Wracks (wrecks)

Duane

Nächste Woche ist es wieder soweit, mit meinen beiden Söhnen Tim (16) und Josh (14) geht es nach Florida. Neben den wichtigen Sehenswürdigkeiten über Wasser wie Miami, Cape Carnaveral, Daytona, den Everglades etc, stehen natürlich auch diverse Tauchspots auf unserer todo-Liste. Als kleinen Vorgeschmack hier ein paar Bilder von einem der schönsten Wracks vor den Keys, der Duane.

Die Duane, 1936 vom Stapel gelaufen, wurde im zweiten Weltkrieg als U-Boot Jäger vor der Ostküste der USA eingesetzt. Zwischen1957 und 1968 patroullierte sie vor der Küste von Vietnam und verrichtete im Anschluß ihren Dienst wieder vor der Ostküste als Küstenwachtschiff, unter anderem zur Drogenbekämpfung, bevor sie 1985 ausser Dienst gestellt und 1987 zusammen mit ihrem Schwesterschiff, der Duane vor Key Largo als künstliches Riff versenkt wurde.

Sie liegt in einer Tiefe von knapp 40m und manchmal herrscht eine ordentliche Strömung, aber der Artenreichtum und die Farbenpracht dieses Wracks machen jeden Tauchgang zu einem Erlebnis.

Natürlich werde ich ab Freitag täglich aktuelle Kurzberichte einstellen, also bleibt dran!

Florida we come. Next week my sons Tim (16) and Josh(14) and me head towards Florida. Besides important places like Miami, Cap Carnaveral, Daytona and the Everglades, a couple of underwater highlights are on our todo-list.

As a foretaste of what is to come here are some pics of the Duane, one of the most interesting wrecks off Key Largo.

The Duane chased German subs in WWII before she was on duty as a Coast Guard Clipper before she was intentionally sunk to create an artificial reef off Key Largo in 120ft of water in 1987 together with her sister the Bipp. Both wrecks are awsom dives, the Bipp seldom visited due to her laying on her portside.

Of course I´m going to keep you updated about our trip from next friday, so stay tuned!

zum Vergrößern Fotos anklicken      click on pics to enlarge

Sonntag, März 21st, 2010 Wracks (wrecks) 29 Comments

Isonzo

Die Isonzo war ein italiänischer Frachter, der am 10.04.1943 zusammen mit der Entella und der Loredan den Hafen von Cagliari Richtung Maddalena verließ.

Am Nachmittag wurde der Convoi von dem britischen U Boot Safari ausgemacht und angegriffen. Es gelang der britischen Besatzung unter Commander Ben Bryant alle drei Frachtschiffe in kürzester Zeit zu versenken.

Heute liegt die Isonzo in etwa 58 Meter Tiefe auf ihrer Backbordseite auf sandigem Grund vor Torre delle Stelle, an der Südküste von Sardinien. Heck- und Bugkanone sind noch an ihrem Platz, das Oberteil der Brücke brach vor ein paar Jahren ab und liegt jetzt neben dem Wrack. Das Zwillings MG, welches an der Reling der Brücke befestigt war ist leider verschwunden, entweder wurde es abmontiert, oder es liegt unter der Brücke, für immer verschüttet.

Die Isonzo bietet einen spektakulären Anblick, die Penetration von Laderäumen und Maschinenraum ist jedoch nicht ganz ungefährlich. Wie in allen „echten“ Wracks finden sich überall scharfe Kanten und lose Kabel, die einem unvorsichtigen Taucher leicht zum Verhängnis werden können.

When the italian freighter Isonzo left the harbor of  Cagliari at the southern coast of Sardinia on April 10th 1943, the sailors didn´t know about the british sub Safari which was going to send her and the two other ships of the convoi, the Entella and the Loredan, down to the sand bottom at almost 200ft off the coast of Torre delle Stelle.

Today the ship lays on her port side, bow and stern guns still in place. Parts of the bridge broke off a couple of years ago and lay on the sand floor.

