The Sea Reaper crew has stayed busy at Three D Boat Yard every day that wind and weather conditions have kept them from working on the Margarita site. The progress that has been made on the new excavation vessel is remarkable, especially considering the extreme summer heat the dedicated crew has endured to push the project forward. This week, the Seatrepid’s engines were installed by Eric Gladding and the interior buildout has begun, which includes a custom designed helm console, galley, salon table, benches, control room desk and more. All of us at MRR look forward to the expanding capabilities this custom vessel will bring to our day-to-day operations.
Engine installation on MRR's new excavation vessel
Last week, the crew was able to make a five-day trip to the Margarita site. It was Josh Fisher’s second trip captaining the Sea Reaper while Dan Porter was away investigating another historic wreck in the Caribbean Basin that might develop as part of MRR’s future operational plans.
During the recent Margarita trip, the Sea Reaper worked to the southern end of the known site, as well as the east and west sides. One important aspect of methodic excavation on a historic shipwreck site is precise documentation of data during every single excavation. The coordinates of every dive and details of every recovery are recorded in a custom-designed database and imported into a working AutoCAD chart. The accumulation of data on the chart allows for in-depth site assessment. When assessing a site, we look at where certain artifacts were recovered in relation to each other to discern scatter patterns.
On the Sea Reaper’s recent trip, divers recovered an interesting clue that revealed a definite direction of scatter. The artifact is a large piece of pottery with engraved markings of a heart with an arrow through it. The pottery sherd had been broken off about half way across the heart. Beyond its inherent uniqueness, the crew recognized its significance instantly because they had recovered its match—a pottery sherd bearing the other half of the heart and arrow—nearly ten months ago in September 2016. The coordinates of the two recoveries were compared on the AutoCAD chart and fell approximately 150 ft. apart along a NNW line. This direction of scatter is consistent with the research-based theory that a second hurricane may have pushed material of the Santa Margarita wreckage to the NNW 30 days after it sank in 1622.
The MRR crew will continue work on the Seatrepid until the next trip to the site of the Santa Margarita. We look forward to bringing you another update soon.
Dan Porter guides the port engine as it is lifted onto the Seatrepid: