Since the list of expeditions continues to grow, this page will have short recaps:
The French Navy stepped up big-time for this year, providing three weeks of ship time on three vessels: LAPLACE – an oceanographic survey vessel that surveyed for the first week; ANTARES – a sonar-towing ship that worked in conjunction with STYX – a dive support vessel. Targets found by LAPLACE and ANTARES were then dived to further investigate them. One of the most interesting sites we could not get back to, as time ran out and weather moved in. Another year went by….
A very generous private organization donated 4 days of ship time to investigate, with its Remotely Operated Vehicle, the site found in 2012. Wow! No sign of a modern shipwreck was found (propeller, engine, etc.), but we found some mostly buried wooden timbers, an anchor, and some concreted objects that appeared to be iron in nature. But proving the identity of a wreck is the hard part, and the investigation would now have to wait until 2014.
Tremendous progress was made with the help of a team of very skilled French Navy divers. With only seven minutes of bottom time, they discovered and documented several artifacts, such as a rigging component known as a “deadeye” block, some pieces of wood, the anchor, treenails that were holding the wood together, an object that appeared to be a piece of a spar with its metal spar hoop, and other unidentifiable items. Then the research began and we learned that the spar and the deadeye block both had measurements that were nearly the same as some described in books written about the Bonhomme Richard. Is this enough to prove the identity of the wreck? Unfortunately not. So back we go in 2015 for still more investigation of the site, and we continue to be very excited about this site!