Throughout 2021 the spread of Covid 19 and its variants made planning travel abroad difficult to say the least. International travel became fraught with uncertainty and the rules around it liable to change at very short notice. Given such a backdrop it was decided that it would be pure folly to try and run a programme of any kind in 2021. Instead, we decided to focus our energies and resources on 2022.
So, the Wreckhunters project starts in 2022 with an eight-week window that provides an exciting opportunity to be part of a diving archaeology project. The plan now is to run the operation from July 18th to September 9th, 2022.
There will be availability for all or part of the season, we don’t expect many or perhaps any divers to participate for the full eight-week period. However, given the distance most will travel to Utila we would suggest a minimum stay of two weeks.
The first action of the project as an archaeological enterprise must be to record the “story so far”. This first season’s work will do exactly that. From this we will be able to draw up short, medium- and long-term objectives for the wreck site. These will run hand in hand with the site’s role as an advanced underwater classroom.
The activities in 2022 will fall onto 10 categories:
- Establishing a grid of fixed points as a reference from which survey measurements can be taken. From these accurate measurements of visible features will be taken.
- Establishing a baseline. The placing of a cable or cables will act as a datum line for survey.
- Producing an outline plan of the site. Recording the relationships between objects and structures on the seabed.
- Determining the orientation of the site. Recording how the wreck lies within its environs.
- Recording the visible parts of the site in detail. Using planning frames and photography to record the exposed parts of the wreck.
- Producing a contour plan of the wreck site. Using various methods to record the relative heights across the site.
- Producing a probe survey of the site in order to locate the position of remains that lie below the surface. This will assist in the evaluation of the wreck site, its likely state of preservation and the depth of burial beneath the seabed of the remains.
- Sketches of visible structures – to record the apparent stratigraphy of the site.
- Photographic and video recording. As a supplement to and as a reference point for manual records.
- Carry out an underwater metal detector survey of the site.
A sense of humour is likely to be an asset.
Each participant will be responsible for their own transport to and from Utila. We are planning to provide self – catering accommodation at a cost of approximately £250 (GDP) per week. Alternatively, individuals can make their own arrangements.
We are looking for relatively experienced divers – which to put a figure on it means in excess of 75 dives, ideally in a range of conditions. We are especially interested in divers with some skills or experience in drawing (artistic or technical), surveying, photography, and construction. To clarify we mean some experience not expert. There is a place for a range of people with different levels of experience and skills on projects like these. As we are running a longer survey season than originally intended our aim will be to combine training with work on the site.
Each diver will need to supply their own kit. Tanks and weighs will be obtained locally. The objective of Wreckhunters is to spread the word, so to speak, about diving archaeology. Hence, we will attempt to keep the costs of diving to a minimum. Participants will be required to contribute to the costs of hiring tanks and weights and towards “reef tax”. We will provide more clarity on this in due course.
We require project members to complete various medical and diving questionnaires and disclaimers – these will be forwarded via email for completion and return to us. In addition, pre-season literature will be forwarded so that participants can gain a better idea of the tasks that will be undertaken on the site.
Clearly circumstances beyond our control may curtail our plans. If this does occur a full refund of any monies paid to the project will be arranged. For now, we feel confident that we shall be able to run a diving season as detailed above and look forward to receiving enquiries from interested parties.
Please click on the link below to open the enquiry form to request information regarding Season 2022.