug Perrine during a visit to Vaadhoo, one of the Raa Atoll islands in the Maldives.
It captures a natural chemical reaction called bioluminescence, which occurs when a micro-organism in the water is disturbed by oxygen.
Although a rare sight on a shoreline, the phenomenon is more commonly seen at sea in the wake of ships that stir up the oxygen in the sea, which causes the bioluminescent bacteria to glow.
Many undersea organisms ‘glow’, especially creatures that live at depths where light from the surface is less likely to penetrate. The night-time glow is a side-effect of blooming red algae, known as red tide, which can turn entire beaches scarlet and murky during the day.
By Robin Mckie - The Guardian
Trawlerman Dennis Hunt was crossing Colwyn Bay in his boat in 1995 when its nets snagged on the seabed.
Unable to free them, Hunt contacted diver Keith Hurley, who swam 60ft down to the sea floor – and found that the nets were caught on a rusting submarine's conning tower.
Hunt and Hurley had found the Resurgam, one of Britain's first submarines, which sank in 1880. It was a key historical discovery but certainly not a first for fishermen.
Every day hundreds of items, ranging from Spitfire engines to ancient stone tools, are dragged up by fishing vessels while wreck sites are revealed after nets become snagged on sunken craft.
As fishing intensifies, more discoveries are being made this way, a process that threatens to run out of control. As a result, English Heritage will launch a pilot scheme this month that aims to keep in order the avalanche of historical finds now produced by our fishermen.
"There are about 46,000 recorded shipwrecks, crashed aircraft and sites of archaeological finds in English waters that we know of," said archaeologist Simon Davidson. "However, these recorded sites only make up about 10% of the total down there, we estimate."
In addition, it is reckoned that, in the second world war alone, 13,000 aircraft were lost in UK waters, including the plane that carried the American swing band leader Glenn Miller on a flight that disappeared, presumed lost in action, on 15 December 1944.
"This collection of lost ships and aircraft represents an enormous historical resource," said Davidson. "Certainly, given its size, it is not surprising so many items get dredged up by fishermen."
The pilot scheme will be in Sussex. About 400 fishing boats sail from its nine ports and every day about half of these craft dredge up a historical item.
Leaflets about the scheme, which will be administered with the help of Sussex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority, will provide fishermen with the details of those to contact after a find is made and provide information about salvage rights. The scheme, if successful, will be spread throughout the country.
From EScience News
Salt beef, sea biscuits and the occasional weevil; the food endured by sailors during the Napoleonic wars is seldom imagined to be appealing.
Now a new chemical analysis technique has allowed archaeologists to find out just how dour the diet of Georgian sailors really was.
The team's findings, published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology also reveal how little had changed for sailors in the 200 years between the Elizabethan and Georgian eras.
The research, led by Professor Mark Pollard from the University of Oxford, focused on bones from 80 sailors who served from the mid-seventeenth to the mid-eighteenth centuries and were buried in Royal Naval Hospital cemeteries in Plymouth and Portsmouth.
"An isotopic analysis of bone collagen from the recovered skeletons allowed us to reconstruct average dietary consumption," said Dr Pollard. "By comparing these findings to primary documentary evidence we can build a more accurate picture of life in Nelson's navy."
In the late 18th century the Royal Navy employed 70,000 seamen and marines. Feeding so many men was a huge logistical challenge requiring strictly controlled diets including flour, oatmeal, suet, cheese, dried pork, beer, salted cod and ships biscuits when at sea.
The team's analysis shows that the diet of the sailors was consistent with contemporary documentary records such as manifests and captain's logs.
As well as validating the historical interpretation of sailors' diets, this finding has implications for the amount of marine protein which can be isotopically detected in human diets.
The bones in Portsmouth were also able to show where the sailors had served. The team's results show that even when serving in naval theaters ranging from the UK and English Channel to the West Indies or the Mediterranean, the sailors converged in dietary terms into a 'naval average', due to the strict consistency of diet.
The results also showed that sailors in buried in Plymouth spent more time off the American coast than those buried at Portsmouth, which is consistent with the sailing records.
By Molly Mosher - The Walton Sun
Before La Vie Est Belle’s pearl and leather jewelry was famed along County Road 30A, the shop’s shipwreck coins were altering the course of history.
Owner and local artist Wendy Mignot has been crafting pearl and leather jewelry since 1994, but did not start pairing the pieces with shipwreck and ancient coins until 2008, giving customers a beautiful opportunity to wear history.
The coins are sourced from shipwrecks and from ancient times, and are all authentic and guaranteed.
La Vie Est Belle manager Aimee Alderson says some of her favorite salvaged coins come from the ship El Cazador, which went down in the Gulf of Mexico in 1784.
The ship was commissioned by Monarch Philip III of Spain and was traveling from Vera Cruz, Mexico, to the Louisiana Territory to stabilize the Spanish monetary system there.
Laden with 450,000 pesos of silver reales, the ship sank for unknown reasons.
Spain lost its hold on the Louisiana territory, and the land was sold to France’s Napoleon. France was also unable to financially support the colony.
“For that reason, France sold the Louisiana territory to the United States,” said Alderson of our 1803 acquisition.
Another of the treasure troves from which La Vie Est Belle sources its coins is the 1681 shipwreck of Santa Maria de la Consolacion, also a Spanish galleon.
Captained by a man named Sharpe, the ship was pursued by pirates, and eventually ran aground on a reef on Isla de la Muerto near Guayaquil, Ecuador.
To thwart the pirates’ efforts, Sharpe evacuated his crew and set the ship aflame. Rumor has it the island where the ship ran aground is called “The Island of the Dead” because the pirates, in anger, killed the crew members.
Now coins from the berths of the two ships have been given new life by Wendy, who sets them in golden bezels.
By Yasmin Popescu - The Freeport News
Hearing about pirates of long ago some assume that they no longer exist.
But, The Bahamas recently worked on laws to fight piracy which would mean that we are at possible risk.
And while some feel that the thought of treasure maps and seeking treasures in our waters are as far fetched as the finding of Atlantis, we may find ourselves in for a bit of a shock.
The Bahamas' very history tells of ships that sank off its shores laden with gold and silver headed to the old world, even right off the shores of Grand Bahama.
The only Bahamian Archeologist, Michael Pateman recently spoke to the Rotary Club of Lucaya about the Antiquities Act and its importance to the country, at which time he also told of pirates who have been in our waters attempting to bring up treasure and removing it from the country unnoticed.
Pateman noted that in the past persons would come into the country asking for permission to salvage wrecks, on which they would find many items which would leave the country without anything coming to the country.
By Eric Pfeiffer - The Sideshow
A team of salvage divers has discovered an unexplained object resting at the bottom of the Baltic Sea near Sweden.
"This thing turned up. My first reaction was to tell the guys that we have a UFO here on the bottom," said Peter Lindberg, the leader of the amateur treasure hunters.
Sonar readings show that the mysterious object is about 60 meters across, or, about the size of a jumbo jet. And it's not alone.
Nearby on the sea floor is another, smaller object with a similar shape. Even more fascinating, both objects have "drag marks" behind them on the sea floor, stretching back more than 400 feet.
"Could this be the Star Wars Millenium Falcon, a plug to an inner world or a marine version of Stonehenge?" asks CNN's Brooke Bowman:
Well, it could just be another shipwreck. Or, mud.
But Lindberg says the ship theory doesn't really hold up because of the unusually large size of the objects.
"Of course it would be something from another ship but it's quite big," he told CNN. Lindberg notes that some observers have speculated that the objects may be Russian warships built around the end of the 1800's.
However, Lindberg points out that not only were those ships much smaller, they were not patrolling the Baltic during that era.
By Thomas Spencer - The Birmingham News
A battle over historic artifacts hidden below the surface of Alabama's rivers, lakes and bays is surfacing in advance of the opening of Legislature's 2012 regular session on Feb. 7.
Sen. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, has introduced a bill to amend the Alabama Cultural Resources Act, a law that requires underwater explorers to get a permit from the Alabama Historical Commission before going after submerged wrecks and relics.
In Ward's version, the law would still require permits for recovery of artifacts related to shipwrecks and would forbid disturbing Native American burial sites. But treasure hunters would otherwise be able to search state waters and keep what they find.
"The waters, just like the air, belong to the people," said Steve Phillips, an advocate for the changes to the law. Phillips, an owner of Southern Skin Divers Supply Company of Birmingham, is the only person to ever have been arrested under the Alabama Cultural Resources Act.
At trial, Phillips was found not guilty of felony theft of a cultural resource but was convicted of misdemeanor third-degree theft. The charge stemmed from Phillips' 2003 expedition in the Alabama River near Selma in search of Civil War relics, which ended with his arrest and the confiscation of a Civil War era rifle he'd found.
The incident sparked a still simmering conflict pitting Phillips and his fellow divers and collectors against the state Historical Commission and professional archaeologists who fear that removing the restrictions would lead to raids on underwater historic sites.
Aside from the protection of burial sites, there are no restrictions on the recovery of historic artifacts on private property, but artifacts on state-owned property -- whether on land or under water - should not be available for wanton scavenging, opponents of the changes say.
Teresa Paglione, president of the Alabama Archaeological Society, said without legal protections, artifacts from the Civil War, the settlement of the state, the age of European exploration and thousands of years of Native American history could be extracted, kept privately or sold, and lost to history.
Those artifacts in state waters belong to all the people of the state, Paglione said.
By Neil Hartnell
A leading Bahamian law firm yesterday told Tribune Business that an wreck salvaging industry worth potentially "hundreds of millions of dollars" might have been unleashed by law changes passed this week, disclosing that it had been contacted by "three-four major salvage groups" already.
The Bahamian law firm, well-known to Tribune Business but requesting anonymity because it wanted to protect clients still in the infancy of their exploration discussions, said amendments to the Antiquities, Monuments and Museums Bill passed by the House of Assembly had paved the way for a sector that could create numerous tourism and cultural spin-offs.
The firm was meeting with one party interested in salvage/excavation opportunities in Bahamian waters in Miami yesterday, and said it was "sure" the amendments - which lay out the statutory framework governing such operations in this nation's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) - would "encourage a broad-based, viable and sustainable industry, centred in, and around, the northern Bahamas, Little Bahama Bank and the island of Grand Bahama, in particular".
Confirming it had suggested the 75/25 profit split between excavator and government, based on points, for each artifact discovered in Bahamian waters, a top partner at the law firm, speaking to Tribune Business on condition of anonymity, said: "We've had a number of calls from international treasure salvagers who are keenly interested in salvaging the Bahamas, and have been keen to do so for many years.
"This interest goes back for at least five years. We've heard of at least two wrecks. We'd say it could possibly be an industry in the hundreds of millions. It has terrific touristic and cultural potential.
"We've already had interest from three or four major groups, and we think more will come. There's said to be 200 wrecks around Grand Bahama alone."
Wreck exploration and salvaging, and the prospect of finding valuable artifacts, could be another potential economic sector for a Bahamian economy desperately in need of diversification and new revenue/employment sources.
A moratorium on such activities had been in place for several years, and that - coupled with uncertainty over the legal, regulatory and profit-sharing regime governing it - had deterred major international salvagers from dipping their toe into the Bahamian market.
Given this nation's position at the heart of the Caribbean, Atlantic and Florida waterways, and rich history (having been discovered by Christopher Columbus, and later used as a piracy bolt-hole), it would seem likely there are numerous wrecks in deep-lying Bahamian waters.
"It could have great touristic spin-offs and job spin-offs, not only on the boats," the law firm's leading partner told Tribune Business. "You set up a processing centre, where you clean and certify artifacts. That's an industry by itself."
The attorney said many Bahamians had made money by salvaging wrecks they knew about, referring to one now-deceased Abaconian who had known the whereabouts of a major wreck, and had been able to recover gold coins and other valuable artifacts.
That, though, had reached the stage where major heavy-duty equipment was required to complete any further salvage.
From Fox News
About 120 survivors of the Dec. 7, 1941, bombing of Pearl Harbor observed a moment of silence to commemorate the Japanese attack and the thousands who lost their lives that day 70 years ago Wednesday.
The moment of silence came just before 8 a.m. local time, when the first Japanese planes launched their attack. The survivors were joined by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, military leaders and civilians at a ceremony in Pearl Harbor.
Altogether 3,000 people attended the event at a site overlooking the sunken USS Arizona and the white memorial that straddles the battleship.
President Obama hailed veterans of the bombing in a statement proclaiming Wednesday as "National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day."
"Their tenacity helped define the Greatest Generation and their valor fortified all who served during World War II. As a nation, we look to December 7, 1941, to draw strength from the example set by these patriots and to honor all who have sacrificed for our freedoms," he said.
Also this week, five ash scattering and interment ceremonies are being held for five survivors whose cremated remains are returning to Pearl Harbor after their deaths.
On Tuesday, an urn containing the ashes of Lee Soucy was placed on his battleship, the USS Utah, which is lying on its side near the place where it sank. The ashes of Vernon Olsen, who was on the Arizona during the attack, will be placed on his ship late Wednesday.
The U.S. lost 12 vessels that day, but the Arizona and the Utah are the only ones still sitting in the harbor. The attack brought the United States into World War II.
The ashes of three other survivors will be scattered in the water in separate ceremonies this week.
By Dan Linehan - Monterey County Weekly
“Life support is functional,” says pilot Tym Catterson into the hydrophone.
“We are ready to dive, dive, dive. Over.”
The message travels through the water as sound waves from the little yellow submarine Antipodes to the support vessel Kraken, the same way whales communicate with each other.
Catterson opens a bank of valves, and water floods the ballast tanks as air blows out, escaping to the surface in bubbles the size of jellyfish. Antipodes plunges downward.
It reaches the sea floor, a depth of 60 feet, in two minutes. It will remain submerged for nearly two hours.
“It’s primal,” Catterson says. “You are going back to the sea. It’s kinda where we came from such a long time ago.”
He’s also going back to a shipwreck covered by starfish, spider crabs and the occasional octopus. Sealife thrives around this artificial reef off of San Carlos Beach, known to local underwater explorers only as the “barge,” 600 feet from the breakwater.
So does a marine mystery: What is a barge doing there ? When did it sink ? Why did it sink ? Was it even a barge ?
By diving where the sun’s rays hardly penetrate, though, things get a little clearer.
Normally a favorite destination of local scuba drivers, the sunken barge received a number of visits this fall from a less common kind of swimmer: Antipodes, a 7-ton, 15-foot-long leviathan carrying as many as five submariners at a time, uses six electric motors to cruise along the seafloor.
Antipodes is like a giant tube with 5-foot wide viewing domes capping off each end.
Looking outside is like watching from inside a fishbowl. When a fish swims at it head-on, then stops right in front of the dome I’m in, it stares straight at me with bulging eyes. Its face seems to read, “What the heck are you and what the heck are you doing here?”
Powerful LED floodlights illuminate an area within 15 feet of the submersible. As a result, not much of the wreckage can be seen at any one time. Scuba divers get even less of a view since they are more limited by lesser lights.
Photo Boonchob Vijarnsorn
By Scott Marshutz - San Clemente Times
In August of 2010, I signed up as a volunteer diver for the annual Dana Point Harbor cleanup. While I was picking up my gear, one of the guys at the dive shop asked me if I was interested in diving a wreck just a few miles outside of the harbor. I was curious. There’s a wreck outside the harbor ?
The following day, my wife Linda and I joined several other divers on the newly launched Riviera and headed out. The dive master had only bits and pieces of the wreck’s history, but after we descended to 114 feet we realized the vessel wasn’t sunk to create an artificial reef; it was an accident and we wondered what happened.
It’s a story about how a seemingly routine fishing trip goes horribly wrong and a prime example of why commercial fishing continues to be one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States, according to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health’s Commercial Fishing Incident Database.
But in this case, luck trumps death and serious injury.
This week marks six years since the A.C.E.’s sinking, and the boat has begun a new chapter, attracting sport fishermen and divers alike.
Completely intact and resting on her portside with her mast pointing away from shore, an ecosystem is thriving on the vessel. It’s rich with strawberry and white-plume anemones. Bass are abundant and what looks like rust in several areas are a large number of rockfish that literally carpet portions of the deck.
Back at home that afternoon, I fired up my laptop and searched the Internet. In seconds, several articles popped up about the ship’s sinking and its dramatic rescue.
Early in the morning on November 26, 2005, the A.C.E., a 58-foot drum seiner, was en route to the harbor after a night of bait fishing. The forecast for the area northwest of Oceanside called for strong offshore winds starting after midnight, which kicked up a sharp and quick chop producing vertically shaped waves breaking only seconds apart, according to interviews with crew and news and weather reports.
As the A.C.E. headed on a northeasterly course, the swells, some as high as eight to 10 feet, began slamming its portside. Compounding the problem was a suspect deck hatch, also on the vessel’s portside, recalled crewmembers.
The only access point to check if water was leaking into the compartment was through the hatch itself. But with a foot of water covering it, there was no way the crew could open it without getting washed off the deck.
After more than an hour of relentless pounding, the boat started to submarine itself, and the list was becoming more radical as the boat ran in the trough.
From Scarborough Evening News
A ceremony will be held today to mark the 150th anniversary of one of Scarborough’s most famous shipwrecks.
Five volunteers died during the rescue attempt of the Coupland on November 2 1861 – including Lord Charles Beauclerk, who was swept to his death in the icy waters after he leapt into the north sea in a desperate attempt to save the crew of Scarborough’s first RNLI lifeboat, Amelia.
Now, a century-and-a-half later, the nobleman is set to be honoured by his descendants when his decaying pauper’s grave is replaced with a new headstone in recognition of his bravery.
His great grandson, John Beauclerk, is travelling to Scarborough to lay a wreath to all five men in remembrance of the anniversary, and the plaque will be revealed as part of a special programme of events, hosted by the RNLI, which will mark the anniversary.
John Porter, a spokesman for Scarborough Lifeboat, said: “Scarborough has had many tragedies at sea over the years, with lifeboat crew being lost on several occasions. Each year we hold a memorial service at St Mary’s Church to commemorate the men who have given the ultimate sacrifice and it’s fitting that on the 150th anniversary of the death of Lord Beauclerk that his courageous actions are remembered in this way.”
The Coupland was trying to enter Scarborough harbour when her sails were disabled and she was forced onto rocks, leading to the death of five volunteers during the rescue attempt when the vessel struck the lifeboat.
By Chris Summers - BBC News
It is 10 years since a deal to protect the world's thousands of shipwrecks, but the UK and several other major maritime powers are yet to ratify it. Should this underwater heritage be protected or is it acceptable to plunder ?
When a ship sinks and lives are lost, it is a tragedy for the families involved.
For the relatives of the dead, the ship becomes an underwater grave but as the years pass the wreck can become a site of archaeological interest.
In recent years technological innovations have allowed commercial archaeologists, decried by some as "treasure hunters", to reach wrecks far below the surface.
The most famous of them all, the Titanic, is more than four miles down and to get there as film director James Cameron has shown, involves using "robot" divers which are prohibitively expensive - around $50,000 (£32,000) a day.
Salvage firms are most interested in ships with cargoes of gold and silver, ceramics or other valuables.
In November 2001, the Unesco Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage was finally adopted.
But 10 years on, it still has not been ratified by the UK, France, Russia, China or the US, and commercial archaeologists continue to locate wrecks, remove their cargoes and sell them off.
"The convention has not been ratified yet because of the issues it throws up about the cost of implementing and policing it," a spokesman for the UK Department for Culture, Media and Sport, says. "Discussions continue within government, but ratification is not currently seen as a priority."