Penetration is hazardous because of cutting edges and cables hanging in narrow rooms. if you know the right places, you can still find artifacts like ammunition, gas masks and other stuff.

Bilder zum Vergrößern anklicken click on pictures to enlarge


Dienstag, Februar 9th, 2010 Wracks (wrecks) 41 Comments

Zenobia in Zypern

Hier ein paar Fotos und ein Bericht von Philipp Tschaepe, über die RoRo Fähre Zenobia, die vor Zypern liegt

Hi Tom,

zum Wrack will ich Dir folgende Informationen liefern.

Die Zenobia wurde im Jahr 1980 vor dem Hafen von Larnaka „aufgegeben“, nachdem sie dort mehrere Tage mit Schlagseite wegen eines Computerfehlers lag. Diese Fähren haben Ausgleichsbehälter (Belasttanks), welche sie bei Ungleichbeladung mit Wasser füllen, um eine optimale Lage im Wasser sicherzustellen. Bei der Zenobia, sie soll auf der Jungfernfahrt gewesen sein, hat das Computersystem die Ausgleichsbehälter auf einer Seite komplett mit Wasser gefüllt. Man hätte das Schiff retten können, wenn man es in den Hafen von Larnaka geschleppt hätte, dies wurde aber von den Behörden „abgelehnt“ und so entstand das Taucherparadies. Die Zenobia liegt nunmehr auf der Backbordseite. Sie hat 108 LKWs geladen, beladen mit Bundeswehrschlafsäcken, Büromöbeln, (nunmehr) Rinderknochen etc.

Wracktyp: RoRo-Fracht-Fähre

Baujahr: 1979

Verlust-Datum: 07.06.1980 2:30h

min. Tauchtiefe: 18 m

max. Tauchtiefe: 43 m

Verlust-Grund: Computerfehler

GPS-Daten:

34,53.5 N  33,39.1 E

Standort-Land: Zypern

Leichte Tauchgänge sind um das Wrack und gerade über dem Wrack möglich. Man nähert sich der Steuerbordwand beim Abtauchen und wird überrascht von der Größe der Zenobia. Länge fast 180m, auch bei guter Sicht kaum komplett einzusehen.

Erfahrenere Taucher können die üblichen Tauchtouren in die Kommandobrücke und in die Cafeteria und die Passagierräume wagen, hier gibt es immer Licht und damit die Möglichkeit zum Ausstieg.

Nur sehr erfahrene Taucher sollten aber in die eigentlichen unfassbaren Tiefen des Wracks vordringen. Noch überschaubar ist das upper-deck. Hier taucht man durch eine große Öffnung zu dem oberen LKW-Deck, man kann zwischen den wie Streichhölzer durcheinander geschobenen LKWs durchtauchen. Wenn nicht gerade ein LKW die Sicht verdeckt, sieht man hier aber meistens den Ausstieg.

Anders im Mitteldeck. Hier gibt es einen Eingang durch den ehemaligen Lotsengang von der nunmehr oben liegenden Steuerbordseite. Man zwängt sich durch eine enge Tür, von dort fällt man in das riesige schwarze Loch des Mitteldecks, weit unten sieht man bei guten Tauchlampen die ersten zusammen gerutschten LKWs. Hier ist es bald stockfinster, den Ausgang findet ihr ohne guide nie wieder, ehrlich.

Noch massiver ist der Maschinenraum. Abgesehen davon, dass man hier auf 35 bis 40 Meter einige Zeit verbringen muss, ist es hier sehr eng, schnell kann man sich verheddern und verfangen. Nur extrem erfahrene Taucher sollten sich diesem Bereich nähern.

Zusätzliche specials: Ankerraum, Kapitänskabine, Treppengang, Liftschächte, Schiffsschraube, Schornstein (trotz aller meist geglückten Versuche nicht reintauchen!!!)

Alles in allem ein endloses Taucherlebnis mit einmaliger Adrenalingarantie… 10 Tauchgänge sind nicht genug… Aber NIE ohne guide… Meine ernsthafte Empfehlung unter www.zenobia-wrack.de

This is a summary of the article above, submitted by Philipp Tschaepe!


