Brian with bricks collected from the Brick Wreck.
On Monday Hans, Jake, Eric, Courtney, Wayne and Dean ventured out to the Brick Wreck to conduct test excavations. We started out the day by giving an orientation to the divers that were new to the site. Then we paired off into teams and began excavating unit three. The visibility started off around five feet, but immediately dropped to zero when the bottom sediment was agitated. We continued excavating in zero visibility for the most part, and recovered some interesting concretions with fastener holes. Once the unit reached the point where it could no longer be safely excavated, it was mapped and measured via touch since there was no visibility. After completing Unit 3, we opened a new unit over the brick pile. The seas kicked up towards the end of our dive so we decided to call it a day for safety’s sake.
Courtney and Hans with their improvised jellyfish protection.
On Tuesday, while battling an armada of jellyfish, our team made great progress in excavating the Emanuel Point II wreck site. The south portion of the wreck is revealing some interesting timbers and hull planking with lead sheathing attached. Unfortunately the wood has degraded to the point that we have been unable to acquire an intact sample for identification. The day’s excavations also revealed five larger timbers (possibly floors or futtocks) fastened to a large horizontal timber. This structure seems to resemble the stern section of the Emanuel Point I wreck. It is too early to determine where we are exactly on the wreck, but things are getting very interesting.
Wednesday’s weather, the outer bands of Hurricane Dolly.
Wednesday we were unable to do more than one dive due to inclement weather. The outer bands of Hurricane Dolly brought severe thunderstorms to the Florida panhandle. We had time to set up all of our equipment and put the first team of divers in the water, before the surrounding clouds decided to increase in darkness and some hair-raising electrical activity. We were forced to leave for safety reasons so we withdrew to the Visitors Center to attempt to wait it out. After looking at the weather radar the supervisors decided to call off diving for the day.
A piece of ceramic found in the central unit about 80cms below the surface.
On Thursday we were fortunate to have better weather than the day before. We had team members posted on all sides of the barge topside to act as lookouts for lightning strikes. Teams descended and excavated on the central and south units. On the central unit the focus was to continue to dredge and remove ballasts out of the newer units in search of a mast-step. In the south the first dive team used their time to clean ballast and oyster shells that had been piled at the perimeter of all three units. Afterwards dredging took place on the south unit where we made good progress. We were able to complete three and a quarter dives. The last dive was cut short at the end by bad weather that managed to conveniently clear up by the time all divers were out of the water and equipment was packed up.
Kendra with students on UWF Pontoon while working on the Waterfront project.
On Friday, while Brian and Shawn were excavating at the Emanuel Pint II site, Courtney and Bryce went to the waterfront. The task for the day was to map the extent of the large rock pile, set up quadrants and begin mapping all the interesting bits and pieces that can be found on the site. Buoys with measuring tapes attached to a datum in the center of the rock pile were placed at the NE, NW, SE and SW extent of the pile, where it seemed to fade off into sand. One diver, navigating with a compass would swim out to the edge of the rock pile with their buddy who would unroll the measuring tape as they swam. Once they reached the edge, one diver would go and fetch the closest buoy that had been placed earlier and reposition it to where the end of the tape (and their dive buddy) was located. Since it was a Friday and therefore, traditionally not a full day of diving work, we were able to have a little bit of time to swim around and check out the pieces of pottery, pipe stems and old bottles that can be found just sitting on the surface of the pile. The lack of jellyfish on the site was especially nice after a week of full on jellyfish warfare at the EPII site.
With only two weeks of field school left, we are hoping for great weather which will allow us to wrap up the summer field season on EPII, Brick Wreck, and the Waterfront project.
Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or concerns at: email@example.com.
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