In September Britain's Department of Transport announced it had signed a deal with Odyssey Marine Exploration for the salvage of 200 tonnes of silver, worth up to £150m, from the SS Gairsoppa, which was sunk by a German U-Boat in 1941.
The British government will get 20% of whatever Odyssey recovers but Unesco says the deal broke the spirit of the convention.
When two Swedish treasure hunters went out in June this year searching for ancient bottles of champagne in shipwrecks in the Baltic Sea, they found more than they’d bargained for.
Dennis Åsberg and Peter Lindberg didn’t find any champagne, they found something else.
[Peter Lindberg, The Ocean Explorer Team]:
“I magnified it, looked at it and realized that this is very unusual, in my years as a treasure hunter I have many hours in front of the sonar, I've never seen anything like it.”
A huge disc-shaped object showed up in their sonar pictures 197 feet in diameter, as big as a jumbo jet.
On the sonar it looked like a point of impact, as though something had hit the ocean floor, continuing 4000 feet, creating a track before it came to a halt. It had dug into the sea bed making a sand bar on its right side.
The object is about 275 feet deep, the Baltic sea floor is dead with no underwater currents to create such sandbars.
Recently another object was found about 500 feet from the mysterious disc.
According to Peter this object comes from the same direction as the disc and could be a part of it.
Sonar shows the objects are made of hard material. It could be something like hard concrete, hard granite or of some kind of metals.
The two explorers have been in contact with many experts around the world and no one can say what it is.
By Brock Vergakis - Muscatine Journal
Nearly 70 years after Capt. Anders Johanson was killed during World War II off the coast of North Carolina, his family is getting ready to finally pay their last respects.
Johanson was aboard an oil tanker making its way from Texas to New Jersey when a German U-boat fired three torpedoes at the Dixie Arrow on March 26, 1942, bursting thousands of barrels of oil aboard the ship into flames off of North Carolina's Outer Banks. His family will revisit the site of the wreckage Wednesday.
Survivors of the blast who were brought to Norfolk after being plucked from the sea told reporters at the time that Johanson survived long enough to order boats and life rafts launched _ which helped save 22 members of the 33-man-crew _ before being engulfed in searing flames as the ship sank. His body was never recovered.
More than half a century later, his family is still trying to come to terms with his death.
"He stopped in Jacksonville (Fla.) and asked for a destroyer escort and the destroyer came out and said, `Sorry brother, everything's OK. Don't worry about it," said Johanson's grandson, Dale Revels of Orlando, Fla., who along with his mother and uncle will be visiting the wreckage site for the first time as the guests of federal researchers examine World War II wrecks.
"It was basically a personality failure of the American Navy."
Johanson never received the public recognition that so many others who lost their lives in World War II did. There was no funeral for his wife and two young children to honor the Swedish immigrant, who was on his last cruise for the Merchant Marine before rejoining his family in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Johanson's family struggled in the chaos after his death. They were uprooted from New York and had to stay with family in Beaumont, Texas before a family death there left them with no home. They stayed at boarding home in New Orleans before eventually moving in with other family in Belleview, Fla., where questions for the newcomers were constant.
"When I was going through high school, I didn't have a father. During that time everybody seemed to have a mother and a father and people would ask me, `Where's your father?'" said Johanson's daughter, Jeanne Johanson Revels, now 83 and living in Port Orange, Fla.
"They had this big campaign about loose lips sink ships in 1942 during World War II. Those two men came to see my mother said we couldn't say anything about it. I guess it was classified information and you couldn't talk about it at all."
By Kathy Ochiai - Newport Beach Patch
In the film Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, Orlando Bloom's character Will Turner states, "I'm not obsessed with treasure." Scuba divers off the coast of Laguna Beach might feel the same way as they spend days looking for "golden bars" placed by the Sport Chalet sporting goods chain as part of their annual treasure hunt.
Six of these bars have been hidden in various locations. The "golden bars" are actually T-bar weights painted gold, but they represent Sport Chalet gift cards worth $1,000, $3,000 or $5,000.
Three bars were placed off the coast of Southern California, and two have been found. Two other found bars were placed in Northern California and Arizona.
This leaves one bar unfound as of the posting of this article (Aug. 3). Which is why yesterday on Wednesday divers were stacked up like planes over LAX off the coast of Laguna Beach. They were searching for the remaining Sport Chalet "treasure bar."
Laguna Sea Dwellers Sherri Cubillos and Russ Follmer brought their friend and "rogue diver" Daniel O'Hara out to give the treasure hunt a try.
"We’re just going for our regular dive, but we know about the gold bar and we know that there’s one left because someone found the one at Shelly," Cubillos said, referring to the three-foot statue imbedded in the sand in about 30 feet of water off Shaw's Cove.
Swedish sea treasure hunters have found something extraordinary: A 60-foot disc sunk in the bottom of the ocean, with what appears to be 985-foot-long impact tracks leading to it.
The team leader never found anything like it: You see a lot of weird stuff in this job but during my 18 years as a professional I have never seen anything like this. The shape is completely round… a circle.
Those are the words of Peter Lindberg, commander of the Ocean Explorer. He and his team found the strange disc on June 19 2011, at 285 feet below the surface of the Botnia Gulf, which is located somewhere between Finland and Sweden in the Baltic.
The Ocean Explorer is not a team of crazy UFO hunters, but a company that finds sunken ships and retrieve their contents for profit.
In 1997 they found the ship Jönköping, which was loaded by 2.500 bottles of an amazing champagne: Heidsieck&Co Monopole 1907 "Gout Americain" dedicated to the Russian Imperial Fleet. They sold those bottles for $13,000 a pop.
Linberg is not claiming this is a UFO but the appearance of the sonar image is leading some people to believe it's a crashed object either made by humans or—dun dun DUN—aliens. I look at the images and all I can think about is "someone get Chewie and Han's bodies out of there."
By Shawn J. Soper - The Dispatch
A local girl with a penchant for collecting sea glass made a rare discovery last week when she uncovered a centuries-old coin dating back to 1655 in the dune on the beach in Fenwick Island.
Last weekend, 9-year-old Ella Peters was combing the beach in Fenwick when she came across a rather rare find, an old coin dating back to 1655 that likely washed ashore sometime in the last 350 years or so.
From a young age, Bishopville resident Ella Peters has had a fascination with beach combing and collecting sea glass, according to her mother, Gretchen Peters.
Ella received a metal detector for Christmas this year, but wasn’t utilizing her new equipment last weekend when she uncovered the old 1655 coin buried in the sand in the dune on the beach in Fenwick.
“She was combing the beach and uncovered what looked like at first like an old bracelet,” said Gretchen Peters this week. “It had a lot of rust on it and we couldn’t make out what it was at first.”
Ella and her mother took the odd discovery to the nearby DiscoverSea Museum in Fenwick, which houses a vast collection of old coins and other artifacts from centuries of shipwrecks off the Maryland and Delaware coasts.
Museum proprietor Dale Clifton, who has seen more than his share of old shipwreck artifacts, submerged Ella’s find in a solution to remove rust and centuries worth of decay to reveal an old coin clearly dated 1655 that had attached itself to a piece of wire, likely from the same shipwreck.
“Ella lit up like a light bulb when the object was cleaned and turned out to be a very, very old coin,” said Gretchen Peters this week. “It was clearly dated 1655. We’re going to take it to a gentleman who collects coins to find out what it’s worth, but I don’t think she’ll give it up no matter what he tells us.”
Ella, an avid collector at age nine, is also not about to give up the location of the find.
“She said she doesn’t want to disclose the exact location because she intends to go back and search it again,” said Gretchen Peters. “It’s like she wants to stake a claim to the area where she found it.”
Clifton said Ella’s find itself was not entirely unusual in an area with dozens of known shipwrecks dating back to the 1600s, but the way she found it was what made the discovery so special.
“It’s really incredible that she found it just sifting through the sand close to the surface without the use of a metal detector,” he said. “What makes it really special is the idea that Ella might be the first person to have touched that coin in 350-plus years.”
By Matthew Sturdevant - Hartford Courant
Faye Keith Jolly of Deerfield Beach, Fla., applied for a $10 million life insurance policy with a division of The Phoenix Cos. Inc. in the winter of 2007.
He was 73 at the time, though Jolly claimed to be of healthy, athletic stock. He wrote a letter to the Hartford insurer saying his father had been a Chicago White Sox catcher and his mother an Olympic swimmer.
But by far the most impressive detail of his application was his purported net worth, $1.2 billion -- and the nature of his assets.
Jolly claimed he had 10,920 pounds of uncut emeralds that he recovered 15 years earlier from a sunken Spanish vessel in the Gulf of Mexico -- worth a cool $800 million. The other $400 million was in a trust, he explained in his application to PHL Variable Insurance Co.
Phoenix approved Jolly's policy in March 2007 after the company received reassurance from an independent agent and from the trustee of his trust that Jolly's claims were legitimate.
Then, just as time was running out for the insurer to contest Jolly's application, Phoenix sued Jolly in October 2008 in an Atlanta federal court.
In the same action, Phoenix also sued the trust that would have received the money when Jolly died, and the trustee.
Phoenix alleged negligent misrepresentation, fraud and conspiracy. The company asked for payment for damages as well as attorneys' fees. In the end, the insurer did not have to pay out the $10 million Jolly's policy was worth when Jolly died on Feb. 6 of this year.
But the fight continues over premium money Jolly paid, as well as damages and other costs. And the far-fetched story of Jolly's emeralds is bringing a colorful sparkle to an otherwise drab corner of law and insurance.
The court battle involves allegedly forged appraisals, a history of plundered mines in Colombia's Andes Mountains that dates to the 16th century, underwater Spanish galleons chock full of riches, a trail of claims by Jolly that quickly grow cold, a mystery about where premium payments were coming from and an Atlanta attorney who said he once saw Jolly show off buckets of green stones.
No one involved is talking publicly. But at the heart of the story, as pieced together through court records, is the question of how Phoenix could have approved the policy in the first place. Jolly's application contained wild discrepancies and claims, many easily debunked.
Jolly first sought Phoenix life insurance in 2006, court records show, but the company didn't act on it. Martin R. Wetzler, an independent insurance agent in Boca Raton, Fla., filed a new application for Jolly in February 2007, trumpeting the emeralds found in a sunken Spanish galleon.
By John Cousins - Bay of Plenty Times
An archeological survey of a 130-year-old shipwreck off the Western Bay of Plenty turned sour for a team of divers on Saturday after they encountered a hostile reception from fishermen.
The divers managed to map the stern half of the steamship, which sank in 1881, but not before the expedition suffered abuse from recreational fishers and had its seabed survey baselines hooked and dragged up.
The team, which underwent specialist archeological training for the mapping of the SS Taupo, was not expecting a hostile reception when the weather conditions finally improved enough to allow them to dive on the wreck.
SS Taupo settled on the sandy bottom of the Bay, 11km out from Tauranga Harbour's northern Bowentown entrance, after a patch to its hull failed to hold and it sank under tow between Tauranga and Auckland.
A member of the dive team and Tauranga photojournalist, Shane Wasik, said the day began badly when they arrived to find two boats on the wreck site.
After telling the fishermen they were there to perform a marine archeological project and would be putting down a number of divers on to the wreck, Mr Wasik said they were told where to go "in not so many words".
A number of other boats then turned up and started motoring around where the team was trying to set up the archeological grid, with two getting their anchors entwined before leaving soon after.
"Later in the day, one boat anchored right over the top of the divers and fished directly under their ascent line - despite our warnings.
"In the end, our baseline tape measure, which we were using to survey was caught by the fisherman's lines, pulled up, and so ruined one pair of divers' data.
Several submerged sections of a tomb built for the ancestors of Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) founder Zhu Yuanzhang recently resurfaced in east China's Jiangsu Province as the result of a severe drought that is still affecting the region.
Located on the west bank of Jiangsu's Hongze Lake, the tomb was built by Ming Dynasty emperor Zhu Yuanzhang in AD 1386 to honor his ancestors.
The mausoleum was flooded in 1680, when the Yellow River broke its banks, changed course and converged with the nearby Huai River.
A drought in the 1960s caused Hongze Lake's water level to drop, revealing external portions of the tomb as well as several stone statues. However, the tomb itself remained underwater.
Tales of a royal tomb buried under the lake traveled quickly among the lake's residents. The government considered sending archaeologists to investigate the lake, but the lake's residents voiced their opinion that it was better not to disturb the royal burial site. The tomb remained untouched.
The issue of preserving the tomb after uncovering it was another problem for the local government at that time, according to Hu Rensheng, head of a management committee for the newly-discovered tomb.
It was not until recently that local residents got to take their first look at the tomb, which hadn't seen the light of day in more than 300 years.
Stone arches and other parts of the tomb emerged on Thursday as the lake's water level continued to recede because of the recent drought. Local residents also got a look at a paved path leading to the tomb.
Although the majority of the tomb is still buried under the lake's muddy floor, the mere sight of the tomb's outer structure was enough to thrill local residents.
Photo Michelle McSorley
By Eric Dresden - The Saginaw News
Five Arthur Hill High School students are searching for shipwrecks in Lake Huron with the chief scientist who mapped the Titanic.
Thanks to “Project Shiphunt” at the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary in Alpena, sophomores Tiesha Anderson, James E. Willett and Yer Vang and juniors Tierrea Billings and Cody Frost are hunting for a shipwreck, investigating the identity of the ship and creating a 3-D documentation of it.
They will be on a ship throughout the next week, using computers to scour the lake’s floor.
“By exposing them to this aspect of science ... (it will) inspire them to take the technology to the next step and next generation,” said James Delgado, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration nautical archaeologist.
Delgado was also chief scientist for the mapping the Titanic shipwreck.
“We are giving them data and having them make decisions,” he said.
The fivesome won the opportunity after they expressed interest in it to a school counselor. They are searching for ships that sank from the 1830s through the 1930s.
The youths were the only students chosen from a statewide field of applicants seeking to embark on the shiphunt, said Safiya Mosley, spokeswoman for the Saginaw School District.
New York City-based Radical Media, a developer, producer and distributor of TV shows, selected the five youths from the Saginaw district, according to Mosley.
“This is going to be an internationally released documentary” played on the Science Channel, Mosley said.
“The equipment they’re using, the 3-D technology, is amazing,” Mosley added. “It’s the experience of a lifetime.”
By Trent Toone - Deseret News
Audiences clamor to see "Pirates of the Caribbean 4" in theaters today, they will meet a well-known, notorious high-seas villain with a cold and fearsome demeanor, clad in heavy black leather and with a braided black beard.
His name is Blackbeard, and his infamous, legendary reputation precedes him, right ?
"He had a really good press agent," says Lawrence Babits, a distinguished academic who teaches in the Department of History and Maritime Studies at East Carolina University, the home of the Pirates.
"There is no evidence that he killed anybody until his final flight, when people were trying to kill him," he said. "You can create an image of terror and mayhem and everything, then people are liable to bend and let you have your way."
Apparently, Blackbeard is not who we thought he was.
Babits and his colleague, Charles Ewen, a professor of anthropology at ECU in Greenville, N.C., are among many who are excavating the shipwreck of the Queen Anne's Revenge, believed to be Blackbeard's flagship that ran aground in shallow water offshore North Carolina in the early 1700s.
Who was Blackbeard ?
"Nobody knows much about him," Babits said. "We don't even know what his real name is."
Here is what is known about the famed pirate, according to the experts.
His is commonly known as "Edward Teach" or "Thatch." He is reported to have served as a privateer during Queen Anne's War (1701-1714), then turned pirate.
Sometime in the fall of 1717, Blackbeard and other pirates captured a French slave ship called La Concorde. The slaves and crew were released on shore, and many believe this ship was remodeled with extra guns and renamed Queen Anne's Revenge. It may also be possible, Babits speculates, that this ship was traded for another one because of a foul-smelling stench.
From The California Numismatist
According to early Southern California lore and legend, there lies a fortune in gold ore, bars and coins still buried deep in the cold murky mud on the ocean bottom of the San Pedro Bay. Much of that gold ore came from the booming mines located in the eastern Mojave Desert and throughout the San Bernardino mountains.
Written accounts at the time of this early Los Angeles “golden treasure tale” read more like a Hollywood movie script complete with mystery, intrigue, murder and a missing treasure — something which might have been written for an episode of one of those old weekly wild-west TV shows from the 1950’s and 60’s such as “Have Gun Will Travel”, “Death Valley Days”, or that combined history legend- based western classic of classics’ series “Tales of Wells Fargo” starring Dale Robertson — rather than any factual account of the true events which took place in San Pedro Bay nearly 150 years ago, when the legendary wild west was very much alive.
Back in the late 1850’s and early 60’s, most of the Southern California landscape which surrounded Los Angeles was a hot, dry, sage-scrub chaparral surrounded by rugged mountains which gave way to an even harsher, drier and foreboding extensive desert region. This raw, wild and woolly western frontier was hardly suitable for homesteaders, towns, agriculture, cattle ranching, or much of anything.
The tiny, sleepy pueblo of Los Angeles had an approximate population of around 6,000. It’s two, tiny, outlying coastal seaport and commerce towns of Wilmington and San Pedro had a combined population total of about 700.
The large commercial seaport city of modern Long Beach with its massive harbor and freight distribution center was not even as yet on the map.
By Joe Crankshaw - TCpalm
Demostenes "Moe" Molinar, the diver who found the treasure-laden wreckage of the Spanish galleon "Nuestra Senora de la Atocha" off the Florida Keys, will be buried in private ceremonies this afternoon. While working off the Treasure Coast he found about 7,000 silver coins.
Molinar, a 78-year-old Fort Pierce resident, died April 23.
Molinar is a legend among treasure divers, said Buddy Martin, a longtime diving associate.
"He is highly revered in the treasure salvaging field," Martin said. "He is known worldwide and has been in National Geographic and other publications. Yet he never had an ego you might think would go with that reputation."
Dave Crooks, former vice president of Mel Fisher's Treasure Salvors, said Molinar met Mel Fisher when Fisher's boat broke down in the Panama Canal in 1959.
"Moe fixed it and stayed on board throughout the entire trip," Crooks said. "At the end Mel offered him a job and Moe stayed with Mel until Mel's death."
The energetic Molinar rose from diesel mechanic to boat captain and his boat, the "Virgalona" has become known as the "treasure findingest boat in the business," Martin said.
Molinar was diving with Fisher off the Florida Keys on July 20, 1985 when he found in the sand the first treasure to come from the Atocha. The Atocha had gone down in a storm in 1622. Eventually, there would be 40 tons of gold, 1,000 silver bars, 100,000 silver coins, plus emeralds, rubies and other gems.
In July 1973, Molinar discovered the wreck of the slave ship "Henrietta Marie" that sank in 1700 off the Florida Keys. It is now the basis of a museum on shore.
"Next to Mel Fisher and Bob Weller, Moe has found more gold and treasure in Florida waters than anyone else," Martin said.
By Vesela Todorov - The National
Half a century ago today, the UAE witnessed the Gulf's worst peacetime maritime disaster as an explosion tore through the MV Dara, killing at least 236 people.
Two days later, the ship sank off the shores of Umm al Qaiwain, where it remains to this day, 20 metres below the surface.
The story of the MV Dara made headlines around the world at the time, but today, few are aware of the accident.
Yesterday, divers from the British Sub Aqua Clubs in Sharjah, Dubai and Abu Dhabi paid a dignified tribute to those lost in the sinking.