The Zenobia lay with a heavy port list for a couple of days, close to the harbor of Larnaca, Cyprus.

Because of a computer error the wrong ballast tanks were flooded and the cargo, consisting mainly of 108 heavy trucks, furniture and cattle tumbled and increased the list. This lead to giving her up on her maiden journey.

Today she can be found laying on her portside at a depth of 43m ( 140ft )

data:

type of wreck: RoRo freight ferry

built                  : 1979

sank                  : 07.06.1980 02.30

length              : 180m (590ft)

depth               : min 18m (60ft)  max 43m (140ft)

GPS data         : 34.53.5N 33.39.1E, close to Larnaca, Cyprus

The Zenobia is a dive for every level of  dive experience. It´s easy to explore the outer wreckage but impossible to see the main parts of the wreck on one dive because of the huge dimensions.

Experienced divers can penetrate the wreck to the upper and middle deck. Dozens of heavy trucks can be found there but because of the size it is highly recommended to dive with a guide.

Only for very experienced divers the engine room is a must, but it´s really dangerous because of entanglements and depth.

The wreck provides a lot of things to explore, captain´s cabin, long stairways, elevators, huge props and chimney and I bet you´ll need more than a dozen dives to see it all!

more info on www.zenobia-wrack.de

Mittwoch, Dezember 9th, 2009 Wracks (wrecks) 20 Comments

Truk Lagoon ( Chuuk )

Truk Lagoon, eines der highlights im Leben eines Wracktauchers. Hier ein Bericht über einen Trip auf die andere Seite des Globus von Adair Ribeiro aus Brasilien

crosspost von www.thedecostop.com

Übersichtskarte / overview

trukmap

Truk Lagoon Odyssey – Trip Report

Our expedition to Truk Lagoon in fact was a chance. The destination of our journey would be Bikini Atol, but with the closure of operations of that island diving, the tickets already issued and paid up to Honolulu and vacation already scheduled, we had no doubt to try to find an alternative to Bikini .. . and the gods of diving conspiring in our favor, our destination was changed to Truk LAGOON – THE SHIPWRECK DIVING CAPITAL OF THE WORLD!

HISTORY: A place lost in the middle of the Pacific, Truk, Chuuk is the current name and means „mountain“ in chuukese language. Chuuk is one of the islands that comprise the Federated States of Micronesia (comprising the states of Kosrae, Pohnpei, Chuuk and Yap). An independent country since 1986, through a pact of Free Association with the United States, but completely dependent on the Americans.
During World War II, the Japanese dominated this part of the ocean and Truk Lagoon (the main atoll of the central lake) became the main port of supply of warships Japanese, who were sent there for the rest of the Pacific war against the allied forces.
On February 17, 1944, the United States attacked the Japanese ships in Chuuk – the call operation Hailstorm. There were dozens of ships – more than 60 – (so-called “Maru” – cargo ships) and over 200 Japanese aircraft were destroyed, including 2 destroyers and a submarine. Most of warships were not in Truk.
Facts: Currently, each family has a chuukese motorboat for transportation from an island to another. The curious thing is that Chuuk received a budget to improve their roads and develop the culture of the car. The government made a plebiscite to see if the people wanted to improve the road that bisects the main island. To the surprise of everyone, won the „no“, and the government bought a boat motor for each family in the country.
The shipwrecks have become artificial reefs colonized by fish, corals, sponges… an explosion of life.
Truk Lagoon has become the shipwreck diving capital of the world.

THE TRIP:
We left Sao Paulo to Dallas on October,13th with estimates of 10 hours of flight. From Dallas to Honolulu plus 8 hours of flight and an overnight in Honolulu Airport Hotel. From Honolulu to GUAM, a few more hours in an airplane … from GUAM to YAP and finally arrived at the Traders Ridge Resort – a charming English style hotel, where we stayed 2 nights and had the opportunity to do 3 dives with the company of many reef sharks and rays of the famous manta-rays (including a rare albino manta, that was one of only two that exist in YAP).
Boarded on October 19 to Guam and then to Truk Lagoon to our destination: the Truk Blue Lagoon Resort, a hotel with 54 rooms and a complete structure to divers, together with the Blue Lagoon Dive Shop – BLDS – with the museum and memorial to the founder Kimiuo Aisek.

