Update by Della Scott-Ireton, FPAN, and Chris Horrell, MMS
Great success today despite the weather bringing us nine-foot seas. The photomosaic photography was finished and nearly 2,000 high-resolution photographs are being stitched together to create the overall site image. Using a section of the photomosaic already finished for the stern area of the wreck, we began to recover artifacts late this afternoon. Artifacts visible at the sediment surface are the first targets and include glass bottles and ceramic plates. A small suction device, called a “sticky foot,” attached to one of the ROV’s arms is used to gently pluck the artifacts from the sediment and transport them into a basket. Each artifact is assigned a number that will follow it through the recovery, conservation, and curation process. In addition, each artifact is photographed in situ, or in place, before it is moved and its position is recorded using the acoustic compat array. The baskets used to transport the artifacts to the surface are numbered as well so there is virtually no chance of the artifacts getting confused or lost.
Because the seas are so rough, and are expected to remain rough for the next couple of days, we will place as many artifacts as possible in the baskets available and “store” them on the sea floor. Once the captain give us the OK to recover, the artifact baskets will be placed in a large lifting crate for the ride to the surface.