It has been a great week for MRR’s vessels and crew. The excavations have begun on the famed shipwrecks of the 1715 Fleet along the Treasure Coast of Florida. MRR works in conjunction with 1715 Fleet-Queens Jewels, LLC on numerous shipwreck sites, and this week’s efforts were conducted on the Douglas Beach wreck site (8SL17/S26), south of Fort Pierce Inlet.
Jack Leedy brings a sherd of K’ang Hsi porcerlain up the dive ladder on the Sea Reaper.
Guided by MRR captain Josh Fisher-Abt on board the Sea Reaper, divers recovered beautiful sherds of K’ang Hsi Chinese export porcelain. These signature blue and white porcelain artifacts have been frequently found on the Douglas Beach wreck site and have been associated with other significant finds, including gold coins and gold artifacts. MRR’s Operations Manager, Dan Porter,explains that these finds are the archaeological clues that will help further define the extremely scattered debris field of this shipwreck and will hopefully soon lead to an important discovery by the hardworking crew of the Sea Reaper. The Sea Reaper also recovered other artifacts while working on the site, including a musket ball and encrusted artifacts.
The vessel Capitana was also excavating farther to the south on the scattered remains of the wreck site, crewed by Dan Porter, Rob Hill, Kenton Dickerson and Dale Gannon. MRR has leased the Capitana for the short four-month season to add to the potential of making major recoveries and bringing better returns to MRR partners.
This view of the Capitana’s back deck shows the proximity to the shore while excavating in the shallow waters of the Douglas Beach site.
On the first day of excavation, calm weather allowed for the team to conduct nearshore excavations using propwash deflectors and Diver Rob Hill recovered a piece of copper sheathing and a small iron spike. The weather was not as calm on the second day of excavation, so the crew assembled full propwash tubes and worked further offshore. The Capitana worked well in the heavier seas. While there were no finds on the second day, the crew had the opportunity to become familiar with working the vessel in various conditions, and the crew and vessel worked well together.
We will keep the updates coming!