A big structure to all types of diving .. from recreational diving to technical and rebreathers, and a team of experienced and courteous guides.

LOG BOOK:

1. FUJIKAWA MARU – Max Depth: 30m/100ft – Bottom time:52’ Total Diving time: 69′ – 6 holds with bottles of sake – ZERO aircrafts and parts. One of the most popular wrecks in Truk and with large amount of corals.

Depth Superstructure 30 ft/9 m.
Deck. 60ft/18 m.
Bottom 112 ft/34 m.
Size Length 433 ft/132 m.
Gross Tonnage: 6.938 tons

2. HEIAN MARUI – Max Depth: 34m/112ft – Bottom Time: 50′- Total Diving time: 62′ – We were in the propellers – torpedo launchers. Shipwreck is capsize.

HeianMaruDepth Hull 40 ft/12 m.
Bottom 120 ft/36 m.
Size Length 509 ft/155 m.
Gross Tonnage: 11.614 tons

3. SHINKOKU MARUI – Max Depth: 40m/132’ – Bottom Time: 39’ – Total Diving time: 56′ – Penetration in the engine room and through the torpedo hole. Many soft corals.

Depth Superstructure 40 ft/12 m.
Deck. 65 ft/20 m.
Bottom 125 ft. 38 m.
Size Length 500 ft/152 m.
Gross Tonnage: 10.020 tons

4. YAMAGIRI MARUI – Max Depth: 30m/100ft – Bottom Time: 41 ‚- Total diving time: 59‘ – Holds with several drums of oil / wheel / pump / propeller
yamagiri maruDepth Superstructure 30-50 ft/9-18 m.
Bottom 110 ft/34 m.
Size Length 439 ft/133 m.
Gross Tonnage: 6.438 tons

5.NIPO MARU – Max Depth: 44m/144ft – Bottom Time:36 ‚- Total Diving Time 69′ – Holds with tanks of water / bottles of sake/ gas masks / Tank on deck/ artillery guns/ anti-tank weapons

Depth Superstructure 100 ft/30 m.
deck.130ft/40 m.
Bottom 165 ft/50 m.
Size Length 353 ft/106 m.
Gross Tonnage: 3.764 tons

6. KENSHO MARU – Max Depth: 32m/107ft – Bottom Time 40′- Total Diving Time 60‘ – Penetration in the engine room / hold / superstructure / dishes / a lot of bottles

Depth Superstructure 60 ft/18 m.
Deck. 80ft/24 m.
Bottom 130 ft/35 m.
Size Length 384 ft/116 m.
Gross Tonnage: 4.862 tons

7.HOKI MARU – Max Depth: 40m/134’ – Bottom Time:34 ‚- Total Diving Time 56′ – Penetration in the holds with construction equipments / tractors / Jeeps / Cars / drums of oil / bottles of Sake / Large quantity sponges and anemones

Depth Superstructure 110 ft/33 m.
deck.150ft/45 m.
Bottom 175 ft. 53 m.
Size Length 450ft./136m
Gross Tonnage: 7.112 tons

8.RIO DE JANEIRO MARU – Max Depth: 36m/120ft – Bottom Time: 48′- Total Diving Time 62′ – penetration in holds with boxes and boxes of sake / propellers / china and trays

Depth Hull 40-80 ft/12-24 m.
Bottom 115 ft/35 m.
Size Length 463 ft/142 m.
Gross Tonnage: 9.626 tons

9.SAN FRANCISCO MARU – Max Depth: 54m/190ft – Botton Time: 23′- Total Diving Time: 72‘ – Deck with Japanese tanks / machine guns/holds with great quantity of ammunition, bombs/truckstruk san francisco maru