Dropping to a depth of 11 metres, they dodged the underwater currents, for which the area is renowned, and erected the Red Ensign, the flag of the merchant naval fleet, at the stern of the shipwreck.
The gesture of respect was the idea of Ian Hussey, a Sharjah-based civil engineer and honorary chairman of the Sharjah Wanderers Dive Club.
Mr Hussey said he had dived the site more times than he could remember. The abundance of fish can make some visitors forget the wreck's sombre history.
"It is a very nice dive," he said. "You tend to forget that aspect of it."
Determined to remind the diving community about the history, Mr Hussley contacted fellow divers from his club as well as divers from Dubai and the capital. About 60 people dived the site yesterday.
It was up to four of them to attach the 1.5-by-2.4-metre flag to the wreck. One was Dr Steven Winstanley, the diving officer at the Abu Dhabi Sub Aqua Club.
By Jag Chandakar - UK News Reporter
Even in this era when long lost pirates’ bounty chests seem to be possible only in the movies and books, people still believe in the existence of treasures.
There are still those who spend time, effort, and money just to locate and excavate buried crates and chests of precious jewels and gold.
There are also those who dive under water and explore sunken ships and find out about the valuables that these carried to the depths. Both diving and surface treasure hunters truly require equipment to achieve their goals.
Besides the maps, they need metal detectors particularly if the objects they are searching are buried deeply underground.
Diving treasure hunters may be that unfortunate enough not being able to find treasures on the seafloor.
After a period of time it is only natural for sunken ships to be buried in mud or muck.
Of course, without using metal detectors, divers may only be wasting valuable oxygen in their tanks.
Not only will their quest be unproductive; they also spend for their diving gear without profit from a treasure find. This is why it is necessary for them to equip themselves with a metal detector.
However, not all such detectors have the capability of functioning underwater. In fact, majority of these are only meant for land use. If the ones meant for land detecting are used underwater, these battery-operated devices might short-circuit, making these permanently damaged and not anymore useful.
Divers who like to look for treasures underwater and on the seafloor may need to use a special type of metal detector that is particularly designed for this use. You can find such types of detectors sold out there in the market.
Besides the detector itself, divers can also avail of specific accessories that can make any treasure hunting activity underwater more productive.
From Dominican Today
Discover the endless underwater world of the Dominican Republic (DR), a diver's paradise with nearly 1,000 miles of breathtaking coastline that features colorful marine life and intriguing shipwrecks from when pirates sailed the Caribbean.
Located roughly 800 miles south of Miami, the DR boasts numerous sea grass beds, vibrant coral reefs, mysterious underwater caves and some of the region's most unique sea creatures.
Simply put, divers should expect the unexpected.
"We are a top-notch diving destination amid turquoise waters so clear and blue one has to see to believe. The DR offers diverse marine life, excellent certified diving schools and accessible dive sites along our amazing coasts," said Magaly Toribio, DR Ministry of Tourism Vice Minister of International Promotion.
"The DR has it all with developed tourist areas boasting world-class hotels and more off-the-beaten-path options for adventurous, independent divers."
With the Atlantic Ocean on the north and the Caribbean Sea on the south, the following underwater treasures await you in the DR:
The DR's Southcentral Coast is home to illuminating coral, technicolor fish, an underwater national park, mysterious caverns and is well-suited for both beginner and experienced divers.
East of capital city Santo Domingo near Boca Chica, La Caleta Underwater National Park delights beginners and experienced divers alike at 600 square miles and 600 feet deep.
With fascinating reef and wreck diving, La Caleta is known for attracting multicolor fish and the park will soon introduce the first underwater museum of submerged Dominican themed sculptures.
Nearby, divers can explore the 69 foot wreck of tugboat El Limon embedded with coral reefs and 144 foot wreck of Hickory, surrounded by hundreds of yellow tube sponge clusters that swim among this treasure salvage vessel.
Also hidden in the DR's southern waters is El Catuan, a sunken ship buried 60 feet underwater, and Barracuda Reef, a natural underwater mountain thriving with barracudas. Here you will discover mysterious underwater caves like Cueva Taina, El Hipodromo and El Tildo.
More adventurous divers can explore the DR's extreme southern coastal area near Barahona-Pedernales. This less-traveled coast features warmer waters and well-protected dives due to the reef structures and coastal curve.
With a wealth of marine life, the DR's Southeast Coast has one of the Caribbean's largest sunken ships, the 266 foot long St. George, where you may come face to face with grouper, barracudas, dolphins, morays, and mackerel, to name a few.
By Kimberly Blair - PNJ
Snowbird Agnes Hand has spent every winter for a decade hunting several miles of Navarre Beach for seashells she carts back by the box to Casper, Wyo.
She's always on the hunt for the rarest of shells, the spotted junonia, considered the queen of shells.
But last week she and her shell-hunting buddy, Debbie Thomas, found something even rarer: a 7-foot-long piece of timber that most likely came from an 1880s shipwreck.
Hand and Thomas were so focused on looking for sand dollars and olive shells they walked right past the piece of wood that had just floated up behind Hand's winter home, Regency Condominiums.
"This man was taking photographs, and he said to me, 'Did you notice the pegs in the wood?' " Hand, 75, said.
The ladies wheeled around and took a closer look and discovered the timber had what are called treenails, hallmarks of 1800s-era craftsmanship.
"When I saw those pegs, I could not believe it," Hand said. "The round pegs told me it was very old, and I figured it must be older than me. I was sure it must have some value historically."
She and Thomas snapped photos of the wood. And the Pensacola Historical Society directed them to Della Scott-Ireton, director of the northwest region of the Florida Public Archaeology Network. She confirmed it most likely was from a shipwreck.
"We often do get fragments of shipwrecks offshore, especially after storms," Ireton said.
Photo Jeremy Green/WA Museum
By Jane Hammond - The West Australian
Deep beneath the ocean, in waters west of Rottnest Island, lies a treasure trove of scuttled ships, military vehicles and abandoned aircraft.
For nearly 50 years the deepwater graveyard has remained mostly forgotten but new technology is helping to reveal its booty.
The first clues to the graveyard came in the 1990s when fishermen observed rich pickings in small areas of the ocean, leading to the theory that wrecks were lying on the sea floor.
Forensic work by a team from the WA Museum exposed records of the area being used as a maritime dump site from the 1930s to the 1950s and the search for the exact location of the wrecks began.
So far the team has uncovered 17 of the wreck sites out of a possible 54 and established the identity of five of the vessels.
Aerial surveys using mining industry equipment, which is able to detect evidence of iron, have helped in the search, as has the use of a two-person submarine.
Head of maritime archaeology at the museum, Jeremy Green, said the graveyard was in waters 70m to 100m deep.
It covered a large section of ocean floor, from an area 15km off the West End of Rottnest to the edge of the Perth Canyon.
He said the team had yet to discover the whereabouts of at least two Catalina aircraft that were scuttled after the end of World War II.
"The aerial survey work picked up eight or nine quite prominent targets that were obviously iron shipwrecks," Dr Green said.
"We then brought in technical divers who photographed the wrecks.
"We do know from records what was sunk in the deepwater graveyard but the positions were not well recorded. It wasn't just ships that were sunk.
"At the end of the Second World War, all of the equipment provided by the Americans for the war effort was dumped out there.
By Jane Ball - Romford Recorder
But could the answer lie in Romford ? One man thinks so.
Amateur historian Philip Boulton, from Lincolnshire, is a man on a mission to find a gold watch.
His great-great-great uncle Joseph Jewell and wife Mary were two of only 10 survivors of a sea disaster which saw The General Grant dashed off the coast of the Australian coast in May 1866 - with the loss of 73 lives.
The castaways spent 18 months awaiting rescue on the Auckland Islands and afterwards leader James Teer was presented with a gold watch in recognition of his services to the group.
Teer decided to send the memento to his sister Margaret Bishop in Islington, north London, with officer Richard Gould onboard a British vessel, the Tartar.
However, this ship too ran into trouble off the Hong Kong coast, where it was delivering cargo, and the valuables on board - including the gold watch - were snatched by Chinese pirates.
LookTV has produced a new film chronicling a voyage of archeological discovery by Bermuda Middle School students who helped to identify a previously unknown shipwreck in Castle Harbour.
“Reefs, Wrecks and Renegades: A Voyage of Discovery Aboard the ‘Spirit of Bermuda’,” captures an exciting interdisciplinary education initiative which was a collaborative project between Bermuda Sloop Foundation and National Museum of Bermuda. It also involved the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences, the Custodian of Wrecks from the Department of Conservation Services and 500 local Middle 3 school students.
During the 2009/2010 academic school year, all Middle 3 students attending Government supported Middle Schools, and a number of those attending local private schools, participated in a five-day learning expedition aboard the sail training vessel “Spirit of Bermuda”.
While aboard, the students were engaged in the authentic process of registering, surveying and documenting a previously unexplored shipwreck located in the shallow waters of Castle Harbour, near Nonsuch Island.
The film produced by LookBermuda, follows the students on their voyage as they apply for a license to explore the wreck from the Historic Wrecks Authority, seek environmental advice, survey and dredge the wreck and attempt to figure out the ship’s identity.
Photo John Blanding
By Joel Brown - Boston
A visit to the Diving Locker induces its own sort of rapture of the deep, with symptoms including giddiness and mild disorientation.
Visitors descend from the street to a low-ceilinged harborside basement, with two rooms smelling of rubber and old canvas and a hint of mildew.
All around are diving suits and scuba tanks, helmets and masks, books and pictures. Here and there sit a shipwreck artifact such as a cannonball or a row of old bottles, rescued from the briny deep. Look up and there is a mannequin in a dry suit apparently swimming through the room, which seems perfectly fitting.
The basement is a small part of the Gloucester Maritime Heritage Center, an educational and tourist attraction at 23 Harbor Loop. But the Diving Center is really Paul Harling.
It’s his ever-growing collection of equipment and memorabilia, from light scuba tackle to heavy commercial diving helmets. Harling hand-writes the labels. He’s here all summer, greeting tourists six days a week. He’s here in the winter, too, welcoming a trickle of diving enthusiasts and cronies even though the Heritage Center is mostly closed.
The stories are all his. Harling has dived for lost dentures, and he’s been down to the wreck of the Andrea Doria. At 77, he’s dived as recently as 2009, right outside by the center’s Burnham Brothers Marine Railway, a facility for hauling boats out of the water for maintenance.
“We like to tell the story of the industrial waterfront and the history of the fishing industry, and certainly commercial diving was a part of all that,’’ said Harriet Webster, executive director of the Heritage Center. “One of the things we like to do as much as possible is to use people to tell stories, not just artifacts. Paul is a storyteller, and people enjoy that.’’
Bermudian students investigate a previously-unexplored shipwreck in a new film on the Island’s underwater heritage.
‘Reefs, Wrecks and Renegades’ follows middle school students on the Bermuda Sloop Foundation’s Spirit of Bermuda, as they study a wreck near Nonsuch Island in Castle Harbour.
As well as the Foundation, the project involved the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences, the Custodian of Wrecks from Conservation Services, National Museum of Bermuda and 500 Middle School 3 students.
Produced by LookBermuda, the film will be distributed to all of the schools involved, and can be seen each day this week at 7.30pm on LookTV Cable Channel 1.
By Kevin Higgins - Gander Beacon
The sea has always had a certain fascination, pulling those with an interest of finding out what lurks beneath its surface into its watery depths for an opportunity to see once-in-a-lifetime sea creatures, natural earthy formations, and man-made treasures that found their untimely, final resting place.
However, the sea has many other valuable treasures, both monetary and historically, that those travelling under its surface many never see or touch — and some are closer than one could imagine.
Rex Gibbons, who was the MHA St. John’s West from 1989-1997, found this out firsthand at the beginning of 2011, when he returned to his hometown of Lumsden to spend New Year’s with family and friends.
“I have a real interest in anything historical, so when I went out for the New Year’s weekend, my (second) cousin Andy Gibbons told me I had to go up to the (Lumsden North) beach and see something,” said Mr. Gibbons, who has a summer cottage in Lumsden, lives in St. John’s, and spends wintertime in Sun City Centre, Florida.
What the cousins saw were the wooden remains of two large boats uncovered by a strong windstorm on Dec. 24 that pulled, according to Mr. Gibbons, approximately 200 feet of sand away from the beach and back into the sea.
From the Outer Banks Sentinel
The Currituck Heritage Park Winter Education Series continues its 'Corolla In Retrospect ~ The Shipwreck Series' with Blackout!
For years after the Currituck Beach Lighthouse was built (1875) the Graveyard of the Atlantic was a safer place for mariners but the torpedoes and submarines of the two World Wars changed that.
• It is a little known fact that there were German submarines directly off the NC coast in WWII, much less in WWI. James Charlet and Linda Molloy from the Chicamacomico Life-Saving Station Historic Site will dramatically present some of this history with an emphasis on the most highly awarded US maritime rescue, the Mirlo in 1918.
• Learn from Danny Couch, an Outer Banks historian and owner of Hatteras Tours what life was like for local residents during WWII.
• Why is this area called the Graveyard of the Atlantic ? Nathan Henry, lead conservator with the Underwater Archaeology Branch's Kure Beach preservation laboratory, will share his knowledge gained from working on dozens of shipwrecks in the U.S.
By Ivan Penn - Tampa Bay
Members of Florida's congressional delegation this week called on the U.S. Department of State to withdraw the nation's support of Spain's claim to the $500 million Black Swan treasure.
In a two-page letter dated Jan. 20, six Republican lawmakers said ownership of the sunken treasure found by Tampa-based Odyssey Marine Exploration Inc. should be determined by the courts without the U.S. government's intrusion.
Democratic Rep. Kathy Castor sent a letter the same day, voicing her concern to the State Department about the U.S. government's backing of Spain.
Odyssey and Spain are battling in U.S. courts over claim to the sunken treasure found in 2007.
The U.S. government filed a "friend of the court" brief in the case in support of Spain.
Documents posted by WikiLeaks showed that the U.S. government's involvement in the case appeared to be related to other discussions with Spain.
In exchange for helping with the Black Swan case, the U.S. government wanted assistance from Spain in retrieving a French painting owned by a U.S. citizen that is currently in a Madrid museum.
From BBC News
Three bottles of Mackinlays whisky which accompanied Ernest Shackleton on his 1907 Antarctic expedition are being returned to brand owner Whyte and Mackay for scientific analysis.
Whisky which accompanied explorer Ernest Shackleton and his crew to the Antarctic in the 1900s is to be analysed at a Highlands distillery.
The scotch was buried beneath a hut used during their unsuccessful expedition to reach the South Pole.
Five cases were dug up last year and included Mackinlay whisky, a brand owned by Glasgow distiller Whyte and Mackay.
One of the bottles will undergo tests at the firm's Invergordon distillery.
Master blender Richard Paterson will spend up to six weeks analysing, nosing, tasting and "deconstructing" the whisky.
He said: "This is unbelievable. It is like liquid gold.
Read and see more...
Photo Todd Dudek
By Wallace McKelvey - USA Today
For Don Shomette, coastal waterways in the Delaware, Maryland and Virginia region offer a treasure trove of history beneath the waves.
"In the Chesapeake, there are a total of eight sunken fleets," he said. "It's the most fought-over body of water in the Western Hemisphere."
The Delaware Bay is a close second, Shomette said.
Now, at least part of that history is being told in a map of the Shipwrecks of Delmarva, commissioned by Delaware Bay.
Shomette, who's written volumes about nautical history, was tasked with culling the 7,000 known shipwrecks to the 2,200 featured ones on the map. Based on predictive modeling, he said between 10,000 and 12,000 wrecks are believed to lie on or beneath the sea floor.
"It was an embarrassment of riches," he said. "There were so many important sites, and a number of them couldn't be included."
The latest map follows a similar one of the Outer Banks of North Carolina, issued in the 1970s. That map can still be found in bait shops, hobby stores and museum gift shops across the country, Shomette said.
But Delmarva's waterways rival — and possibly surpass — the Outer Banks as the "graveyard of lost ships," he said.
The process of selecting the sites to be included took more than a year, Shomette said.
He and cartographer Robert Pratt made the selections based on cultural and historical relevance, as well as diversity. Revolutionary War-era privateers exist alongside 1850s paddle steamers, Navy submarines and modern pleasure cruisers.
"We didn't want to put every work boat and every barge — even though some of them are enormous in size — in there," Shomette said.
Assembling the list meant pulling from his life's work: decades spent poring over government documents, letters and old newspapers, determining the location and details of wrecks across the region.
From Soo Evening News
The Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society announces a significant change in its structure, mode of operation and leadership responsibilities.
In recognition of the essentially seasonal nature of the Shipwreck Society’s business operations, the Board of Directors has elected to re-focus its efforts to a more seasonal role.
Part of this shift will involve elimination of the year-round Executive Director’s position, held for many years by Society founder and underwater explorer Tom Farnquist. Farnquist will remain with the GLSHS in a “Director Emeritus” capacity.
Farnquist is recognized as the inspirational leader and founder of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society established in 1978. His passion, vision and professional diving and museum accomplishments are being applauded by the technical diving and professional museum community throughout North America.
Before Farnquist founded the Shipwreck Society, the historic light station at Whitefish Point was deteriorating.
Farnquist transformed that site into the maritime heritage center it is today.
Working with an all volunteer board of directors he systematically restored the interiors and exteriors of the historic 1861 lighthouse and keeper’s quarters, the 1923 Coast Guard Crew Quarters, Lookout tower and Boathouse.
He also initiated measures to help protect the surrounding dunes environment and created a museum dedicated to the sailors and shipwrecks that perished on Lake Superior’s Shipwreck Coast.
By Raylene Bliss - Southern Courier
Shipwreck researcher John Sumner has photographed shipwreck bells along the eastern seaboard, including Maroubra and Bronte.
He said the port of Sydney hosted an enormous amount of shipping arrivals and departures, as well as some horrific losses of life, including when the Dunbar was wrecked in 1857 just south of South Head near the entrance to Port Jackson.
A total of 121 lives were lost with only one survivor, a crewman named James Johnson. A bell from the Dunbar was later bought at auction and installed in St John’s Church, Darlinghurst.
The Malabar, which was wrecked in Long Bay in 1931, was a very large ship, according to Mr Sumner. The suburb of Malabar was named after it.
Mr Sumner has spent more than two decades taking photos of bells from shipwrecks and at the top of his wanted list now are bells from the Runic, Currajong, Woniora, Hero, Adolphe, Munmorah, Mary Hamilton, Sphene, Jacques Del Mar and Merimbula.
Photo Western Australian Museum
The NSW Government is encouraging anyone with an interest in shipwrecks and underwater heritage to join the successful Wreck Spotters program on its 10th anniversary.
Planning Minister Tony Kelly said the Wreck Spotters program allowed volunteers to work alongside marine archaeologists in identifying, mapping and promoting shipwreck sites.
“Shipwrecks tell us so many stories of the state’s rich maritime history - and in doing so provide a fascinating insight into our past,” Mr Kelly said.
“Some 1800 historic wrecks are known to lie in NSW coastal and inland waters, but to date only around 175 have been located and recorded.
“That’s a lot of shipwrecks out there waiting to be discovered and this program has a key role in the ongoing search for these intriguing and unique heritage items.”
Anyone interested in joining the Wreck Spotters program should contact Heritage Branch maritime archaeologist Sarah Ward on 9873 8533 or visit maritime.heritage.nsw.gov.au
Photo Bertrand Langlois/AFP/Getty Images
By Maev Kennedy - Guardian
Archaeologists hail oldest wooden structure ever found on river, despite security services' armed response to researchers.
