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You are here: /main/research expeditions/August/September 2007/Maritime Heritage

Day 8 - Out with the maritime heritage team.
Saturday, September 1

by Carlie Wiener

Click here to see where the Hi'ialakai is now.
Click here to see current data from the ship.

I cannot believe that I have been out at sea for over a week now the time goes by so fast, even with an extra hour of sleep. We are so far off from the main Hawaiian Islands that the ship is traveling in a different time zone. It was a real different experience to go out with the Maritime Archeologist team today, what an exciting and exhilarating day.

Maritime Heritage team
Maritime heritage team (Sean Corson, Tane Casserly, Hans Van Tilberg and Kelly Gleason), Carlie Wiener.

Entering data
Dr. Van Tilberg and Sean Corson recording wreck debris coordinates, Carlie Wiener.

The weather was finally sunny but the swell increased even more from yesterday, making for a bumpy ride out to the first site. The team arrived at the Quartette wreck, which is in the crystal clear lagoon waters of Pearl and Hermes. I was stunned by the perfect visibility of the beautiful, pale blue waters.

Quartette wreck
Quartette wreck site, Carlie Wiener.

Our skilled coxswain navigated around the shallow reef areas ensuring that the boat stayed in sandy patches, in order to avoid hitting any coral. The research team is very knowledgeable about the sites, and seemed excited to map out the Quartette wreck. This particular ship wrecked in 1952 for unknown reasons, carrying animals and milo maise. I really think it is amazing that you can go back to the past and learn information just from one item or surveying at a wreck. The archeology crew surveyed the site by picking artifact points to draw a map of the site. I was fortunate enough to snorkel the area with them, sketching out artifacts to scale, measuring them and developing a site plan. The wreck was really remarkable; you could see some parts of the ship sticking out of the water and underneath on the reef. The wreck debris made an excellent home for marine species, and there was an immense amount of reef fish, with many different species.

School of fish at Quartette site
Large school of fish at the Quartette wreck, Carlie Wiener.

We spotted a white tip reef shark and were closely investigated by a few very large ulua. The most challenging part of investigating the wreck was the ripping current. It was extremely difficult to swim against the current as it had a really strong pull. This made for a challenging swim (especially while taking photographs) but still an excellent workout and beautiful site. Later in the afternoon, the team went to examine debris at the newly found sail boat wreck from the day before. They did this by towing two people from a rope at the back of the boat, slowly moving across the water and scanning the shallow reef floor.

Tow pulling in the lagoon to scan the reef for wreck debris, Carlie Wiener.

Unfortunately nothing was recovered, but it was still a fun ride in the beautiful lagoon. Every day following dinner, all the principal investigators meet to discuss the next day’s work plans and locations. Tonight, the group decided that we had accomplished all we needed from Pearl and Hermes atoll, and that a day at Midway would be beneficial. With that, we steamed full speed ahead to the historic Midway Atoll. For the last time from Pearl and Hermes atoll a hui hou!

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Coral bleaching

Galapagos shark

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