Global: Session 2 - Shipwreck Archaeology Exploration – Sweden

Posted: Thu, Jul 24, 2014

Our Last Day on the Boat….

Location: Boda Hamn
Author: Evan S.

As I awoke from my glorious sleep to Travis telling me to wake up for the day at around 8, I realized that it was the last day on the boat and the thing that made it better was the fact that Wilks was making French toast. After our amazing breakfast we started the long process of setting up the ROV to investigate the target that we discovered the day before. After we checked all of the features to make sure that they worked we threw our big ROV (a.k.a. “Scooter”) into the water. But pretty much every time you do archeology, something goes wrong, we had a scare of almost getting tangled in the mast of the target but we got out of it. After that we thought it would be best to take a lunch break of grilled cheese, also made by Wilks. After we stuffed ourselves with processed cheese, ham and bread, we decided to take another look at the target. Now with our known knowledge of the obstacles down around 85 meters, we maneuvered around the absolutely breathtaking target with grace and ease. Around 4 we decided to pull the ROV out, pack up and motor over to Boda; which was our last place that we would sleep on the boat. During the motor over, the shipmates did a general cleaning of the boat and our personal spaces and packed up. As soon as we pulled into Boda, we had an audience of onlookers as we usually do, because of the size of our boat. Once we were all tied up, we sat down for our last dinner on the boat as a group. We had burritos, which were delicious, we cleaned up the dishes from dinner, watched an awesome slide show about the entire trip that was made by Sarah, and went to bed.

Posted: Wed, Jul 23, 2014

Exploring the Deep!

Location: Vastervik
Author: Capt. John

Early start again this morning.Today we go deep deep deep.Our mission today is to side scan and ROV a wreck that was shared by MMT.They asked if we would go get more data on this wreck.There is a theory that this wreck may have been sunk by the Mars the day before she was sunk.When put in context of historical record, Mars had a battle the day before her sinking in the same general area.Our goal is get more data to confirm or rejectthis theory.

It is a deep wreck, lying in 87 meters (about 270ft).Getting the gear together to launch the big sidescan sonar is complex and time consuming.Thankfully we have many hands to chip in.Once launched, we begin the driving a grid pattern over the area where we think the wreck is.And within an hour, we have a promising echo.After three more hours, we have five more images and confirmed the exact position.We all take turns looking at the waterfall from the sonar, managing the reel and the layback (postion of the sonar relative to the boat).We work as a team trying to get the best image possible.

And somewhere in the middle of that, we eat a lactose/gluten free pizza.Try as it did, the oven just can’t melt gluten/lactose free cheese.Not sure it is possible but the vegan aboard is a happy shipmate.

After confirming the position and getting some good images, we begin to set up the ROV to get some video.Due to some technical difficulties, we had to delay the launch of the ROV, which is fine, because we had to go to Vstervik to pick up Tom.

We did launch Tiago off the back of the boat for an ice cream run.We are certain there is a direct correlation between technical difficulties and ice cream consumption.So, we must have more ice cream.

We then headed out to anchorage for the evening.We watched a movie about a sunken ship in the Mediterranean.And then we had a great feast of Roast, potatoes and Salad.We killed five pounds of beef!!

The coolest thing was watching Wilks draw an illustration of the time spent at the Vasa Museum. Wicked cool!.

Posted: Tue, Jul 22, 2014

Lessons Learned from Sweden

Location: Gambleby
Author: Johnathan Ishmael

Lessons learned from Sweden

  1. The sun is very bright
  2. Sun reflecting off the blonde hair of a Swede – brighter
  3. I think they pipe in happiness with the water. Seriously, there are just happy glowing
    people here. I think they are all on something but I don’t know where to get some.
  4. Ice cream is a food group
  5. One can have a boatyard, with a 90ft boat, in their backyard. See below.

Today we had an excursion to Gamleby, which is about a 15min train ride from Vstervik. We arrived at the station a bit early so Tiago and I went for a walk in search of coffee, and uh, ice cream after a speed walking race up a hill.
When we arrived at the tiny little town of Gamleby, we were met with Kirsten who then took us the boatyard which is on the outskirts of this small harbor town.