When MI6 set up home on the banks of the Thames one secret escaped its watchful eyes. The oldest wooden structure ever found on the river, timbers almost 7,000 years old, have been discovered buried in the silt below the windows of the security services' ziggurat headquarters at Vauxhall, south London.
The archaeologists who uncovered the six hefty timber piles had to explain to the security services what they were up to when armed police turned up after they were spotted pottering about on a foggy day in the mud, armed only with tripods, cameras and measuring equipment – not, as one spectator had apparently reported, shoulder-mounted rocket launchers.
"They accepted there wasn't much damage we could do with a tripod," said Gustave Milne, the archaeologist who leads the Thames Discovery programme that has been surveying the entire prehistoric foreshore, uncovering centuries of ancient wharves, fish traps, jetties and ship timbers.
The timbers, partly scoured bare by erosion of the river bed, the largest up to a third of a metre in diameter, were discovered in work during exceptionally low tides last February, but carbon dating work – revealed in the new edition of London Archaeologist journal – has only recently been completed, proving that the trees were felled between 4790 BC and 4490 BC.
No-one knows how many ships lie on the seabed off the coast of Madagascar.
Archeologists, and treasure hunters, have searched the ocean floor around the country for many years, discovering a number of wrecks.
But until now, no-one has found the Degrave, a mythical ship that sank off the southern coast in 1703.
Reporter Tim Healy goes to Madagascar to find out more.
By Jonathan Maitland - This Is Money
The odds of finding booty on shipwrecks may be minimal, but such schemes - or 'search and recovery investment opportunities' - are becoming more popular...
It's not often your financial adviser makes you smile - they are not natural entertainers as a rule - but mine had me chuckling recently.
We were discussing 'exotic' investments when he suggested putting money into a scheme that recovers treasure-filled shipwrecks.
I replied that investing in modern-day piracy was a bit like asking Bernie Madoff to look after your pension.
But the joke then appeared to be on me when he said that another client, an accountant from St Albans, Hertfordshire, had put £100,000 into the scheme last year - and was about to reap a windfall of £1.4m.
A centuries-old vessel containing a huge haul of valuable coins had been discovered at the bottom of the Atlantic and he was looking forward to telling his client the good (and bad) news. 'Congratulations, you are now a millionaire. And you have a large tax bill'.
The odds of finding booty on shipwrecks may be minimal, but such schemes - or 'search and recovery investment opportunities' as they are prosaically called - are becoming more popular.
There are now at least half a dozen salvage companies trawling international waters for treasure - and your money.
These schemes claim that many thousands of merchant ships, often laden with fantastically valuable cargo, have gone to the bottom over the past 500 years.
By GFExplorer - Sabotage Times
Hidden under the world's oceans, these lost cities have inspired tall tales and expensive expeditions alike. Let us take you through these antiquated wonderlands whilst keeping your feet firmly on dry land.
Discovered in 2000 by French archaeologist Franck Goddio, Heracleion was the main sea port of the Pharaohs before Alexander the Great founded Alexandria around 331 BC. Washed into the ocean around 1000 years ago, probably by a tsunami, archaeologists have found a city almost untouched by time, full of colossal statues, hieroglyphic tablets and an extraordinary store of gold coins and jewellery from the time of Cleopatra, the last Egyptian queen.
Machu Picchu’s lesser known sibling city in South Peru, Choquequirao is two days trek into the spurs of the Salkantay Mountain Range in the Cusco region above the valley of river Río Apurímac. The complex is 1,800 hectares, of which 30-40% is excavated and may well have been the last place of resistance by the Inca people after the Spanish siege of Cusco in 1535.
Fuxian Lake, China
Hidden for millennia underwater in China’s second deepest lake, this 1.7 square mile (2.7 square km) site, found by diver Geng Wei in 2005, may be the ancient city of Yuyuan dating back to the Qin and Han dynasties of 2000 years ago. Chinese reports describe two large pyramids similar to those found at Mayan sites in South America and a coliseum. Although Chinese documents make no reference to the city, local legend described how building silhouettes were visible under the lake from the nearby mountains on clear days.
Yonaguni Jima, Japan
Known as the Japanese Atlantis, these ruins lie in shallow waters just off Yonaguni Jima and seem to be the remains of an advanced Asian culture washed into the sea by an earthquake 2000 years ago. Discovered by divers in 1985, excavation continues in the area producing never seen before artefacts, including a huge, underwater Sphinx.
Archaeologists have found a city almost untouched by time, full of colossal statues, hieroglyphic tablets and an extraordinary store of gold coins and jewellery from the time of Cleopatra.
Sunken City, Cuba
In May 2001 a Canadian company mapping the ocean bottom of Cuba’s international waters discovered an unexpected archaeological treasure trove when they picked up sonar readings which suggested huge, megalithic ruins 2,200 feet (671 metres) below the surface of the ocean. Immediately jumped upon by the popular press as a possible site for Atlantis, National Geographic magazine reported the story in 2002, however further study of the site has not yet been forthcoming.
It would take over 400 years to excavate all of the wrecked ships currently unclaimed on the oceans floors. But just think of all the treasure you might find.
Flor de la Mar – Sumatra, Malaysia
Among the richest shipwrecks never recovered, the 16th Century Portuguese vessel, Flor De La Mar was lost around 1511 in a storm off the northern coast of Sumatra. Containing the stolen treasures of the Melaka kingdom in modern day Malaysia, the Flor de la Mar’s cargo, including 60 tons of gold remains undiscovered despite lying in some of the best diving waters of the world.
Merchant Royal – Dartmouth, UK
Britain’s largest unrecovered treasure haul lies just 21 miles (34 km) from Land’s End in Cornwall. The Merchant Royal, returning to England with a cargo of Spanish treasure sank in bad weather on 23 September 1641, containing 500 bars of gold, silver and precious stones. Bring a dry suit and a torch.
San Jose – Baru Peninsula, Colombia
In 1708, during the War of Spanish Succession, English Commodore, Charles Wagner captured and sank Spanish treasure ship, The San Jose in less than 1000 feet (305 metres) of crystal blue water, between the Isla del Tesoro (known as treasure island) and Baru Peninsula. The San Jose’s cargo is estimated today at a value of more than $1 billion.
Nuestra Senora de Atocha – Key West, Florida, USA
In 1985, Florida treasure hunter Mel Fischer hit the mother lode when, after 16 years of dedicated hunting, he located the wreck of the Nuestra Senora de Atocha about 35 miles (56 km) off the coast of Key West, Florida. Carrying a haul that included over 40 tonnes of silver and gold, 100,000 Spanish coins and Columbian emeralds, Fischer’s family now run diving holidays around the Atocha where artefacts continue to be uncovered.
By Stephen - Arch News
Russia and Jordan have signed an agreement to search the bottom of the Dead Sea for the remains of the Biblical cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, Arabic news media reported over the weekend.
According to the report, a Russian company has agreed to conduct the search in cooperation with Jordanian authorities, picking up all costs – in exchange for exclusive rights to film a documentary of the search.
The report quoted one of the Jordanian heads of the project, Zia Madani, as saying that the search would begin in late December.
The Russian company that was chosen as a partner for the search has special underwater exploration equipment that can stand up to the extreme salinity of the Dead Sea, the reports said.
Biblical archaeologists have several theories as to where the Sodom and its associated cities were located. According to the Torah, God overturned Sodom, Gomorrah, and three other cities because of their degeneration, sin and iniquity, turning a once fertile plain into a stark wasteland. Abraham, who prayed for the cities, was unable to prevent God from mandating their destruction.
Archaeologists and geologists have suggested that a major earthquake or meteor storm might have been the means by which it occurred. Research has centered on the area around the Dead Sea, and the modern city of Sodom, and nearby Mount Sodom, which is made almost completely of rock salt, is considered the most likely site of the ancient cities.
However, some archaeological evidence has emerged that indicates that the site could be on the east bank of the Dead Sea, with two sites in Jordan - Bab edh-Dhra, and Numeira, both considered viable candidates.
The Jordanian-Russian search will center on Bab edh-Dhra, which also has several Christian monuments.
According to Madani, further evidence that the cities remains are located on the Jordanian side of the Dead Sea came after recent NASA photographs of the area indicated that the bottom of the sea is littered with debris and objects not found in other bodies of water.
According to the Jordanian, Israel recently sent a submarine down into the Dead Sea in an attempt to explore the bottom of the sea, but discovered that the objects in the NASA photos were on the Jordanian side of the sea.
Jordan prevented the Israelis from searching over the border, and now Jordan is seeking to discover what it believes are the remains of the cities by itself.
From Press Zoom
This ground breaking project will feature the research of underwater archaeologist Dr Jon Henderson from The University of Nottingham. The programme will use state-of-the-art computer graphics to show what pre-historic Pavlopetri — a submerged city lying off the coast of Greece — would have looked like and how its people lived.
The excavation of an ancient underwater city — dating back to 3500 BC — is to be the subject of a major new BBC Two television documentary.
This ground breaking project will feature the research of underwater archaeologist Dr Jon Henderson from The University of Nottingham. The programme will use state-of-the-art computer graphics to show what pre-historic Pavlopetri — a submerged city lying off the coast of Greece — would have looked like and how its people lived.
Dr Henderson said: “This documentary will follow us every step of the way as we carry out the first ever underwater excavations at this important site. And who knows what we will find ? Given the good preservation of remains underwater we could recover organic items dating from the Greek Bronze Age which would be spectacular.
Lying just metres off the coast in southern Laconia, Pavlopetri was discovered 40 years ago by oceanographer Dr Nic Flemming. In 1968, equipped with just snorkels and flippers, his team carried out the very first survey of the site. It remained untouched until last year when Dr Henderson, working in collaboration with the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Tourism and the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research, was given permission to examine the site.
The dating of the architectural features and artefacts suggest the submerged city was inhabited for over two millennia from at least 3500 BC up until around 1100 BC. Throughout this period the settlement was likely to have had a population of between 500 and 2,000 people.
Dr Henderson and his team, together with Dr Flemming who has returned to Pavlopetri, are using some of the very latest computer technology to record the streets, the foundations of buildings, tombs and courtyards of the ancient city.
BBC television’s Factual Department plans to bring the city back to life through the latest CGI technology. The programme is due for transmission in 2012.
Dr Henderson said: “We have been very keen to use the latest survey technologies on this site to create an accurate three-dimensional record of the architectural remains on the seabed. Having the BBC onboard has allowed us to create amazing photo-realistic, computer-generated reconstructions of the site based on the actual survey data we have collected in the field.”
Far North Coast shipwreck spotters keen to hone their skills will be eligible for an internationally-recognised training course in the next few months.
The man responsible for NSW shipwrecks, the deputy director of the Heritage Branch of the NSW Department of Planning, Tim Smith, said depending on public interest, he planned to run two courses on the North Coast early next year.
“The North Coast is a real hotspot for shipwreck discoveries with its big coastal rivers and their steamer heritage,” he said.
Volunteers are being offered a two-day internationally-recognised Introduction to Maritime Archaeology Training Course, accredited by the Australasian Institute for Maritime Archaeology and the Nautical Archaeology Society.
Minister for Planning Tony Kelly said the wreck spotters program allowed volunteers to work alongside marine arch-aeologists in the identifying, mapping and promotion of shipwreck sites in their local communities.
“The need for their proper identification and handling has been underlined by two recent examples on the state’s North Coast. In October the stemson from a 120-year-old wreck was moved from a beach on the Tweed, and itremains missing,” Mr Kelly said.
“And in November an anchor from what could be a 140-year-old wreck was removed from the Richmond River spit at Ballina. Fortunately, it has now been recovered and will take its place in the State’s maritime heritage.”
From BBC News
A rare Native American canoe thought to be more than 250 years old has been found on a family estate in Cornwall.
The birch bark canoe was discovered in a barn on the Enys estate near Penryn. It is believed the Canadian boat was brought to Cornwall by Lt John Enys who fought in Quebec during the American War of Independence.
The canoe will be preserved and put on display to the public at the National Maritime Museum in Falmouth before being repatriated to Canada.
Historians believe the boat could possibly be one of the oldest birch bark canoes in existence.
The museum's boat collections manager Andy Wyke said: "Lt Enys sailed from Falmouth in a packet ship to join his regiment in Canada to relieve the city of Quebec which was under siege from the Americans.
"He fought many military campaigns and toured the area for his personal interest - discovering this canoe along the way.
"It's incredible to think its legacy has been resting in a barn in Cornwall all this time."
Wendy Fowler, a descendent of the Enys family, called the museum to request they look at the canoe lying in the estate's barn.
"The estate is very special to us and holds many secrets but I believe this is the most interesting to date," she said.
"The maritime museum is brilliantly ensuring and repatriating another element of our great family history and I'm most grateful that my great, great, great, great, great uncle's travels have led to such a major chapter of boating history being discovered in Cornwall."
Capt George Hogg, archivist and museum trustee, said initially when the call came in from the estate, the museum had no idea of the importance of the find.
By Bob Janiskee - National Parks Traveler
The Congress, by Public Law 103-308, as amended, has designated December 7 of each year as "National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day."
At Pearl Harbor (a component of World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument) and other locations on Oahu, a multitude of events, special exhibits and activities were scheduled for December 4 – 8 in association with the commemoration of the Japanese attack that plunged America into World War II.
Today, on the 69th Anniversary of that December 7, 1941, attack, the dedication of the new $56 million Pearl Harbor Visitor Center is a highlight event.
Scheduled for 7:30 a.m., the joint National Park Service/U.S. Navy commemoration and dedication is taking place on the back lawn of the visitor center (which faces the U.S.S Arizona Memorial) and is open to the public.
There will be a stellar slate of guest speakers, including Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and National Park Service director Jon Jarvis as well as the Honorable Daniel K. Inouye (United States Senate), Admiral Patrick M. Walsh (Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet), Admiral Thomas B. Fargo (retired former Commander of the U.S. Pacific Command), and keynote speaker Thomas Strickland, Assistant Secretary of Fish, Wildlife and the Parks.
Among the 2,500 in attendance will be more than 200 Pearl Harbor attack survivors. The theme of this year’s historic commemoration, “A Promise Fulfilled: 1941 – 2010,” is dedicated to these honored veterans.
Members of the Pearl Harbor Survivors organization from all over America are attending their annual meeting in Honolulu during December 4th to December 8th so they (and more than 300 family members and friends) can participate in the anniversary commemoration and the dedication of the new visitor center.
The Pearl Harbor Survivors have played an integral role in volunteering and supporting the National Park Service administration of the USS Arizona Memorial since 1980. In 2007, the organization helped raise money for the new visitor center and museum, supporting the national fundraising efforts of the Pearl Harbor Memorial Fund and the Arizona Memorial Museum Association (now known as Pacific Historic Parks).
From NOAA News
NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and Spain’s Ministry of Culture announced today the signing of a memorandum of understanding outlining a framework to jointly identify, protect, manage and preserve underwater cultural resources of mutual interest within their respective areas of responsibility.
The arrangement calls for the exchange of information on actual or potential identification and location of underwater cultural resources, research and archeological examination of the resources, provision of information concerning potential or actual unauthorized disturbances of underwater cultural resources, cooperation with non-governmental organizations engaged in historical or archeological programs compatible with the objectives of the arrangement, and preparation and dissemination of educational and outreach materials.
“Today marks the beginning of a more formal and active interaction between NOAA and Spain as we learn from each other’s archives and share that information for a better understanding and appreciation of Spain’s important maritime cultural legacy in America,” said Daniel J. Basta, director of NOAA’s National Marine Sanctuary Program.
“The heritage spawned by Spain’s interactions with the sea and the exploration and settlement of our coasts by Spanish mariners dates back 500 years,” said James P. Delgado, Ph.D., NOAA National Marine Sanctuary Maritime Heritage Program director.
“This arrangement will give us access to the incredible records in the archives and libraries of Spain.”
An example of the type of work that will benefit from the new arrangement is the discovery of a wreck that may be the Spanish ship San Agustin, which was lost in November 1595 in the California waters of the Gulf of Farallones National Marine Sanctuary and Point Reyes National Seashore.
By Wayne Ayers - Tampa Bay newspaper
Jim Leatherwood is convinced there is an as-yet-undiscovered shipwreck just off our shores. The treasure hunter from Largo backs his claim with dozens of ship-related artifacts, discovered while beach combing with a metal detector.
His finds include large keel pins, used in building wooden ships. They connect the wood and keep the ship together. He shows a heavy pin that is bent, evidence it has been under stress. “That tells you it has been in a wreck,” said Leatherwood.
Weighty spikes, bolts and wedges were all part of a ship’s outfitting, and further indications of a nearby shipwreck, according to Leatherwood. A brass nail would have tacked down the metal sheeting on a boat, while a pulley was connected to the rigging.
A piece of chain showed a string cheese pattern, indicating a long-ago blacksmith had worked it.
Dainty rings of ancient vintage, likely part of the ship’s cargo, carry distinct markings. A cat’s head, two “sea monster” dragons facing each other. One ring appears to have been made from a teaspoon.
A piece of shell/coral conglomerate contains the remnant of a dinner plate, with a design still discernible. Several nails in the cluster suggest that the plate was in a nailed box.
Another conglomerate piece is embedded with a fragment of wood, nearly petrified from age, which was part of a ship. These are very rare finds, Leatherwood said, which his metal detector picked up because of the iron nails present.
Leatherwood held up a piece of coal. There is no natural coal in the ocean, he said, so its presence would mean a steamship had been nearby. “(The coal) would be the first thing that would turn me on to a site,” he said.
Numerous clues, such as the blacksmithing marks and nail head style, suggest that many of the items he has found date from the 1800s.
Leatherwood said he has probably walked a thousand miles along the local beaches, from Pass-A-Grille to Clearwater, in his treasure hunts. But his shipwreck discoveries have all been concentrated in one area – Indian Rocks Beach and Indian Shores. And they have mostly turned up during and after storms.
By Rebecca Ferrar - Knox News
Jim McNutt, owner of Marine Geographic, has filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking possession of any artifacts salvaged from a vessel - believed to be a steamboat paddle wheeler - submerged at the First Creek tailwaters in Fort Loudoun Lake.
The vessel is believed to date from the 1800s or early 1900s.
McNutt filed a complaint with the court, contending, "This is a maritime claim based on the law of find and salvage whereby plaintiffs seek declaratory relief and a determination of their legal right to retain possession of certain artifacts found and salvaged on these unknown vessel (vessels) and a determination of their legal right to continue their salvage of these vessels."
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court on Nov. 19. The vessel was "used in everyday commerce on the Holston River," now Fort Loudoun Lake.
The lawsuit states that in February 1976, Marine Geographic began diving in the river and found various artifacts on the unknown vessel or vessels.
"Plaintiffs now request permission of this court to carry out salvage, archeology and the building of educational public displays and exhibits along Volunteer Landing Riverfront for the East Tennessee Historical Society with donations from the plaintiffs for public education," the lawsuit states.
"Plaintiffs shall abide by all local, state and federal laws in their archeological salvage of unknown vessels and receive due reward for their efforts as in laws of salvage."
The lawsuit asks that Marine Geographic "be appointed substitute custodians of all artifacts which have been found and salvaged and all artifacts which may be found and salvaged in the future and that title to all artifacts found and salvaged be vested in the plaintiffs."
A team of divers has been given an award for their work investigating D-Day shipwrecks in the Solent.