Depth Superstructure 150 ft/45 m.
deck. 165ft/50 m.
Bottom 200-210ft/63 m.
Size Length 385 ft/116 m.
Gross Tonnage: 5.831 tons

10. SANKISAN MARU – Max Depth: 30m/100ft – Bottom Time:55′- Total Diving time: 65′ – Bow completely separate half by the explosion / large amount of corals / Penetration in holds with ammunition and Trucks

truk sankisan maruDepth Superstructure 50 ft
deck. 17 m/57ft.
Bottom 80 ft/26 m.
Size Length 367 ft/112 m.
Gross Tonnage: 4.776 tons

11. FUMITZUKI – Max Depth: 38m/125ft – Bottom Time:35′- Total Diving time: 65′ – One of the two existing destroyers in Truk (the other is OITE) / ammunition / very narrow ship /bow gun/ torpedo launcherr

Tonnage: 1,772 tons
Max depth 38m/125ft

12. GOSEI MARU – Max Depth: 36m/118ft – Bottom Time: 60′- Total Diving time 62′ (Multilevel) – Stern is 2.5m/8.5ft and bow 36m/108ft / multiple penetrations / bottles of sake / bottles of medicine / china / drums / engine room

Hull 8 ft2.5 m.
Bottom 118ft/36 m.
Size Length 269 ft/82 m.
Gross Tonnage: 1.931 tons

13. Submarine I-169 – Max Depth: 40m/134ft – Bottom Time: 35′- Total tiving Time:78′ – We did a complete turn around the submarine / damaged stern / unable to penetrate

Bottom Depth 40m/134ft
Size Length 336 ft.
Displacement: 1,400 tons

A trip to a fantastic place that deserves all the fame – BEST WRECK DIVING IN THE WORLD!

I´d like to share my videos – Truk Lagoon Expedition – The best wreck diving in the world – Federated States of Micronesia . .

video 01:

 

YouTube Preview Image

video 02:

 

YouTube Preview Image
Samstag, Juli 18th, 2009 Wracks (wrecks) 31 Comments

Konservierung von Artefakten (artifact preservation)

Hier ein interessanter Bericht von Capt. Dan Berg (Autor zahlreicher Wrack-Tauchbücher) über die Möglichkeit Artefakte zu konservieren.

Here an interesting article from Capt. Dan Berg (author of several interesting wreck diving books) about preservation of artifacts.

Capt. Dan Berg’s Wreck Valley Collection

ARTIFACT PRESERVATION
By Capt. Dan Berg

Preservation of artifacts is extremely important and requires not only time but often a little elbow grease as well. The process usually starts on the boat immediately after an artifact is found. The first and cardinal rule is to keep the artifact wet and not exposed to air until the preservation process can begin. This is extremely important with steel artifacts which start to rust immediately upon contact with air. Soaking in fresh water is best, but salt water will do fine temporarily. Even wrapping the item in plastic will usually keep in enough moisture until preservation can begin. I have listed below some cleaning and preservation methods for different materials. Some of these methods are nonscientific and have been learned through my own as well as others experiences. Please use the information below at your own discretion.

BRASS and BRONZE shipwreck artifacts
Both brass and bronze hold up very well in salt water. Although no preservation is needed, most brass or bronze artifacts usually need to be cleaned to some degree. Any encrustation can often be chipped off with wooden picks. Wood is used so the surface won’t get scratched or marred. The first step is to soak the artifact in fresh water for about one month. This will usually leach out any chlorides and prevent the object from later turning green. To actually clean the object, several methods can be used. The first is to sand blast it or use glass beads to leave a clean dull finish. Then use a fine brass wire wheel on an electric drill or bench motor to polish.

