Thursday, June 21, 2012

Sea Gives Yet Another Nice Surprise

Little Hercules takes a peek into the depths

The sea continues to surprise.  This time it's not breathless beauty or fantastic creatures, it's human history tied to the big blue. There is little to deny, lying silently in the dark blue on the bottom of the sea, shipwrecks fascinate. 

This one is about 200 years old and sprawls on the sandy bottom of the Gulf of Mexico in 4,000 feet of water.

"Shipwrecks help to fill in some of the unwritten pages of history," said Frank Cantelas, a maritime archaeologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office of Ocean Exploration and Research on CNN.

Part of it is how people even find these things.  It's way too deep for a conventional diver to reach.  It's dark and cold down there.

This find was registered as an unknown sonar contact by an oil company.  On closer inspection, with a remote operated vehicle named Little Hercules -- like a beefed-up camera on a very long tether operated via joystick by people on the surface -- NOAA found a ship.

The last time people walked the decks of this boat was probably well before the US Civil War, likely in the 1820s or 1830s.  What were those people like?  What were they doing?  Why did their ship sink? 

There might not be any gold coins or silver ingots on this one, but it is still a treasure for the imagination. 

image: noaa

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