The 10 divers from Southsea Sub-Aqua Club have been working on the Neptune Wrecks project for around 18 months, solving mysteries surrounding the wrecks - they even discovered a 500lb bomb last year.
They were invited to Buckingham Palace to receive the British Sub-Aqua Duke of Edinburgh Prize award from Prince Philip in recognition of their work.
Alison Mayor, Neptune Wrecks team leader, said: 'Receiving the Duke of Edinburgh award is certainly the pinnacle of my diving career so far and we are all very proud to have been selected to receive the award against some other excellent projects.
'The Duke of Edinburgh was charming and very interested in our project.'
The project was named after Operation Neptune, the maritime stage of the D-Day invasion of German-occupied France during the Second World War.
Divers looked at how armoured tanks and bulldozers, which had been destined for Juno beach, had come to rest three miles southwest of Selsey Bill.
The team discovered the vehicles had actually come from a landing craft tank which had capsized several miles away.
It was during a survey of the area in August last year that the team discovered the large aerial bomb, which was then towed several miles away and detonated by the Royal Naval Bomb Disposal Team.
Alison added: 'With the help and support of the British Sub-Aqua Jubilee Trust and others we were able to investigate these sites, and by relating what we found with documentary evidence we put the record straight for this one small but traumatic event on the morning of D-Day on this side of the English Channel.
'This has been a fantastic experience for me and members of Southsea who have all benefited in one way or another from their involvement in the projects. Our work has brought club members together with a common focus and goal, and divers are rightly proud of their achievements.'
From Keys Net
A change in state dive-program regulations will leave deepwater mooring balls intact off the Florida Keys.
“In the Upper Keys, we stood to lose about 11 mooring balls on our shipwrecks,” said Rob Mitchell, owner of Keys Diver in Key Largo. “It would have been a substantial number.”
The mooring-buoy maintenance program, currently administered by the state Department of Environmental Protection on behalf of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, was poised to halt work on lines deeper than 100 feet, which exceeded the agency’s maximum depth for its divers.
In late October, the DEP amended its rules to allow its divers to exceed 100 feet, as long as the agency receives advance notice. Other safety rules also were put in place.
“This issue has been resolved and Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection has made changes to its dive program which will allow FKNMS to continue maintenance of these buoys,” Sanctuary Superintendent Sean Morton said in an e-mail this week.
Mitchell said the news was welcomed by the Keys dive industry, which was considering a plan to take over some of the deepwater mooring-buoy maintenance.
“Even with the buoys we have now, in our busy summer season we have dive boats waiting in line to use the mooring lines at the shipwrecks,” Mitchell said.
“If we lost 50 percent of the moorings, people would have been racing out there at 6 a.m. to tie off to one of the moorings.”
The mooring balls help preserve the underwater environment by not requiring boat crews to drop a heavy anchor.
By Sue Deschene - The Recorder and Times
Thanks to thousands of dollars raised, and at least as many hours of volunteer labour logged, a plaque now stands on Blockhouse Island to commemorate five shipwrecks resting at the bottom of the St. Lawrence River.
The Thousand Islands chapter of Save Ontario Shipwrecks (SOS) hosted its unveiling Saturday of a plaque to mark five sunken treasures in the Brockville area. This new plaque is located on the east side of Blockhouse Island, across from the canteen.
The plaque depicts five sunken ships -the Muscallonge, Robert Gaskin, J.B. King, Lillie Parsons and Henry C. Daryaw -on a locator map, along with a picture and information about each one. GPS co-ordinates are included for each shipwreck.
Project director Doug Miller spearheaded the committee of local volunteers who brought the plaque from its earliest planning stages to fruition.
"The first thing we did was a bunch of fundraising, and we set our sights on a land plaque," Miller recalled. "After we got all our ideas sorted out, then we went to Doug Grant, our graphic artist, and he came up with a design that helped it fit a lot of the other land plaques that we have."
Then the local SOS chapter approached the City of Brockville for permission to post the plaque on Blockhouse Island. The city agreed that once the plaque was erected, it would become city property, joining all the other heritage plaques maintained by the city.
"This is to let the general public know what all the excitement is about," Miller said. "They've prob-ably noticed that there's lots of divers in the area, but why are they coming to Brockville? Well, this tells them why."
"Most of our plaques are underwater," added Brian Prince, SOS past president and board member. "In the last few years, we've been putting up land plaques... to give the general public an appreciation of our marine heritage."
SOS had previously posted four other commemorative land plaques in eastern Ontario: Braeside (the Red Pine Bay Wreck), Prescott (the Rothesay) and Cardinal (the Conestoga and the Weehawk).
Save Ontario Shipwrecks is a provincial heritage organization dedicated to studying, preserv-ing and promoting an apprecia-tion of Ontario's marine heritage.The diving community plays a major role in the initiative.
Brockville has become a prime scuba-diving attraction thanks to its warm, crystal-clear waters, said Prince.
By Jon Gast - Green Bay Press Gazette
"Anyone living in the Great Lakes Region for an extended period of time can become all too familiar with the incredible storms ... that can settle over the Great Lakes Region in the fall. November, being the prime month for such monsters to start materializing, has had more than its share of super storms."
So wrote weather historian William Deedler in his essay, "Hell Hath No Fury Like a Great Lakes Fall Storm."
For those of us living in a maritime community, it's easy for our thoughts to gravitate toward Lake Michigan and the Great Lakes when we have a windstorm like the one we experienced last week.
I almost immediately conjured up visions of the Great Lakes Storm of 1913 — "Freshwater Fury," as it was nicknamed and called in the Door County Maritime Museum exhibit that closed earlier this year.
Part of that exhibit was a modern-day weather report compiled by WLUK-TV Channel 11 meteorologists explaining what took place 97 years ago this week.
I have to tell you, last week's storm had a very similar look to it. It was reported that winds topped 90 mph and waves reached 35 feet in that 1913 storm. Last week, wave sensors in Lake Michigan, normally a bit calmer than Lake Superior, nearly reached 25 feet and winds on the open lake had to be higher than the 75 mph registered at some ports.
There was a major difference — loss of life and damage to ships was considerably different. While the 1913 storm claimed over 200 lives and millions of dollars in vessel loss, such devastation was practically nonexistent last week, as better forecasting and communication provided ships with adequate warning.
Certainly, life on the lake still involves a dose of risk. It was just 35 years ago next Wednesday that the Edmund Fitzgerald went down in a November gale on Lake Superior. Maybe it's that seeming disappearance of modern-day shipwrecks that make the Fitzgerald and the shear multitude of wrecks a century or more ago so captivating.
From PR Newswire
Where there's silver, there's tarnish. While getting the tarnish off your flatware might be an occasional inconvenience, to museum curators and conservators, it's a threat to irreplaceable works of art.
To protect these objects for generations to come, scientists from the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park, have teamed up with conservators from the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Md., to develop and test a new, high-tech way to protect silver art objects and artifacts, using coatings that are mere nanometers thick.
The technique, called atomic layer deposition (ALD), will be used to create nanometer-thick, metal oxide films which, when applied to an artifact, are both transparent and optimized to reduce the rate of silver corrosion. The films are created when an object is exposed to two or more gases that react with its surface.
"ALD gives us an exquisite level of control, literally at the atomic level," says Ray Phaneuf, a professor of materials science and engineering (MSE) working on the project. "It's an effective, low-cost strategy to reduce corrosion that preserves artifact appearance and composition while complying with the rigorous standards of art conservation practice."
Eric Breitung, a scientist who runs E-squared Art Conservation Science, proposed the collaboration after conducting preliminary investigations into the use of ALD on silver at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art.
"I approached members of the Clark School faculty because of their expertise and the university's extensive ALD facilities at the Maryland NanoCenter," he says, adding that the faculty members' previous collaborations with museums made them a good match for the Walters and its silver collection.
Walters Art Museum Conservation Scientist Glenn Gates explains the goals the new coating has to achieve.
"First, its appearance must be acceptable for display in a museum context. It has to be tough enough to endure transport and handling, but not so tough that it can't be removed. It needs to be completely removable so an object can be re-treated to meet future standards of conservation and aesthetics. And finally, it should not cause any harm to a piece, even if it breaks down."
Gates, who works with the Walters' world-class silver collection, is well acquainted with the battle against tarnish. He points out the project's figurative mascot, Antoine Louis Barye's 1865 "Walking Lion" sculpture, as exactly the sort of piece that could one day benefit from the new treatment. It has been cleaned and lacquered twice since 1949, but in both cases ultimately experienced deterioration problems with its coatings. It is currently unlacquered but must be kept in a special exhibition case to ward off tarnish.
"The 'Walking Lion' represents a complex shape that, being difficult to coat with traditional lacquer, might benefit from ALD protection," he says.
The team will test the new technique, first on small samples of fine and sterling silver, and then on objects from Gates' own collection, such as 19th century demitasse spoons and Morgan silver dollars. While the Walters does not expect any pieces from its collection to receive the experimental treatment during the course of the study, once it has been proven effective and safe, the "Walking Lion" would be a prime candidate for this procedure.
The three-year project is one of the first to be funded by the National Science Foundation's Chemistry and Materials Research at the Interface between Science and Art (SCIART) grant program, which supports projects in the field of cultural heritage science through the funding of collaborations among conservation experts in museums and scientists in academia. The SCIART program will be highlighted at the 2011 national meeting of the American Chemical Society, which has invited the team to present their work.
The project's other team members include the museum's Director of Conservation and Technical Research Terry Drayman-Weisser, a recognized metals expert, and, from the University of Maryland's Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Professor Gary Rubloff, Research Associate Laurent Henn-Lecordier, and Graduate Assistant Amy Marquardt, who brings to the project her previous experience working on bronze patinas with the Smithsonian's Museum Conservation Institute.
By Jack Malvern - Times Online
The question of whether Christopher Columbus and his crew were responsible for bringing syphilis to Europe from the Americas appears to have been answered by the discovery of a collection of knobbly skeletons in a London cemetery.
A popular theory among experts in tropical diseases is that outbreaks of syphilis in the mid-1490s were a direct result of Columbus and his randy crew returning from their first voyage across the Atlantic in 1492-93.
However, the largest excavation of skeletons undertaken in Britain has unearthed seven that suggest the disease was known in England up to two centuries before that.
Archaeologists believe that rough patches on the skulls and limbs of skeletons found at St Mary Spital in east London exonerate Columbus's crew.
Samples include a skull of a child of unknown sex who had such bad lesions on its scalp that marks were left on its forehead. The child had received the venereal form of the disease from its mother.
Brian Connell, an osteologist for the Museum of London who has studied the bones, said that he had no doubt that the skeletons were buried before Columbus's voyage. Radiocarbon dating of the samples is estimated to be 95 per cent accurate.
"We're confident that Christopher Columbus is simply not a feature of the emergence and timing of the disease in Europe," he said.
Previous discoveries of apparently syphilitic bones buried in Europe before Columbus's voyage have been inconclusive, he said.
"Either radiocarbon dating analysis was not sufficiently accurate or the diagnosis [of syphilis] was less clear. But this puts the nail in the coffin of the Columbus theory."
The seven syphilitic skeletons from St Mary's Spital, two from 1200-1250 and five from 1250-1400, are not only better preserved than those considered previously, but buried alongside other skeletons and objects such as coins that corroborate radiocarbon dating results.
The burial site received its name from the hospital on the edge of the City of London now known as Spitalfields.
The bones suggest that the victims, probably patients of the hospital, were in considerable pain. The child whose skull has been reconstructed would probably have been blind, bald and beset by toothache.
Its teeth came through at 45 degrees to its jaw, Mr Connell said. "It would have had gross facial disfigurement, which would have been very distressing for the child, who was about 10 years old when it died.
By Jayesh Limaye - Techtree
Remember that car in the 1977 James Bond movie The Spy Who Loved Me, which could run on land and also in water, well, the one this article is about, can even fly.
The Halo Intersceptor can do it all, except of course, going underwater. This car can change into a speedboat, a helicopter or simply jet across the highway full throttle whenever you want, how you want.
Quite possibly, this could be the answer to all our transport woes, (or it could possibly create more problems depending on the driver).
The brainchild of British designer Phil Pauley, this concept sports car comes with attachments which allows it to float like a boat on water or fly like a helicopter or jet when that mode is selected.
The designer has laid emphasis on the fact that the Halo Intersceptor should not be viewed as another flying car, but rather as a plane, helicopter, boat and car all combined into one.
A group of visitors pulled a chest from the ocean, which after a delayed time that saw the Police Bomb Squad clear the area, was determined to be ammunition from a ship that wrecked off Bermuda in 1915.
The guests had flown into Bermuda to celebrate a wedding, with the majority coming in from New York and staying at the Coral Beach Club. The finders were Walker Brock, John Macaskill, Brendan Johnston, Andrew Gooss, Thatcher Martin, Will Rabbe and Chris Sturgess.
The group informed us that one of them was already well known around the hotel prior to the chest discovery, due to a drunken incident which resulted in him being found in the morning fast asleep on the hotel grass.
Yesterday they spotted the box lying in the ocean floor; approximately 11 feet deep and 50-100 feet from shore. Upon discussion they decided to attempt to pull it up, and waited till high tide today to make the job easier.
A number of them combined starting at approximately 11am today, and with the use of a volleyball net they managed to drag the box off the sand and place it on a boogey board.
They said the board was somewhat sinking under the weight, but they managed to safely get the box ashore. The entire procedure took around an hour, resulting in the box coming ashore at around 12pm today.
Wordsmith Media, Inc. have announced an agreement with Lou Reda Productions to produce a two-hour special on the Shipwreck of St Paul, based on the research of author and explorer Robert Cornuke.
The two companies finalized the details of a contract for the production and possible airing of a network series.
“I have been excited about this documentary for some time which will vividly display the findings of our research in Malta where we believe we have located the exact spot where the vessel carrying St Paul and some 270 people shipwrecked in the 1st century,” Cornuke noted.
As a former CSI investigator, Cornuke recreated in great detail the shipwreck account described in Acts chapters 27-28 of the Bible.
Scott L. Reda, Managing Director of Lou Reda Productions, stated, “We are happy to partner with Wordsmith Media on this very important and groundbreaking documentary which we believe will have a tremendous impact on a large international television audience.”
Lou Reda Productions is internationally recognized as one of America’s outstanding documentary filmmakers producing more than four hundred cable and network programs with numerous awards and recognitions including, The People’s Choice Award – Favourite New Mini-Series 1983 for The Blue and The Gray for CBS.
Reda has had 5 Emmy nominations, a Peabody Award and in 2009 produced the Emmy Award winning series WWII In HD for The History Channel.
Wordsmith Media, Inc. is a brand-driven company specializing in non-fiction, historical and cultural media, operating a global content network throughout the US and Europe for television broadcasting, DVDs, books, e-books, enhanced e-books and more traditional magazines.
Certain information contained in these materials is “forward-looking” information, such as projections, estimates, pro formas, or statements of intentions, expectations or plans.
All forward-looking information is subject to known and unknown risks and uncertainties, many of which are outside of the control of the company. Consequently, actual results may, and probably will, differ materially from the results contemplated in such forward-looking information.
Photo Jack Papes
By Shannon M. Nass - Post-Gazette
Before dives on known wrecks, divers research the vessels. Located on the grounds of the Great Lakes Historical Society in Vermilion, Ohio, is the Peachman Lake Erie Shipwreck Research Center, a research facility that documents Lake Erie shipwrecks and offers maritime archaeology workshops.
It also serves as the headquarters for the MAST program (Maritime Archaeological Survey Team Inc.), which trains divers to survey shipwrecks.
"Most of what we do with MAST are straightforward, two-dimensional site plans," said Carrie Sowden, archaeological director at the research center.
"We're looking at how the ship sits on the bottom and mapping all of it out so we know exactly what it looks like sitting on the bottom of the lake."
MAST consists of 200 volunteers devoted to documenting and preserving Lake Erie shipwrecks. They focus on older sites that are more prone to degradation due to frequent visits by divers.
"Nobody's malicious or anything, but once you start having human intervention on a site, it will start to degrade over time," said Sowden. "You know, the little touch here, the sitting down there. We're trying to create a baseline so that we know what is there."
By Frederick N. Rasmussen - The Baltimore Sun
The last anyone heard of the Cyclops as it steamed in a voyage that began in Bahia, Brazil, on Feb. 22, 1918, en route to Baltimore with 10,000 tons of manganese ore in its bunkers, was in a telegram to the West Indian Steamship Co. in New York City.
"Advise charterers USS CYCLOPS arrived Barbadoes Three March for bunkers. Expect to arrive Baltimore Thirteen March. Opnav."
The next day, the collier departed Barbados on what should have been a routine voyage to Baltimore, even though its starboard engine was damaged and put out of commission during the passage from Bahia to Rio de Janeiro, forcing it to steam at no more than 10 knots.
Brockholst Livingston, who was the 13-year-old son of U.S. Consul C. Ludlow Livingston, recalled in 1929 that the ship's captain, Lt. Cmdr. George W. Worley, and several other guests, including U.S. Consul-General A. Moreau Gottschalk to Brazil, who was a passenger on the ship, had tea at the consulate.
Before leaving, young Livingston wrote that the guests had signed his sister's autograph book and that their signatures were "probably the latest ones in existence."
"No one, of course, thought there was any danger in the voyage. About five o'clock our guests left and we watched them from the beach as they went on board," he wrote.
"There were some blasts on the whistle and the Cyclops backed. Then, going ahead, she steamed south. We did not consider this course odd until a few weeks later when we got a cable requesting full details of her visit to Barbados," he wrote.
It was the last time that any human had laid eyes on the Cyclops as it steamed away into the gathering evening and a permanent place on the roster of vessels that failed to make port.
Every so often during the intervening decades, the fate of the Cyclops makes the rounds.
Maritime historians pored over old documents in dusty archives and libraries, and old salts gathered in waterfront taverns spinning endless theories of what happened to the vessel that was traversing a lonely stretch of the South Atlantic when it vanished without a trace.
The Cyclops, with 309 on board — officers and crew, including 13 Baltimoreans, and passengers — apparently went to the bottom on March 4, 1918.
Among those who lost their lives were three Navy and two Marine prisoners who were being transported to the brig at Portsmouth, N.H.
There were no survivors or wreckage. A couple of boards found by an island hermit, who claimed they came from the ill-fated vessel's lifeboats, were discounted as not being from the wreck, as were bottles with notes, purportedly from survivors, that turned out to be nothing more than hoaxes.
By Michael Hanlon - Daily Mail
Five thousand fathoms under the waves, a deafening clang rang out through the cramped, freezing submarine, causing the whole vessel to shake like a leaf.
Squinting through their tiny Plexiglas window into the abyss, the two explorers’ hearts missed a beat.
‘It was a pretty hairy experience,’ they said afterwards with some understatement. The outer layer of their porthole had cracked under the unimaginable weight of six miles of seawater — and they still had more than a mile to descend.
Fortunately, their so-called ‘bathyscaphe’ submarine, an extraordinary piece of Swiss-Italian-German engineering, sustained no further damage, and the explorers — Jacques Piccard and Don Walsh — lived to tell the extraordinary tale of this unique descent.
Twelve men have walked on the surface of the Moon and maybe 500 have travelled into space, but only Piccard and Walsh have visited the very deepest point of the ocean, which they reached on January 23, 1960.
The Challenger Deep dive was one of the most extraordinary — and surprisingly little known — feats of human exploration in history, the voyage in a submarine to a place even more extreme than the surface of most planets.