Another method used to clean brass and bronze is electrolysis. An electrolysis bath is set up by immersing the artifact in an electrolyte solution, usually a 5% to 10%solution of caustic soda also known as sodium hydroxide or lye, and water and passing an electrical charge through the artifact. Rubber gloves, safety glasses and a rubberized apron should always be used when working with lye. To set up an electrolysis tank, start with a plastic container of a suitable size so that the artifact may be completely submerged, a car battery charger and an anode of stainless steel which has been attached to the positive side of a DC power source. Now connect the negative wire to the artifact and place it in the still empty tank. The anode should not be in contact with the artifact. The electrical current should be on before immersion of the artifact. It does not take much electricity to clean a brass artifact. For example, three amps is more than sufficient to clean a porthole. Of course, the voltage must be sufficient to achieve proper flow.  The time period depends on the size, shape, and electrical current, but since this is cleaning and not preservation, it should not take more than a day.

Finally, an acid bath can be used. Use a 50/50 solution of muriatic acid and water. Let the artifact soak, fully submerged, for a couple of days or until the artifact is clean. You will need to soak the brass or bronze in fresh water for a full month, changing the water every few days to leach out all of the acid. This soaking insures that your artifact will not turn green. A final polishing with a fine brass wire wheel or even by hand with a brillo pad will make the brass shine. As a final stage to any of the above listed methods, I suggest coating the polished brass with a clear poly-urethane spray, which helps to prevent the shine from dulling.
Brass Polishing Service

CERAMICS artifacts
Pottery , porcelain and china are all included in this category. The first rule is to immediately soak any item found in salt water in fresh water. Soak the item for approximately eight weeks, changing the water every day or so. I prefer to use warm water rinses followed by cold water baths during every change of water. The idea is to leach out as much salt as possible from the artifact. Steve Bielenda uses the toilet bowl tank as his artifact bath. His idea is logical because items placed in the tank are constantly being rinsed with fresh water each time the toilet is flushed. Hank Garvin recommends soaking china artifacts in a lemon juice bath. The mild acid in the lemon juice helps to leach out salt and should not harm any ornamental gold leaf on the china.

After the initial soaking, use a warm water rinse with a mild soap solution. If calcium deposits are present, use a vinegar bath, but be careful; some decorative patterns, especially gold leaf, are very delicate. Soak in fresh water after the vinegar or lemon bath.

After the final rinsing, if the artifact still has its original glaze, this is all the preservation that is needed. If the object is porous, it is advisable to coat it with an acrylic plastic.

GLASS artifacts
Fortunately glass holds up fairly well underwater, even after decades of submersion. Usually bottles dating from the early 1800’s to the present, found on or near shipwrecks, are in good condition. There are, of course, exceptions to every rule, and I have read reports of glass dating to the early 1700’s that would crack after drying out. When intact bottles are found buried in silt or sand, they can be as clear as the day they were lost. However, if the wreck is in a strong current area or in a location where a lot of surge is present, the bottles can be dulled by the sand blasting effect of constantly tumbling around.

In order to clean glass, all that is needed is fresh water, some powdered dish washing detergent and a little elbow grease. If stubborn stains are present, a 50% solution of muriatic acid and water can be used. Remember to wear plastic gloves and to rinse the artifact with fresh water after using acid. For bottles that are stained on the inside, use a bottle brush with a mud-like solution of detergent and water. If you don’t have a bottle brush, just shake the sloppy mixture around. It will have enough abrasiveness to remove most stains without damaging the glass.

Photos: Capt. Ed Slater with a black glass bottle. Bottles inside the San Diego and Capt. Dan’s shipwreck bottle collection.

GOLD shipwreck artifacts

Photo’s Shipwreck gold. Right Teddy Tuckers treasure cross from the San Pedro Shipwreck

Gold is amazing, and, depending on the quality, it is usually found as clean and shiny as new. Aaron Hirsh, a friend of mine, told me that the best method to preserve gold after recovery is to put it in a safe. Actually, he is right; very little is necessary to preserve this precious metal, and usually cleaning is all that is required. Sometimes gold may be found tarnished. Soaking in a 10% solution of nitric acid and water will usually remove any tarnish. I have found 10 karat gold that looked almost gray and very much like dull silver, but after a little polishing with a dremel held cotton buffing wheel, jewelers ruse, and some metal polish the gold gleamed. Gold can also be tested fairly easily and accurately with a karat testing chemical kit. This comes in real handy when trying to have an item appraised. The kit comes with a fine stone and a chemical solution for each karat rating. Simply rub a small amount of gold onto the stone and start out by dropping a drop of the mildest acid on to it. If it doesn’t dissolve, go to the next stronger chemical and continue until the small scratch of gold dissolves. Each bottle is marked, so whichever was strong enough to dissolve the gold residue on the stone is the karat rating of the gold.