There we met Egil Bergstrom, the patriarch of this little hamlet of wood boat lore. Him, his wife and four sons have been in charge of Vega and Lynnia which are two wood ships that were built in 1907 and 1915 respectively. He gave us the full tour of his backyard where he works on the ships during the winter. He has a full sawmill, workshop and foundry. During the winter they work on the boats and basically select some projects they think can achieve over the winter and then put the boat back in the water in the summer for work. It is very physical and technical work, the repair and restoration of these old vessels. It takes passion, skill, time and money to maintain these vessels.

After three hours of pouring over the boat, it was time to head back to Andromeda. We had a quick lunch and the Sarah had a lecture while I was at the grocery store for a provisioning run.

We pushed off the dock about 545 and headed out so we could enjoy an evening on the anchor. Sarah prepared a great Chicken casserole and we sat around the table telling stories about the day.

In a burst of excitement, Tulip announced it was time for a swim. Brave one she is. It is cold cold water. Undeterred, she jumped in, not only once, but TWICE. Not to be outdone, Sunflower was goaded into the jump as well.

And now, the sun has been down for an hour, yet the glow continues. Reminding us that while a day has ended, it looks like another one is about to begin.

Johnathan S. Ishmael

Posted: Mon, Jul 21, 2014

Kayak Adventure!

Location: Vastervik
Author: Sarah “Texas Bluebonnet” Linden

Today we found ourselves in Vstervik, a beautiful little coastal town south of Stockholm. Neither Captain John nor myself have ever been here, so we were able to experience this cool little place right along with our shipmates! After overwhelming the Vstervik dockmaster, Phillip yesterday with the size of our mighty vessel, we woke up to the usual curious passersby admiring Andromeda and wondering what she is doing here in Vstervik. It is sort of like living in a fish bowl whenever we are docked.

After a delicious breakfast cooked by our desert rose Seor Tiago, we made our way up the hill to the Vstervik County Museum where we could view the first exhibit on the ongoing excavation of the Warship Mars. It was definitely exciting to see the exhibit after visiting the project on location and meeting all of the key players just a few days ago. The work they are doing out there is truly cutting edge and amazing!

After stocking up on souvenirs at the museum store, it was time for some physical activity! We have been on the boat for a few days straight and everyone was feeling a little cooped up. Have no fear! I told them,we shall explore the waters of Vstervik by kayak! I located a kayak tour and rental business and off we went! We arrived at a beautiful protected bay where we met Karen of Nordic Outdoor Guiding. She fitted us with life-jackets, paddles, kayak and splashguards, provided me with a waterproof map and some directions and helped us launch our boats. We ventured out onto the water, slow and wobbly at first, except for our “Canadian Tulip” Wilks, an avid, experienced kayaker. She gave us pointers and paddled circles around us while we got the feel for it. Pretty soon, we were ready to go!

We paddled hard to reach the opening of the bay. We had rented the kayaks for two hours and our goal was to paddle out into the archipelago, around a nearby island and back again. It was tough! We paddled hard and a few of the flowers nearly gave up. Once we reached the island, no one wanted to go any further. I convinced them to paddle just a little more and push through the arm and shoulder aches! I’m so glad we did. We found a beautiful little inlet surrounded by tiny islands where the water was calm and so clear that we could see the bottom. Tons of baby fish were swimming through the underwater plants and each of us were amazed by how beautiful it was. As if that wasn’t enough, along came a swan family swimming gracefully by. It was a truly special experience.

After kayaking, we headed back to the boat for a delicious dinner and some quality evening conversation. As Travis and John started readying the boat for our deep water exploration, the rest of us walked to the edge of the water, relaxed and enjoyed another beautiful Baltic sunset. Each sunset here has been unique and has really become a highlight to each and every day!

Posted: Sun, Jul 20, 2014

Adventures in Side-Scanning

Location: Boda Hamn
Author: Tiago G.

Today was a fast day. We woke up and got ready to do the sidescan-sonar which is a vital part of marine archaeology and the bottleneck for most of the diving and ROVing programs out there. Unfortunately, it can be a bit tedious. This time was different because instead of using the dingy we set-up the side-scan on the boat (YAY!). Anyway, after setting up the equipment, we started side-scan sonaring from the comfort of the ships bridge. After a brief lunch we started sailing and having a good time while we prepared to clean the boat. Then we gave the boat a full deck scrub from top to bottom. Then we ate a delicious pasta dinner prepared by Evan and went to sleep.

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