Now it has been announced that the multi-Oscar-winning film director James Cameron plans to add his name to the very exclusive club of those who have travelled to the bottom of the Challenger Deep, part of the Mariana Trench in the western Pacific, and the deepest known point in the world’s oceans.
Cameron — who, after all, made a fortune with Titanic — plans a follow-up to his billion-dollar 3D blockbuster Avatar, this time set in the teeming oceans of the film’s fictional alien planet of Pandora.
And last weekend it was reported that he has commissioned a bespoke submarine, built of high-tech, man-made composite materials and powered by electric motors, which will be capable of surviving the tremendous pressures at a depth of seven miles, from which he will shoot 3D footage that may be incorporated in Avatar’s sequel.
It seems bizarre that no one has repeated the feat of Piccard and Walsh in more than half a century (two unmanned submersible robots have made the trip since). But then no one has to date built a working replacement for their vessel, the Trieste.
Designed by Challenger Deep pilot Jacques Piccard’s father, the Swiss scientist Auguste Piccard, and mostly built in Italy, the Trieste, which was bought by the U.S. Navy in 1958, is a truly extraordinary vessel.
Most deep-diving craft up to that point (and, indeed, up to today) were tethered vessels, linked to their ‘motherships’ on the surface by steel cables and umbilical cords to aid breathing.
The 50ft-long Trieste was, in contrast, a wholly self-contained submarine, free-diving and with its own life-support systems. It was not attached to the surface in any way during its extraordinary five-hour descent to the ocean floor.
The Trieste in some ways resembled an underwater airship. It consisted of two parts: a huge cigar-shaped ‘balloon’ filled with 22,500 gallons of petrol to provide buoyancy (petrol is lighter than water).
Attached underneath this balloon was a tiny steel sphere, manufactured by Krupp of West Germany, just 7ft across, into which the pilots were crammed.
Effectively, it worked like a hot air balloon underwater, since the petrol in the balloon was incompressible, unlike air. So even at great pressure, the petrol balloon kept its shape and the craft remained buoyant.
But if the petrol in the balloon was lighter than water, how did the submarine descend ?
Nine tons of iron pellets were attached to the craft to make it sink — and when the pilots wanted to ascend again, they were jettisoned on to the ocean floor.
During the dive, temperatures in the dank, unheated pressure sphere fell to a few degrees above zero, and the shivering pilots ate chocolate bars to conserve their strength.
By Cam Fuller - The Star Phoenix
Saskatoon's most famous (OK, and only) shipwreck is finally a film.
The Last Steamship, a documentary on the sinking of the S.S. City of Medicine Hat, has its maiden screening on Friday at the Broadway Theatre.
"This seems to be a story that so many people don't know about," says director Leanne Schinkel. "You can't imagine a 130- foot steamship on our river."
But on June 8, 1908, the opulent ship made quite an impression on the newly encorporated city. High water caused the vessel to get tangled in telegraph wires under the nearby CN bridge, damaging the rudder.
It then drifted into the Traffic Bridge, crashing into one of its piers and ultimately sinking. Both the ship -- built by the colourful Scottish immigrant Capt. Horatio Hamilton Ross at a cost of $28,000 (more than half a million dollars today) -- and the bridge were practically new.
History came back to life in 2006 when divers from Saskatoon Fire and Protective Services chanced upon the sternwheeler's anchor while on a training exercise. The spectacular find triggered an archeological dive in September of 2008. Schinkel, producer Nils Sorensen and editor Corby Evenson, all trained at the University of Regina film school, were intrigued by the story.
"It seemed like an awesome thing for us to work on," said Schinkel, who happened to be working for Shearwater Tours at the time of the dive. One of its boats, the Meewasin Queen, was used for the expedition.
"We have to shoot this. We'll figure it out later," they thought.
The project turned into a full-length doc running 80 minutes and consuming incalculable hours of their donated time. The film looks at the quest for artifacts and goes back in time with a historical recreation featuring extras in period costumes.
By Andy Philip - Times of Malta
A bid to keep the world’s oldest passenger clipper ship in Britain was rejected in favour of proposals to send it to Australia. The 145-year-old City of Adelaide, currently resting on a slipway on the west coast of Scotland, faced being broken up for display in a museum.
Campaigners from Sunderland, where the ship was built, were told by the Scottish Government that their bid lacked practical detail, but they vowed to fight on.
The ship, which predates the Cutty Sark, took people and wool between Australia and Britain on more than 20 round trips.
Later known as the Carrick, it has been left to the elements at Irvine, North Ayrshire, where it faced deconstruction. Campaigners competed to re-float the vessel and take it to Australia or back to Sunderland.
Scottish Culture Minister Fiona Hyslop, who was in Irvine yesterday, said: “We can now have a link between Scotland and Australia which allows both nations to share the vessel’s historical, cultural and social significance through tourism, interpretation and education.”
She added: “I was impressed and inspired by the enormous commitment shown by the Australian and Sunderland groups for the vessel.
“I am aware that everyone who worked on the unsuccessful bid will be disappointed. However, because of the need for the vessel to be removed from its current location, a viable alternative to deconstruction had to be identified in order to save the ship.”
City of Adelaide Preservation Trust chairman Creagh O’Connor said he was “thrilled and delighted” after a decade-long campaign. The trust aims to preserve the vessel on a land-based maritime precinct at Port Adelaide in time for the 175th anniversary of settlement next year.
Sunderland campaigner Peter Maddison – who briefly “occupied” the clipper last year - was told his group’s bid “did not contain sufficient detail in practical terms”.
Following the decision, Mr Maddison, a former merchant seaman and Sunderland councillor, said: “There will be a lot of broken hearts in Sunderland today.
“But after all, the ship lies there still. It will be months before anything can happen and the Australians have now got to demonstrate they can do this.
From Barents Observer
The unique operation on removal of the wreck of the Russian cruiser Murmansk in Sørøya, Northern Norway, will be made into a documentary. A webcam has been put up by the wreck, giving people the opportunity to follow the operation on-line.
Since this is a unique project on world basis the contractor Norwegian company AF Gruppen Norge AS and the Norwegian Coastal Administration want to document the operation through a documentary, NRK reports. The two parties have concluded an agreement with a film production company.
The web camera that has been put up near the shipwreck will provide possibilities for time-laps sequences in the film. This is the first time the new camera system Roundshot livecam is being used in Norway, which on three seconds can take 360° freeze-frames. The on-line pictures will have a 24 hour delay, the Norwegian Coastal Administration’s web site reads.
Removal of the wreck of the Russian cruiser “Murmansk” started last summer, as BarentsObserver reported. The vessel ended its days in Sørøya in the rocks outside Sørvær on the coast of Finnmark in December 1994. The cruiser was being tugged southwards for scrapping when it tore away during a storm and has since been to a lot of nuisance to the local population.
The plan is to drain the sea bottom around the wreck by using jetties and then cut the vessel in pieces on the dry bottom. The operation should be completed in 2011.
By Charles Cooper - CBS News
In 1839, a couple of inventors, William Cooke and Charles Wheatstone unveiled to the world their telegraph and It wasn't long before the idea of constructing an underwater telegraph cable that would stretch across the Atlantic began to take hold.
To some, it may have seemed as out-of-this-world as would the idea of sending humans to the moon a century later. But 19th century entrepreneurs soon proved the concept could work, albeit on a smaller scale.
By the early 1850s, France and England were connected by underwater cable and other communications networks soon followed that would hook up the United Kingdom with Ireland and the Netherlands. And there was no shortage of motivation: prior to the building of a trans-Atlantic cable, the fastest ships of the day took a week to cross the ocean.
Attempting a project on such a grand scale brought with it a set unique technical and logistical challenges - not the least being the approximately 2,500 miles of ocean which separated the continents.
It's estimated that the amount of wire which got laid on the ocean floor was equivalent to thirteen circumnavigations of the earth.
Despite a series of setbacks, the cable was successfully connected after a third attempt in the summer of 1858.
Unfortunately, glitches continued and it would take another eight years before the new and old worlds could count upon a reliable underwater cable connection between North America and Europe.
On July 27 1866, chroniclers would note that cable was pulled ashore at Heart's Content, a small fishing village in Newfoundland.
By Carolyn Crist - The Times, Gainesville
A piece of history left Gainesville 135 years ago, but now it's back.
A diving bell - the only one of its kind still left from the Civil War - was unearthed from the Chestatee River decades ago and is finally being restored before it is displayed in downtown Dahlonega.
Usually found in port towns such as New Orleans, Savannah and Charleston, S.C., the diving bell was used in Dahlonega in 1875 to mine gold at the bottom of the river.
The object, which measures 8 feet high, 15 feet long and almost 6 feet wide, allowed divers a place to breathe under water while skimming river bottoms.
Historians have compared the design to turning a glass upside down in water, which creates a pocket of air at the top.
"It's a very rare piece of Civil War-era technology and the only one surviving of its kind," said Chip Wright, project manager and preservation planner for the Georgia Mountains Regional Commission. "This diving bell should never have been here. It's a good thing because that's why it has survived."
During the metal drives of World War I and World War II, bells of this type were melted down and used by the military, he said.
"This was lying on the bottom of the river and forgotten for all these years," he said. "You can read about these in books and see drawings, but this one is even more unique because it was customized to serve in a gold mining operation."
Philologus Loud, a Dahlonega inventor and entrepreneur, was doing business in New Orleans when he came up with the idea to use the bell to search for gold. The Benjamin Mallifert bell model, which includes two hatches and a pressurized air-lock system to create a pocket of air under water, was part of the salvaging ship named The Glide that scanned the Mississippi and Yazoo rivers.
Loud bought the bell when the ship was converted to a package steamer. The bell was loaded onto a rail car and reached the end of its rail trip in Gainesville, where it was loaded onto a Southern Express wagon and toted to Dahlonega.
In 1983, local gold miners decided to pull out the object that fishers had noticed.
"The gold miners knew what it was right way," said Anne Amerson, a Dahlonega historian who has studied the bell for years. "I didn't see it until 1990, and we still haven't figured out everything about it."
By Olga Pshenitsyna - The Voice of Russia
“Polar Odyssey” brigantine, a replica of 18th century historic ships, has been launched in Karelia. Reconstructed from old drawings, the vessel will hoist its sails in the harbor town of Petrozavodsk on the western shore of Lake Onega, in northwestern Russia.
Together with a team of his associates, engineer Victor Dmitriev has been engaged in designing and building ships for 30 years already. He said it took them quite a long time to design and build “Polar Odyssey".
"Unlike building boats to order, which takes approximately a year, the brigantine has been under construction for a total of 10 years. Our hard work eventually resulted in a well-wrought vessel, mature like cognac in casks," says Dmitriev.
16 meters in length and 4.6 in width, “Polar Odyssey” is a replica of high-performance serviceable 18th century warships, used to conduct patrol and surveillance missions. Such vessels used to enjoy increased demand by sea pirates.
The brigantine has six cannons on board, which will serve a dual purpose, Victor Dmitriev says: "Above all, these are guns for saluting. Besides, we developed a tutorial program in the form of a role-playing game “Treasure Island” or “Pirates of Lake Onega”. This is a kind of sea paintball, with cannons firing paint-filled capsules."
From Dina Indrasafitri - The Jakarta Post
Despite being rich in sunken treasure, Indonesia is undecided whether to ratify a world convention that protects underwater cultural heritage, a senior official said Wednesday at a workshop for officials and academics in Jakarta.
“Indonesia still needs to carefully weigh up the benefits and consequences of ratifying [the convention],” Hari Untoro Drajat, the Culture and Tourism Ministry’s director general for history and archaeology said.
He said ratifying the UNESCO convention on protection of the underwater cultural heritage needed careful preparation, including adequate legislation, human resources, infrastructure and funding.
The convention was adopted by UNESCO in 2001, and has been ratified by 31 countries as of May this year. Cambodia is the only signatory in Asia.
The convention carries four main principles: The obligation to preserve underwater cultural heritage, in situ preservation preferred, no commercial exploitation, and training and information sharing.
Arief Rachman from the Indonesian National Commission for UNESCO said the third principle has been the most challenging for Indonesia.
Photo: Mathieu Meur/National
By Andrew Hough - Telegraph.co.uk
The section of wall lies under the surface of Panjiakou reservoir about three hours drive northeast of Beijing.
A team of professional divers braved the murky conditions to get some ghostly shots of the wall which ran from 13 metres below the surface to the bottom at 35 metres.
Though urban legend has it being the only man-made object visible from space this one part is lying up to 100 feet below a valley flooded when a dam was built.
Mr Meur, the expedition photographer, said just getting the 500kg of equipment down hundreds of steps to the water's edge was a challenge in itself.
"The lake itself is rather barren, with only a couple of species of freshwater fish and shrimps," he said.
"The real stars here really are the ruins. The wall is in amazingly good condition considering that it is several hundred years old, and is underwater.
"The top of it was at around 13m depth, and we located a guard tower, with openings on all sides, which created underwater tunnels."
He added: "Throughout the dives, the weight of history was very present on our minds. It was incredible to navigate the wall and guard posts, thinking that centuries ago soldiers were walking the same location, keeping China safe from intruders."
"We did two dives on the Wall and wanted to do more but were plagued by technical problems.
"The diving was challenging as it was 25 centigrade on the surface but dropped to just six degrees when you got 35 metres down on the bottom.
"Visibility was limited to about 1-5 metres maximum, as the bottom is very silty. If you stir the bottom, you end up diving in soup."
From AOL News
When Robert Cargill got word this week that a group of Chinese evangelicals had uncovered Noah's Ark atop a Turkish mountain, the archaeologist's reaction was a familiar one.
"I thought, here we go again -- another fake 'ark-eologist,' " says Cargill, an adjunct assistant professor of Near Eastern languages and cultures at UCLA.
His skepticism may prove well founded: A former member of the joint team from Noah's Ark Ministries International and Media Evangelism Ltd. that announced the find has circulated an e-mail suggesting that the discovery might have been staged. And if that's the case, it would be just the latest in a series of hoaxes surrounding the much-searched-for vessel.
Indeed, it was word of two previous ark expeditions that helped prompt the American Schools of Oriental Research, the leading professional organization of American Middle Eastern archaeologists, to take action.
Fed up with the exposure these types of stories were getting in the media, the group last year launched a committee tasked with taking aim at archaeological frauds.
"We really just decided that it was time to take back our field," says Eric Cline, a George Washington University archaeologist. He and Cargill co-chair the committee, whose membership also includes the Archaeological Institute of America and the Society of Biblical Literature.
By Lauren Green - Fox News
Earlier this week a group of Chinese Christians held a news conference to announce they were 99.9 percent sure they had found Noah's Ark — the boat the Bible says was built by God's most righteous man before a "sinful" human race drowned in the Great Flood.
Maybe the find on Mount Ararat in Turkey really is Noah's Ark. More likely, it isn't. But if it isn't, that won't stop Ark enthusiasts from believing it is out there somewhere.
Immediately in the wake of the news flash, experts weighed in to shoot it down. "The wood in the photos is not old enough" ... "There are no location pictures to verify the site" ... "No independent experts have looked at the data" ... "There's never been evidence of a great flood."
And the people voicing the loudest caution are biblical archeologists who believe the ark is real and that it can be found. Dr. Randall Price, head of Judaic Studies at Liberty University, had been a cohort of the Noah's Ark International team until two years ago.
He pulled out of the project, sensing they were being taken advantage of by Kurdish guides, who've turned Ark searching into a cottage industry.
"I think we can't rule out the possibility that this is a hoax, because a lot of the things that happen in that region of the world, and especially with the Kurdish guides that are involved, are designed to try to extract money from gullible people," Price said.
But he added: "I'm reserving my opinion at this point until I see how things are developing."
Dr. John Morris, lead archeologist at the Institute for Creation Research, says "I'm leaning towards that the Chinese people have been deceived."
Morris has led 13 expeditions to Mount Ararat looking for the ark. He knows the area well and says of the recent find, "At best, it is an elaborate deception."
Morris and Price were contacted by the Chinese team to take part in the press event, but they declined based on how little evidence they saw. Professor Porcher Taylor at the University of Richmond says he, too, believes it is not Noah's Ark, because "they're digging in the wrong place on Mt. Ararat."
By Joe Kovacs - WorldNetDaily
Has the real Noah's Ark spoken of in the Bible truly been found ?
At least two seasoned archaeologists who have made numerous expeditions to Mount Ararat in search of Noah's Ark are throwing cold water on this week's claim the Old Testament vessel has finally been discovered, saying it's a hoax involving wood hauled in from the Black Sea region.
"To make a long story short: this is all reported to be a fake," said Randall Price, director of Judaic Studies at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va.
"This is not Noah's Ark," adds Bob Cornuke of the Bible Archaeology Search and Exploration Institute. "This is a fake. It's a fraud and it's of the highest caliber according to what I can assess from the evidence and talking to eyewitnesses and people from Turkey."
WND reported yesterday that Chinese and Turkish explorers with Noah's Ark Ministries International said they were "99.9 percent sure" they found the remnants of the legendary biblical vessel high up on Mount Ararat in eastern Turkey.
The 15-member team claims it recovered wooden specimens from a structure at an altitude of 13,000 feet and that carbon dating suggested it was 4,800 years old.
Yes, Noah's Ark is completely real! Now find out "what you don't Noah" about the story as well as your spectacular destiny they rarely ever mention in church in this autographed No. 1 best-seller!
Several compartments, some with wooden beams, are said to be inside and could have been used to house animals, the group indicated.
"The search team has made the greatest discovery in history," declared Prof. Oktay Belli, an archaeologist at Istanbul University. "This finding is very important and the greatest up to now."
By Benjamin Radford - LiveScience's Bad Science
A Chinese Christian filmmaker claims to have found the final resting place of Noah's Ark on Turkey's Mount Ararat.
Yeung Wing-Cheung says he and a team from Noah's Ark Ministries found the remains of the Ark at an elevation of about 12,000 feet (3,658 meters).
They filmed inside the structure and took wood samples that were later analyzed in Iran. He claims the wood was carbon-dated to around the reputed time of Noah's flood, which would be remarkable since organic material should have long since disintegrated in the last 5,000 years.
Yeung said that he is "99 percent certain that it is Noah's Ark based on historical accounts, including the Bible and local beliefs of the people in the area, as well as carbon dating."
While news of the find is making headlines around the world, there's one part of the story that Yeung is conspicuously silent about: He is only the latest in a long line of people who claim to have found Noah's Ark.
In fact, there have been at least half a dozen others — all of them funded by Christian organizations — who have claimed final, definitive proof of Noah's Ark. So far none of the claims have proven true.
Noah's Ark is routinely re-discovered, because there are many who fervently want it to be found. Biblical literalists — those who believe that proof of the Bible's events remains to be found — have spent their lives and fortunes trying to scientifically validate their religious beliefs.
There are several reasons why the new claims should be treated with skepticism. For example, Yeung refuses to disclose the location of the find and is instead keeping it a secret. This of course is inherently unscientific; for the claims to be proven, the evidence must be presented to other scientists for peer-review. Nor has the alleged 5,000-year-old wood been made available for independent testing.
By Scott Harper - The Virginian-Pilot
They found a wheelchair, three bikes, a baby stroller, a bag of laundry, a mop, tires, a garden cart, a sledge hammer, city of Norfolk banners, chairs, tables, a Ford hubcap, a ladder covered with oysters, hoses, cables, chains and a traffic cone – all covered with black mud and years of foul rot.
Commercial divers hauled up all this junk Saturday and loads more from the bottom of the Elizabeth River, in a small cove near Town Point Park and Waterside in downtown Norfolk, in just two hours.
