A couple weeks ago in early July, Ken, Susanna, and I teamed up with Park Ranger Dylan to help him remove an unregistered fish trap from Hawksnest Bay. It is one of the park’s objectives to find and remove any abandoned fish traps within our boundaries because the traps will keep killing fish over and over again. A French grunt was caught inside and so a nearby sailboat lent us a pair of wire cutters to free the fish. Afterwards, Dylan and I snorkeled around Honeymoon Beach looking for evidence of anchor scarring while Susanna and Ken dove. A large vessel with an entirely metal chain had anchored within the park boundaries the week before, and Dylan wanted to investigate the extent of the damage. Susanna took photographs of broken and toppled coral heads in case the offender attempted to dispute the ticket he was given.
The third dive of the day consisted of Ken and Susanna surveying a mooring off Caneel Bay. The Cultural Resources Management division is responsible for completing a certain amount of surveys per year. When the park moorings were put in years ago, no archeological investigations were performed to insure that for example, a shipwreck wasn’t being damaged in the process. Therefore, we are slowly surveying each mooring around the island to look for any indication of cultural deposits. Its actually a perfect random sample approach. I was surface support for this dive; however, I learned I could free dive to 32 feet when I had to retrieve the boat hook I dropped over the side:) All in all, it was a fun and productive day on the water.
(Randy and Lalo loading debris onto a platform)
The Cultural Resources Team monitored the work in case any historic artifacts were recovered…and there were! Several bollards were found that would have originally been attached to the sides of the slipway, but must have fallen into the water when sections collapsed. FYI, a bollard is a short, vertical iron post used to tie the lines, i.e. ropes, of a shi (left). An iron wheel about 1.5’ in diameter was also found that would have originally been used as part of the railway to haul ships out of the water for repair (below). Also a porthole from a large ship (below). On Wednesday the 18th, the last day, Lalo found an intact small porthole in beautiful condition (above) .
Well, I think I’ve reported all I can. Everyone, wish St. John well in the hurricane season and stay tuned in September for the next post. Thanks for reading!