LEAD and TIN shipwreck artifacts
Objects of lead and tin usually survive quite well while underwater. No preservation is usually needed, but any deposits of calcium or rust crustation can be removed by hand or with a pick. The white coating is usually lead oxide. This can be removed with a 10% solution of acetic acid or white vinegar. Be careful when soaking in acid or vinegar, if left for extended periods of time, damage will occur. After an acid bath, soak in warm water followed by cool water. Repeat the fresh water baths a few times to help remove any remaining acid. Dry after immersion in a rubbing alcohol bath, allow to dry, then coat with clear plastic spray or coat with paraffin wax.

LEATHER
As with all organic material, leather should be soaked in fresh water for at least two weeks; then it can be carefully brushed clean with a soft nylon brush. The next step is to soak the artifact for two hours in a 50% solution of alcohol and fresh water. Next use a 100% alcohol bath. After the object is completely cleaned soak it in polyethylene glycol for approximately one month.

SILVER


Silver holds up fairly well underwater, but most items such as coins will be covered in a heavy black rust like coating. In fact, to the untrained eye, silver coins usually look like junk until they are restored. First, remove as much of the silver sulfide coating as possible; this can usually be picked off. Depending on the item you can use a vinegar bath, electrolysis, or a chemical bath followed by a cleaning with tooth paste and polishing with silver polish. A dremel grinder with a fine wire wheel may even be used on some objects, then a cotton wheel and a fine jeweler’s ruse compound. Be careful if you choose the dremel grinder, as the wire wheel will scratch into the artifact’s surface. Charles Garrett offers a simple electrolysis method for cleaning coins in his book, TREASURE RECOVERY FROM SAND & SEA. His method uses an electrolyte solution of one teaspoon of citric acid and a half teaspoon of salt dissolved in one cup of water.The positive side of a three to six volt power supply is attached to a stainless steel anode on one side of the glass, and an alligator clip is used to attach the negative side to the coin which is placed on the other side of the glass. The current that flows through the solution will loosen any encrustation.

Photo: Treasure Hunter Carl Fismer with Silver coins salvaged from a Bahamas Shipwreck.

STEEL and IRON
Steel and iron are the most difficult to preserve. Severe corrosion is usually the problem. The first step is to remove any loose rust or calcareous encrustation. This can be done by scraping, sandblasting or tapping lightly with a hammer. After the object is cleaned, the metal has to be preserved. Electrochemical or an electrolysis bath can be used, or, if the item is too large to be submerged in a bath, the diver can simply heavily paint the artifact to seal the object from the elements. This method does not prevent corrosion from within but is used frequently on large anchors which would be hard to soak. For an electrochemical bath, smaller items can be soaked in a 10% solution of sodium hydroxide and 90%water. Note that the solution should be kept in a sealed plastic container, and plastic gloves should always be used. Soak the item for two to six months, depending on its size. Some then choose to dry the artifact completely and coat it with polyurethane or paint. Drying of small artifacts can be done in an oven, 200 degrees for 12-24 hours. Larger items can be heated with a torch. Another sealing method would be to place it in a bath of the same solution and surround the object with zinc plates or zinc chips. The solution will bubble for about two weeks. When the artifact is removed and rinsed off, it will  have a white coating which can be left on or removed with a 5% solution of sulfuric acid. The next step is to soak it in running fresh water for approximately two days.  Dry the item completely and coat the exterior with polyurethane, paraffin wax or paint. The exterior coating seals the iron from contact with air and moisture and prevents future corrosion.