The cleanup, called the Town Point Trash Dive, was the first of its kind in Virginia and only one of a handful in the United States, done to commemorate Earth Day, which officially arrives Thursday.
“We wanted to do something different for Earth Day, and this definitely was it,” said Karen Scherberger, executive director of Norfolk Festevents, the outdoor-party group that sponsored the daylong effort.
Dozens of curious people strolled by the piles of junk on display along the city docks, and marveled.
“Is this from a shipwreck ?” asked Charlene Goggins, visiting from Oklahoma.
“My God, this is unbelievable,” said her husband, David . “It makes you wonder how much else is dumped in our rivers. It’s disgusting.”
The running joke of the day among the divers and crews was who would find the first dead body.
Then, about mid-morning, a team from Precon Marine Inc. discovered what appeared to be a shoulder or hip bone. Police soon arrived and took the bone away in an evidence bag. They gave it to a member of the medical examiner’s office. The joke was definitely over.
The idea for the cleanup stemmed from a Festevents volunteer and photographer, Rosemarie O’Grady, who participated in a similar underwater cleanup last fall in a small town in Sweden.
By Daxim Lucas - Philippine Daily Inquirer
Imagine an underwater hotel room with a panoramic view of tropical fish swimming over large coral reefs, manta rays gliding in the water and turtles chasing after tiny squids. Science fiction ? Not if businessman Paul Moñozca can help it.
Moñozca, a Singapore-based financier who heads a group of international investors, plans to start a futuristic underwater resort off the island of Palawan as part of an aggressive venture into the ecotourism business.
The project, dubbed “Last Frontier Resort,” is expected to bring in a total of $1 billion in investments spread over a 10-year period—an average of $100 million a year which, its proponents hope, will help create thousands of direct and indirect jobs in the Palawan.
Moñozca—known for his advocacies of helping improve the overseas remittance business, acquiring stakes in the US professional basketball league and junior circuit stock car racing teams—is the main driver of the project. His Monaco-based philanthropic fund, dubbed “Spirit,” plays a lead role in the development of marine habitats and ocean protection initiatives.
The Last Frontier Resort will be built with submarine technology. When completed, the proposed underwater habitat will be the biggest in the world.
The project has been in the planning stage since last year, and its proponents have identified a group of islands in the Calamianes cluster as the site for development.
The site is owned by businessman and resort developer Steve Tajanlangit. It is made up of a group of seven islands in close proximity to each other, and another group of seven islands outside the main cluster.
From BBC News
DNA analysis is being used to help solve the 18th Century mystery of the origins of an Anglesey medical family.
Two boys were sole survivors of a 1745 shipwreck and experts want to find out where in the world they were born.
One of the boys was a brilliant manipulator and healer of bones, and started a family of doctors who helped develop orthopaedic medicine.
Now DNA has been taken from a direct male descendant and scientists hope the mystery will finally be solved.
At the time of the shipwreck the boys were rescued off the Skerries by a smuggler called Dannie Lukie. The story goes that the boys were twins, and probably Spanish nobility, but there is no reliable evidence to support this.
Others say they were Manx, Scots or Dutch.
It is known however that after their rescue the boys were adopted and given the surname "Thomas", one was called Evan and the other Matthew. The one called Matthew seems to have died early-on but Evan went on to become a brilliant manipulator and healer of broken bones.
This spawned an entire family of qualified doctors who helped develop orthopaedic medicine.
One of his descendants, Hugh Owen Thomas, invented the "Thomas splint" which reduced the incidence of deaths from femoral leg fractures during the Great War.
By Michael Hunt - Placenorthwest.co.uk
Grosvenor and Oxford Archaeology North will be opening the world's first commercial enclosed wet dock to the public in May.
Prior to the new tourist attraction opening to the public, known as the Old Dock Experience, partners involved in the preservation of the Old Dock, and the development of the interpretation centre, will celebrate the completion of a visitor facility this Friday.
The visitor facility can be accessed in Thomas Steers Way, which is a large cavern consisting of a small exhibition room including pre-recorded documentaries and storyboards, the exposed Old Dock, walkways, and a large screen showing a reconstruction of the dock with a sailing ship.
The dock has been carefully preserved under Grosvenor's £1bn Liverpool One redevelopment and was discovered during excavations in 2001 after being buried since 1826.
Chris Bliss, Liverpool One's estate director, said: "Working with Oxford Archaeology North who undertook the initial excavations in 2001, Grosvenor has incorporated the Old Dock into the design of Liverpool One and has developed a visitor facility which will be run by National Museums Liverpool.
"The driving force throughout the whole process, Grosvenor funded the interpretation centre up to the completion of the building and with support received from Liverpool Vision, the funding for the fit out of the exhibition space and also the design and production of the exhibition was kindly provided by the North West Development Agency."
By Steve Macnaull - The Canadian Press
At Dean's Blue Hole in the Bahamas it is completely natural to feel scared, excited, fascinated, confused and awed - all at the same time. You see - true to its name - it's a magnificent dark blue circle of water that plunges more than 200 meters into an abyss.
Usually blue holes, also known as sinkholes, simply look like ponds, but Dean's is special.
Connected to the Atlantic Ocean by a light blue inlet, it is framed by scooped-out cliffs on one side and perfect arches of white sand beaches on the other. As the deepest blue hole in the world it attracts sightseers, curious beachgoers, amateur snorkellers, brave scuba divers and free divers.
Our affable tour guide, Sanfred Rolle, certainly knows how to build blue-hole drama.
"I explain it to everyone on the drive here. But you never believe it until you see it. It becomes the highlight of everyone's trip."
First we hike to the clifftop to marvel at the perfect dark circle of water that marks the hole. Then it's time to get in the water.
From the beach in snorkel gear the initial swimming is through shallow water filled with darting fish.
The shallows, white sand bottom and fish abruptly disappear as the hole immediately plunges to 202 meters and the water takes on an eerie but calming, presence.
By Rich Pietras - Bucks County Courier Times
Aqua welders can earn upwards of $100,000 a year, said the course instructor. Ashley Bechtold has always loved the water. She also likes to cook. Combine the two, and the 17-year-old student could have pursued a career as a chef on a ship.
But that idea really never took hold for the Hatboro-Horsham High School junior. Instead of heating up meals, she's intrigued by the idea of heating up metals ... with a torch ... underwater.
So she entered the welding program at the Eastern Center for Arts and Technology in Willow Grove in September.
"The idea of playing with fire underwater amused me," Bechtold said from her classroom/workshop. "After I learned how much money you could make doing it, I thought it would be a good choice."
Her decision to enter the male-dominated field of welding came almost as a fluke after visiting the tech school as part of Keith Valley Middle School's Move-Up Day in eighth grade.
"I thought about the culinary program, but I remember this one girl talking to us about welding," recalls Bechtold. "She said she really loved it and was making good money ... I knew nothing about it but, now, I couldn't be happier with my choice."
Upon entering the two-year, 900-hour basic welding course, Bechtold said she discovered two things right away.
By David Bentley - Coventry Telegraph
A new British movie is to tell the story of the ancient cataclysm that's believed to be the basis for the Atlantis legend.
The BBC has announced the TV film, to be called Atlantis and directed by Primeval's Tony Mitchell, will "tell the dramatic story of the greatest natural disaster to shake the ancient world, a disaster that triggered the downfall of a civilisation and spawned a legend."
The film will be made using the same techniques as Zack Snyder's Spartan war epic 300 and will be accompanied by a documentary looking at the historical evidence.
Around 1620 BC a gigantic volcano in the Aegean Sea stirred from its 19,000-year slumber. The eruption tore apart the island of Thera, producing massive tsunamis that flooded the nearby island of Crete, the centre of Europe's first great civilisation - the Minoans.
This apocalyptic event, many experts now believe, provided the inspiration for the legend of Atlantis. Based on the work of leading scientists, archaeologists and historians, this drama immerses viewers in the exotic world of the Minoans.
Starring Reece Ritchie (10,000BC, The Lovely Bones, Prince Of Persia) and Stephanie Leonidas (MirrorMask), Atlantis is the first British TV drama to use the 'virtual backlot' technique of the movie 300. It will be filmed in a studio against green-screen backgrounds to which computer-generated scenery is later added.
From David Replogle - Cavalier Daily
The University awarded Harrison Undergraduate Research Awards to 35 students this year, studying topics as diverse as investigating shipwrecks off the Carolina coast to researching edible rain gardens.
The awards provide grants to support independent study projects during the coming summer. Students receive up to $3,000 to fund their projects, with their faculty mentors awarded a separate $1,000 reward.
This year’s group of scholars first submitted detailed plans to the Faculty Senate for approval. From there, the Senate cut nearly half of the number of hopefuls, awarding 35 grants from 62 applicants. Additionally, two students were given grants underwritten by donors outside of the University.
Students were chosen based on a variety of variety of factors, said Lucy Russell, director of the Center for Undergraduate Excellence. These factors included how well the applicant defined their research questions, the proposed methodologies and whether the student appropriately prepared to conduct the research effectively, she said.
She added that the Senate receives a variety of proposals each year, which is what allows for such a wide spectrum of final projects.
“We do a great deal of advertising to different students, ensuring variety in the proposals,” said Pamela Norris, chair of the Faculty Senate’s Research and Scholarship Committee. “Applicants are funded from nearly every major and every year.”
Third-year College student Michelle Rehme, an environmental thought and practice major, is using the grant to explore agricultural economics through the lens of Charlottesville’s own Morven Farm.
“My project is studying what makes an American medium-sized farm economically viable in today’s world, looking specifically at our region in Virginia,” Rehme said.
In 1796, Thomas Jefferson bought the acreage now encompassing Morven Farm, and Rehme is answering many of the same questions that the founder of the University once did.
By Amy Kibler - Six & Special Projects Producer
Ask anyone who’s lived in North Carolina who the most famous pirate is and you’ll probably hear the name Blackbeard. The man is a legend across the state’s coastline. But did you know that the coast of Beaufort is home to the resting place of one of the pirate’s famous ships ?
We take you inside the history of the swashbuckler and the fight to save Queen Anne’s Revenge.
He put fear into the hearts of those at home and on the waters but Edward Teach, also known as Blackbeard, left this town one of his most prized possessions, his flagship. Before Beaufort was even on the map, Blackbeard made the area his stomping grounds. He’s believed to have hung out at what’s known as The Hammock House.
“There’s a house that’s show as the white house on the old charts that marks Beaufort Inlet and he is supposed to have spent nights there, eat, and drank grog and so forth,“ Beaufort Mayor Richard Stanley said.
After years of terror on the high seas, Blackbeard’s luck soon ran out, by running the Queen Anne’s Revenge aground in June 1718. Six months later, the pillaging pirate was killed in a battle at Ocracoke Inlet. But, it’s his beloved ship that keeps his legacy alive today.
In 1996, a group discovered the presumed shipwreck of the Queen Anne’s Revenge and ever since then, archaeologists have been working to restore the pieces linked to the pirate.
From Sify News
A rare Bugatti that lay at the bottom of a lake for 73 years is set to fetch over 80,000 pounds at auction-the price of a brand new luxury motor.
The legendary car was dumped in the water in 1936 by a frustrated Swiss official because the owner had abandoned it without paying the import tax. The value of the car was less than the money owed and the customs officer was compelled to destroy it.
Thus, he drove it over the Italian border to nearby Lake Maggiore - and pushed it into the deep waters. The story became part of folklore in the nearby town of Ascona as locals debated whether the car actually existed.
After 30 years, the truth emerged after a keen diver rediscovered the Bugatti lying on its side 160 feet down at the bottom of the lake. Since then, members of the local diving club regularly visited it and last year decided to raise it and sell it for a local charity.
Surprisingly, there was still air in the tyres and traces of the original Bugatti blue paint on the bodywork. It is believed that 20 per cent of the vehicle is salvageable and collectors and museums are likely to be keen to buy it.
By Susan Cocking - Miami Herald
Agroup of Florida-based technical divers is poised to try to solve a New Age/ancient mystery near the island of Bimini, Bahamas, 50 miles off the South Florida coast.
Gainesville-based Global Underwater Explorers -- best known for mapping massive underground springs in North Florida -- has been hired by a Virginia Beach-based non-profit group to try to uncover evidence of the Lost Continent of Atlantis.
The Association for Research and Enlightenment (A.R.E.) is devoted to the teachings of the late Edgar Cayce -- one of America's best-known psychics.
Dubbed the "Sleeping Prophet", Cayce died more than 60 years ago after making predictions both accurate and otherwise about thousands of topics and events.
By Jaegun Lee - Waterton Daily Time
There might be more sunken cannons in the depths of the St. Lawrence River near Carleton Island's Fort Haldim, according to a group of archaeologists and scuba divers.
The initial survey of a small area off the island this summer conducted by the group showed no evidence of large iron objects. However, the group hopes to expand the search once it gathers more historical evidence that there are, in fact, more cannons disposed of by the British in the early 1800s.
Dennis R. McCarthy, co-founder of the St. Lawrence Historical Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in Cape Vincent that conducted the survey, said the search began after two scuba divers claimed in 2008 that they saw a sunken cannon off of Carleton Island several years ago.
"Our aim was to go out there, do a survey, locate the cannon and measure it," said Mr. McCarthy, a certified scuba diver and resident of Cape Vincent.
From The Economist
A shipwreck is a catastrophe for those involved, but for historians and archaeologists of future generations it is an opportunity.
Wrecks offer glimpses not only of the nautical technology of the past but also of its economy, trade, culture and, sometimes, its warfare.
Until recently, though, most of the 3m ships estimated to be lying on the seabed have been out of reach. Underwater archaeology has mainly been the preserve of scuba divers.
That has limited the endeavor to waters less than 50 meters deep, excluding 98% of the sea floor from inspection.
Even allowing for the tendency of trading vessels to be coasters rather than ocean-going ships, that limits the number of wrecks available for discovery and examination.
Moreover, shallow-water shipwrecks are often damaged. Storms reach down to affect them. Seaweeds and corals, which need light to grow, colonize them.
Freelance divers, seeking salvage rather than knowledge, despoil them. Archaeologists do sometimes team up with people who have access to miniature submarines (some manned, some unmanned) to explore deeper waters.
But such expeditions are expensive—a million dollars a pop is not untypical—and archaeology is not a well-resourced profession. Often, these expeditions are privately financed, speculative ventures which amount to little more than treasure-hunting.
Modern robotics, however, is changing this. A new generation of cheap, free-swimming, automatic underwater vehicles (AUVs) is being developed. Past minisubs have needed a lot of backup and, if unmanned, have had to be guided by signals passing down tethers.
Their mother-ships have thus had to be fitted out specially, which is one reason for the expense. An AUV, by contrast, can be dropped into the ocean and left to fend for itself. A wider range of vessels can thus support it.
By Denise Perry Donavin - Southbend Tribune
Don McAlhany has a unique way of spending New Year's Eve: scuba diving under ice in Lake Michigan or the St. Joseph River.
This year will mark his 31st in scuba gear, as he joins members of the local Michigan Underwater Divers (M.U.D.). McAlhany is the president of M.U.D. — an organization of local scuba divers who explore the rivers and lakes of southwest Michigan.
M. U. D., an appropriate acronym, explains the diver, since mud is the venue the divers face most often.
Local lakes and rivers are not the clear blue of the Caribbean that many divers envision. And in that mud, the divers have found plenty of trash and treasures — from anchors and engines to cash registers and coins, McAlhany said.
By Enkayaar - Bollywood Trade News Network
Though it has been a subject that keeps on being visited on a regular basis by Hollywood, i.e. going for a treasure hunt inside the water, now for the first time (in Bollywood) a treasure hunt film BLUE with the under waters as the background is going to hit the silver screen in a short time from now.
The name in itself is an enigma as Blue is one of the colors whose interpretations keep on getting manifested over the years.
May be, the treasure hunt in water has not been a subject with the Indian film making fraternity owing to the fact that there are hardly any historical references about a ship laden with goods drowning off the Indian coasts.
As a matter of fact the ships used to start from the Indian coasts laden with the booty and were either pirated, or drowned in the Pacific Ocean towards their final destination to different European countries, and this is one of the reasons why Hollywood keeps on revisiting these topics, as they have got abundant source material to back upon.
The success of The Pirates of Caribbean is a monumental testimony to the interest that films of this genre continue to evince, among the aficionados around the world.
No wonder Blue is also situated in the Pacific Island and not in any country of the Indian Ocean.
By Miles Kemp - Adelaïde Now
Tall-ship enthusiast Peter Christopher wants to adapt the technology that found the wreck of the HMAS Sydney to solve the nation's greatest maritime mystery and at the same time rewrite Australian history.
In releasing new book Australian Shipwrecks, he has advocated a publicly funded search for the wreck of the famed Mahogany ship, which was discovered near Warrnambool in 1836 but by the end of that century had disappeared under sand dunes before its true significance could be studied.
Mr Christopher, whose day job is chief industrial officer of the Public Service Association, moonlights as a tall-ship and shipwreck expert and is the driving force behind a bid to rescue the City of Adelaide clipper ship which is facing destruction in Scotland.
Scientists believe the Mahogany ship was a Portuguese vessel reported lost in 1522, and if so would prove that the European nation first charted the southern coast of Australia.
Mr Christopher said charts purporting to be of the southern Australian coastline were published in 1536 in the Rotz Atlas, but their authenticity has long been questioned.
By Harry Mount - Mail Online
Take a stroll along the bank of the Thames by the City of London at low tide and, chances are, you'll see a man prodding around in the mud with an old garden fork and a spade.
Occasionally, you'll see him scoop out a gunge-covered scrap and gently lay it in his bucket. Harmless eccentric, you might think, but you'd be wrong. Sometimes, the Thames reveals some extraordinary oddities.
Most recently, it was a 17th century prisoner's ball and chain, discovered by one of the river's treasure hunters - or mudlarks.
There was no sign of the prisoner who once must have worn it, but it caused a flurry of excitement among those who specialise in uncovering the river's long-lost treasures.
Anthony Pilson knows better than most that there's more to the muddy Thames than meets the eye. Over the past 30 years, Anthony, 76, has plucked thousands of treasures, worth hundreds of thousands of pounds, from the river's silt and clay.
And now, in an unprecedented act of generosity, this humble man - home is a bedsit in Hampstead, North London - has handed his collection, delivered in a suitcase, holdall and plastic bag, to the Museum of London.
From Russia Today
The Russian navy has declassified its records of encounters with unidentified objects technologically surpassing anything humanity ever built, reports Svobodnaya Pressa news website.
The records dating back to soviet times were compiled by a special navy group collecting reports of unexplained incidents delivered by submarines and military ships.
The group was headed by deputy Navy commander Admiral Nikolay Smirnov, and the documents reveal numerous cases of possible UFO encounters, the website says.
Vladimir Azhazha, former navy officer and a famous Russian UFO researcher, says the materials are of great value.
“Fifty percent of UFO encounters are connected with oceans. Fifteen more – with lakes. So UFOs tend to stick to the water,” he said.
By Johnni Wongb - The Star Online
The deep waters off the coasts of Peninsular Malaysia as well as Sabah and Sarawak still hold the wrecks of many ships carrying Chinese porcelain dating from the Yuan, Ming and Qing eras.
These Chinese ceramics have now become highly desired collectibles that fetch up to tens of thousands of ringgit in antique shops as well as at auctions.
One of the world’s leading experts on Chinese ceramics from the Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute in China, Prof Cao Jianwen, is in Kuala Lumpur to help authenticate ancient ceramics found in Malaysia, including blue-and-white porcelain and celadon.
Prof Cao is delivering a lecture today on the Authentication of Jingdezhen Porcelain Exported to Southeast Asia during the Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties.
The slide presentation and authentication session will include Prof Cao’s research findings on the origins of the ceramic export trade to South-East Asia, kiln sites, types of porcelain, motifs, glazes, forms, uses and trade destinations.
By Kevin Mullaney - Wicked Local Truro
The ocean is full of secrets and mysteries, but it doesn’t fork over all that many clues, and rarely ones as big as the piece of a shipwreck that washed ashore two Fridays ago in the midst of a long nor’easter.
Two local men who had the chance to see it believe it was a 17th-century vessel, a remarkably ancient relic that they were able to capture in photographs before it was swept away again by storm tides, disappearing like a ghost.
“I saw a couple of people near this big black shape,” said Truro writer Sebastian Junger of his first encounter with the mysterious artifact.
It was just south of Ballston Beach, in an area where Junger swims and had found what he now knows are ribs from the wreck. The big black shape was about 20 by 40 feet long.
The tourists had no idea what they were looking at, he said.
“I was immediately struck by the shape of the hull,” said Junger.
“It was completely different, a rounded re-curve.” That is a shape he connected with old ships such as Spanish galleons, maybe even “a tumblehome,” he speculated, referring to the old wooden warship shape.
“It had a bulge at the water line. It was almost the contour of the shape of a woman.”
Emmy-winning production company will produce an on-going reality-based TV series of a hardcore shipwreck diver who teams up with a female underwater archaeologist to explore the best wrecks in the world accessible to everyday sport divers.
Across the globe, the ocean floor is littered with the wrecks of seafaring mankind. Viking longships, steamships, submarines, warships and Spanish galleons. Each has a unique and fatal story, many are submerged tombs, and some hold unbelievable treasure.
For an underwater archaeologist, wrecks are priceless and fragile time capsules, glimpses into past lives and cultures. For salvage divers, wrecks offer more tangible rewards -- from gleaming brass ships’ bells to Spanish gold.
In Awesome Wreck Dives, viewers will join our co-hosts as they research, dive and explore the world’s most exhilarating wrecks, unaided by submersibles and hi-tech professional equipment.
Both topside and deep within the wrecks, our cameras will be there to capture the fear, excitement and challenge of sport wreck diving at its very best.
By Kay Blundell
The shifting sands of Anaura Bay, north of Gisborne, have unearthed a rare piece of maritime history - a bronze nail from a historic shipwreck similar to that of a gold-laden ship which foundered at the Auckland Islands in 1866.
The nail is believed to be up to 200 years old but the identity of the uncovered wreck remains a mystery.
Anaura Bay resident Tony Ensor made the find several years ago but it has only been assessed by maritime officials in Wellington this week.
He said he noticed something scraping the bottom of his fishing boat about a metre from shore and waited for a particularly low tide to investigate.
He discovered a piece of wood protruding from the seabed and unearthed three pieces of battered wood with five bronze nails attached.
"Digging was bloody hard yakka, but once we found one nail we were intrigued and kept digging till the tide stopped us. It was not till we sat on the beach and looked at the hunks of wood [that we] saw wooden plugs had been hammered into them."
By Sue White
Saginaw Underwater Explorers celebrates 50 years. Bruce A. Beckert remembers where he was when astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong took their first steps on the moon in 1969.
"We were diving at a shipwreck on Isle Royale, and we stopped to watch it on a television at the lodge up there," said Beckert, 79, of Saginaw. "Then we just continued our dive.
"It's like another world itself diving up there; after the clear water and shipwrecks around Isle Royale, you almost don't want to go anywhere else."
And though he admits he hasn't "gotten wet" in 20 years, he's one of many who will help the Saginaw Underwater Explorers celebrate its 50th anniversary this year.
A charter member, Beckert started taking lessons in the pool at the old YMCA at Michigan and Ames when the club formed in 1959 and in the years since, he's held just about every office in the longest-running diving club in Michigan.
By Sherri Ellington
Lamar County's own treasure hunter Kelly Garrett is at it again – and this time he's going for a treasure of mythological proportions. The Edgar Cayce Foundation is paying expenses for the diving team Garrett works with to inspect a find its experts think may just be the ruins of the lost continent of Atlantis.
Garrett said the crew of the Aquaquest, a 70 foot steel hull research and salvage vessel, found the object in question about a year ago while seeking sand for beach restoration off the coast of Bimini.
"I don't know what it is. We certainly didn't find any temples," said Garrett. "I don't believe in Atlantis."
He points to an upside down map in a book he was reading on the subject before heading out for the three week cruise as just one reason for his skepticism. Garrett thinks the rectangular object, found under 90 feet of water, could be a sunken barge.
"We found one of those once, nearly swallowed by sand," he said. "We tried to salvage it but there was nothing on it but a couple of lobsters."
By Clair Horwood
Hanging out at an underwater café, some 20 feet under the Caribbean Sea, a cheeky little yellow and black fish nips my bottom. Welcome to Aruba or Bon Bini as the locals say!
I had always wanted to travel to the Caribbean - but as a fair-skinned redhead the prospect was challenging, and the idea of a week sitting in the shade just didn’t do it for me. I wanted to find somewhere to explore and have an adventure.
So, when the brochure described Aruba as an adventure playground with year-round sunshine, cooling trade winds, vibrant nightlife, and new direct flights from Gatwick thrown into the bargain, I could not resist a week away to this small and friendly island paradise.
Aruba, I later discovered, lies just off the coast of Venezuela, and is the 'A' in the ABC islands – its counterparts being Bonaire and Curacao. As a former colony of The Netherlands, Aruba still has a strong Dutch influence visible in the colourful colonial architecture in Oranjestad, the island’s capital.
Although the official language is Dutch, nearly everyone on the island speaks English, so no worries there, as well as the local tongue Papiamento.
This is a lilting mix of a number of other languages - including Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, English and French with a sprinkling of Arawak – and it’s utterly baffling.
By Shelby Sebens
The dilapidated light tower 35 miles from the mouth of the Cape Fear River could become a home for a dive charter business and fishery research.
Shipwrecks Inc. of South Carolina was the high bidder for Frying Pan Shoals light tower, which includes 5,000 square feet of living space and has its own helipad.
The company bid $515,000, said Lee Spence, one of the owners.
“We will be fixing it up very rapidly,” he said, noting he had not anticipated spending that much money.
Spence said not all of the details have been worked out yet, but the company plans to use the prime fishing spot for a sport fishing group, a dive charter business and probably do fisheries and oceanographic research with two or three universities.
From abc27 News
In a municipal garage owned by the City of Harrisburg is a pile of lumber that is the remains of the Royal Savage, the flagship of the most-famous traitor in American history, Benedict Arnold.
The Royal Savage was sunk in battle in 1776, salvaged in 1934, and purchased in 1995 by Mayor Stephen Reed for $42,500. The ship was supposed to be displayed in the National Civil War Museum.
Reed said the Revolutionary War ship would have been part of a special exhibit.
In 2001, the city of Plattsburgh, New York claimed the Royal Savage as its property. Randy King, the mayor's spokesman at the time, said Reed didn't like that idea because Plattsburgh didn't have a facility where the boat could be properly stored.
By Martin Carvalho
Located some 12km from the heart of the city are the mystical island of Pulau Besar and its chain of five smaller islands, whose past is equally fascinating and interesting as the historic Malacca itself.
It takes about 25 minutes to an hour to reach the island by boat or a chartered ferry from the mouth of the Malacca River or jetties in Umbai and Anjung Batu for a fee of between RM14 and RM300.
With decent stretches of sandy beaches, rugged hilly jungle terrain, boulder cliffs and corals, the islands have been attracting picnickers, tourists, and pilgrims and even treasure hunters for as long as anyone could remember.
Some 40 frontline officers from the Malacca Museums Corporation and Tourism Malaysia recently took a familiarization trip to Pulau Besar including a beach clean of the lesser known Pulau Nangka nearby.
By Mike Steere
The heady days of James Bond are but a distant memory and, the sad fact is amphibious cars are just not that cool anymore.
But a new fully submersible car inspired by Bond and updated for the new millennium could breathe fresh life into the sub-aqua sports car.
The Rinspeed sQuba is a fully submersible car designed by Swiss car designer Frank M Rinderknecht. Inspired by James Bond's submersible Lotus Esprit in the 1977 movie "The Spy Who Loved Me," the car drives on land, on water -- and under the water to a depth of ten meters.
Released as a prototype last year, the car is carbon neutral, entirely emissions-free and boasts electric motors and water jets to allow the driver to control the vehicle under the water.
The sQuba also has a compressed air tank which allows the occupants to breathe under water and all of the body work is water-tight and water-resistant.
Rinderknecht, the chief executive of Rinspeed, told CNN that no further units of the car have been produced but commercial production was not out of the question.
"Since the sQuba was perceived as a prototype, the manufacturing has not been explored. However, we are open for anyone to take up the project to serial production," he said.
By Robin McKie
Britain's love of seafood is helping to destroy the nation's maritime heritage.
That is the stark warning of marine archaeologists who say hundreds of sunken ships, from Elizabethan warships to second world war submarines, are being torn apart by trawlers - fishing for scallops and flatfish - dragging chains and cables across the seabed.
Investigations using robot submarines have revealed that serious damage has been inflicted on vast numbers of the 32,000 pre-1945 ships whose wrecks litter Britain's coastal waters.
Examples include the recently discovered 18th-century warship HMS Victory, which led Britain's fleet before Nelson's flagship of the same name. In 1744, Victory sank with all hands near the Channel Islands. Cannon hauled from the wreck showed it had suffered severe damage from trawlers.
"Marine wrecks give us a very important picture of life in the past," said Dr Sean Kingsley, of Wreck Watch International. "Everything used by the crew - pipes, cards, dice, cooking utensils - is preserved by the mud into which the ship settles, even its wooden hull."
Newly discovered wrecks are usually left undisturbed where they are assumed to be safe. But surveys by controversial US company Odyssey Marine Exploration suggest such wrecks are in danger from trawling, quarrying and oil-industry work.
From BC Local News
The 1000 Islands in Canada’s St. Lawrence Seaway is without question the world’s best fresh water shipwreck diving site.
Below the icy surface lie entire lost villages, immaculately preserved shipwrecked schooners of all description beckoning adventurous divers.
A Canadian exploration company is now offering a world-premiere opportunity to explore this Arctic Kingdom in the world’s best and most pristine fresh water dive location.
“The wide variety of ice conditions that the St. Lawrence provides is second to none outside of the arctic” says Graham Dickson, Master Instructor and founder of Arctic Kingdom Expeditions.
Never before have these pristine fresh water wrecks been dived on in the winter months when the water visibility is at its best.
“We’ve been planning this ice dive adventure in the St. Lawrence for many years and are very excited to see it become a reality,” Dickson says.
More than 130,000 inflatable breasts have been lost at sea en route to Australia. Men's magazine Ralph was planning to include the boobs as a free gift with its January issue.
The cargo is worth about $200,000, which is another blow for publisher ACP's parent company PBL, which is already in $4.3 billion of debt.
A spokeswoman for Ralph said the container left docks in Beijing two weeks ago but turned up empty in Sydney this week.
The magazine has put out an alert to shipping authorities to see if they have the container, but if they don't turn up in the next 48 hours it will be too late for the next issue, she said.
Ralph editor Santi Pintado urged anyone who has any information to contact the magazine.
"Unless Somali pirates have stolen them its difficult to explain where they are," Pintado told AAP.
"If anyone finds any washed up on a beach, please let us know."
From Sky News
An American scuba diver has been charged with murdering his wife after she drowned during their honeymoon at Australia's Great Barrier Reef.
The official allegation allows authorities to start trying to extradite David Gabriel Watson, of Birmingham, Alabama, to face the charges in Australia.
Watson's wife, Christina Mae Watson, drowned on October 22, 2003. The couple had been exploring a shipwreck off Queensland's coast, 11 days after their wedding.
In June this year, a coroner found there was sufficient evidence to charge Watson with killing his wife.
A Chinese man spent 13 years building himself a car he can take fishing.
Wang Hongjun, an electrician from Qian'an city, Hebei province, says his "amphibicar" cost him about £100,000 and 13 years of persistence to develop.
After driving it to Beijing to find investors, he told the Beijing Times: "I'm looking for auto producers who are interested in my creation, since I don't want to keep it to myself."
Wang says he often drives his creation to the lake in his hometown to fish, and claims he has even taken his son for a 10-mile drive out to sea.
The yellow sportscar can be sealed to make it waterproof by remote control. A column-shaped thruster and two propellers are installed in the car's boot.
Wang said his car can float and drive in the water, but he refused to divulge exactly how it works.
"It's a business secret, but I can assure you the car was made entirely by my hands. Each plate was welded by me," he said.
By Tony Walter
It's agreed that the lake bottom holds the remains of dozens of vessels that challenged lake storms and lost. With each shipwreck, myth and lore add to the reputation of Lake Michigan as a recreational resource not to be trifled with.
Death's Door off the tip of Door County got its name for a reason.
Kevin Cullen, an archaeology associate for Discovery World at Pier Wisconsin in Milwaukee, recently speculated on what he called the "Lake Michigan Triangle," a 3,750-square-mile section of the lake that goes from Manitowoc to Benton Harbor, Mich., to Ludington, Mich., and back to Manitowoc.
Cullen cited the disappearance of a freighter, a Northwest Airlines plane, and one freighter captain within that triangle over the past century that he said could have natural or supernatural causes, depending on one's bent for mystery and mythology.
By Robin Rowland
Pirate bands have existed since human beings first began ocean voyages. And it seems, despite their murder, robbery and slave trading, the public's romantic view of pirates existed long before Hollywood movies.
The pirates of the Caribbean were a money-maker for an author using the penname Captain Charles Johnson when his book, A General History of Robberies and Murders of the Most Notorious Pyrates, was published in London in 1724.
The account of famous pirates such as Henry Morgan and William Kidd became an 18th century bestseller. And 200 years before that, both Christian and Muslim chroniclers told the stories of pirates from both faiths, sometimes allies, sometimes enemies, who raided across the Mediterranean in the 16th century.
By Chris Lloyd
There’s been much talk of pirates this week after a Saudi-owned tanker was hijacked with Britons aboard. Chris Lloyd looks at the history and romance surrounding swashbucklers and buccaneers.
Ahoy, me hearties ! Shiver me timbers ! There be booty on the Indian Ocean. Arrrr, there be supertankers sailin’ ’boot laden to the gunnels with treasure – thick, black oozy treasure. Liquid gold, avast ye! I ain’t never – no, nay, ne’er – seen owt to match that Sirius Starrrr…
Sirius is the brightest star in the night sky. The Sirius Star is one of the biggest ships on the seven seas: 332 metres (1,090ft) long, carrying two million barrels of crude oil – a quarter of Saudi Arabia’s daily output – worth £70m.
And now she’s been captured by pirates.
These are Somalian pirates using motherships and global positioning satellites as opposed to swashbuckling pirates who sailed in galleons, glugged rum and said “arrrr” a lot.
From the New Zealand Herald
The two-seat Taiwanese fighter jet disappeared last week during a routine training mission over the Taiwan Strait.
Debris and body parts were found the next day, but authorities are at a loss to explain what happened.
The Oct. 20 crash revived decades-old speculation: Are Taiwan's Penghu islands the Bermuda Triangle of Asia?
"The Bermuda terror," boomed a headline in the United Evening News, a Taiwanese newspaper. "Three hundred dead or missing in 40 years over here."
Cable news stations aired grisly images of earlier plane crashes in the area, sparking debate in internet chat rooms.
The reports prompted Penghu officials to issue a statement disputing the Bermuda Triangle comparison, which they fear might scare away investors in a casino resort and other projects.
Most experts dismiss the idea and speculation that an irregular magnetic field disrupts navigation instruments. Scientists have found nothing abnormal in the area, says geologist Chen Wen-shan at National Taiwan University.
By Michael Jordan
Question: When is history like gymnastics ? Answer: When you have to bend over backwards to explain connections and make them matter to people today.
Around 1999 or so, I started my journey with the CSS Georgia, a Civil War warship sunk in the Savannah River adjacent to Old Fort Jackson.
The Georgia served as the genesis for countless stories at WSAV-TV 3 when I worked there as a reporter and anchor, as the subject of a cover article I wrote for this newspaper several years ago, and as the focus of my masters thesis at Armstrong Atlantic State University.
Now, more than eight years later, the ship is still telling me secrets and daring me to tell its stories to the Savannahians of today. There’s another ship trying to horn its way into the story, too. But I’ll tell you more about that later.
The Georgia’s story begins in Spring 1862, when the ironclad CSS Virginia smashed its way through the Union blockading fleet in Hampton Roads, Va.
The Virginia’s near-victory (it was checked by the Union ironclad USS Monitor before it could completely destroy the Yankee fleet) heralded the end of the age of wooden warships.
By Elaine Yong
Twenty meters below the surface of the Celebes Sea off the east coast of Malaysian Borneo, I'm getting blasted by the ripping current.
Desperately, I grasp at the loose coral littering the top of the reef wall trying to find an anchor. My husband, Aaron, has a slippery grip on my other hand and my two younger sisters are clutching the tips of my fins.
It would be downright comical if I weren't concentrating so hard on staying put.
The four of us tenuously hang on by our fingernails, while our bodies are buffeted by the washing-machine current that whips around Sipadan Island's most famous dive site, the aptly named Barracuda Point.
The battle is worth it. I'm staring at a huge school of those voracious predators.
There are hundreds of them, astonishingly still in the rushing waters, perfectly posed so I can get a good look at their toothy grins. Then in a silvery flash, the school turns on itself and swirls into a massive ball.
The barracudas swim off into the blue yonder.
From Orange Beach Community
The last time this mystery ship was visible was after Hurricane Ivan hit the Alabama Gulf Coast on September 16, 2004.
At that time a much smaller portion of the ship was visible above the sand.
Soon after Ivan revealed this historic treasure, the shifting sand covered the relic again.
Hurricane Ike's waves, this past week, pounded the beaches of the northern Gulf Coast and once again the mystery ship was revealed.
This time however, much more of the ship was uncovered.
This is the most visible the ship has ever been. The roughly 150-foot long, 30-foot wide wooden ship appears to have been powered by steam.
One of the artifacts within the perimeter of the ship's hull appears to be an old water pump.
A long pipe runs down the center of the ship, with smaller pipes found near by. While no one knows for sure what ship this is, historians speculate that the ship was a blockade-runner from the civil war.
The Mystery Ship, as it has come to be called, is located at the 6 mile marker on Fort Morgan Road.
From Times on Line (click on the picture to see a video)Take the plunge in Brussels, where £4m has been splashed out on a pool with a depth of 33 metres. World-class scuba diving has not, historically, been among Belgium's claim to fame.
Chocolates, the Smurfs, the European Parliament and statues of micturating minors, yes. Clear blue water and coral reefs, no.
So 11 years ago, a civil engineer with a passion for the underwater world decided that it was time this situation was redressed.
John Beernaerts's dream of creating the world's first indoor diving complex began as a simple doodle, sketched on a napkin in a Brussels bar.
Today John and I are sitting at another bar as waiters carry drinks and Thai food to tables. Facing us is a row of large, square windows.
Every few seconds a diver drifts past, blowing bubbles in the blue space behind the glass. It's a human aquarium.