An electrolysis bath can be set up as described in the brass and bronze section of this book. Remember that the electrolysis used for brass is for cleaning and when used on steel is for preservation. The duration will vary from several days to several weeks depending on the size and age of the object. According to THE UNDERWATER DIG by Robert Marx, the current, „should be five amperes for every 25 square inches of the objects surface“. The artifact should be removed from the bath while the power is still on. The artifact should then be emerged in afresh water bath and brushed clean. The water should be changed regularly for about two weeks. Drying and sealing is identical to the electrochemical method listed above.

Another method which I have used quite successfully with dead eye straps and steel cable is to clean and dry the steel then heavily coat the strap or cable with Naval Jelly. Their are two types of naval Jelly. You want the type that paints on white then dries to a hard black finish. After several coats you basically seal the artifact preventing any air from getting to and rusting the item. I have several pieces which have been preserved in the manner and have lasted nicely for over twenty years.

UNGLAZED POTTERY
Unglazed Pottery is more porous than china or glass and when found in salt water, you have to realize that this pottery allows more salt to saturate it than glazed china does. Once brought up from depth, the salt inside an artifact that is not preserved correctly will dry, crystallize and cause cracking and possible destruction to the artifact.

The first rule is to prevent the artifact from drying out. The best immediate choice is a freshwater bath, but if you’re on a boat and fresh water is not available, saltwater will due. For the car ride home, wrap the objects in plastic to keep in any moisture and prevent crystallization. Again as with ceramics, the first step to preservation is to leach out as much salt and chlorides as possible. For small objects, the holding tank of a toilet bowl works fine; other wise, soak in fresh water for approximately eight weeks, changing the water every couple of days. The next step is to soak the item in a bath of rubbing alcohol for three to four hours. Afterwards, let the artifact dry completely, which may take a few days. Drying can be assisted with an alcohol bath. Then it is advised to coat the artifact with a clear polyurethane spray or as Carl Fismer,a noted treasure hunter, recommends paint with a mixture of Elmers glue and water.

WOOD
Wood is difficult and time consuming to preserve. However, artifacts like rifle stocks, cargo crates with ink writing and dead eyes tempt the novice and even the experienced wreck diver to try. The problem is that when a wood item that has been submerged for years or even decades is dried out, it will shrink and crack. According to THE UNDERWATER DIG by Robert Marx, „When waterlogged wood is allowed to dry out, the evaporation of water from its degenerated inner cellulose and lignin cells will cause the remaining outer cell walls to collapse from surface tension“. We have to preserve each wood artifact by removing all water and salt from the inner cell structure while strengthening the wood’s cell structure.

Start off by keeping the object immersed in fresh water. Alternate warm and cool water. This rinse stage can go on for weeks or months, depending on the size, thickness and particular type of wood. The best scientific preservation method is impregnation with a 60% solution of Polyethylene Glycol also know as PEG or Carbo Wax. Polyethylene Glycol penetrates into the cell structure of the wood. In basic terms, it keeps each cell from shrinking and, therefore, greatly reduces any overall cracking. Artifacts should be submerged for a sufficient period of time that allows full penetration. For example, a wood dead eye may take six months, a wood rib one to two years. Polyethylene Glycol can be purchased at chemists shops, but it is costly.

Another method, which is not scientific by any means, may be used at the reader’s discretion. After the rinse stage which should last from two to 12 months depending on thickness, completely dry the object by using an alcohol bath. Next, coat it heavily with clear polyurethane. The artifact will shrink and crack but hopefully not too badly. The polyurethane coating will also protect any ink writing on the artifact. For dead eyes it is often acceptable to just clean and then coat the wood with linseed oil. The thin oil penetrates deep into the wood and prevents most cracking. This method is only recommended for dead eyes because most dead eyes are made of lignivite, a very hard durable wood.
Photo: Dan Berg with a dead eye recovered from the Cornelia Soule Shipwreck. Steve Jonassen with Date box from the Iberia Shipwreck.

Montag, Juni 29th, 2009 Museum, Wracks (wrecks) 29 Comments

Cuba-Cave-Exploration

Cuba-Cave-Exploration

free counters

Zur Zeit Online: 1
Besucher heute: 107