We have all arrived on site in Marina Herzeliya at our home for the next three weeks: four students from Texas A&M’s Nautical Archaeology Program coming from Hawaii, Texas, and Seattle to join Dr. Shelley Wachsmann in Israel for the Maritima Ioppa Project searching for deepwater shipwrecks in the Mediterranean. During our time here we’ll be out every day with the ROV and ship Ocean King provided by Vampyro Marine Exploration, piloted by Ishay Nazhan and assisted by Lior Ohana and Captain Mike. We’re getting a little bit of a late start with the blog so in this post I’ll describe the first few days. The first day was spent fighting jet-lag and preparing ourselves and our equipment.
Our project’s goal is to investigate multibeam sonar targets with a work-class ROV capable of diving to our target depths of up to 300m. The multibeam data comes from an area to the immediate west of Tel Aviv and Jaffa, Israel. We plan to use the ROV’s on-board camera to investigate the targets in real-time, as well as examine footage captured with an HD camera that is also on-board the ROV, but not sending data in real-time.
Seas are calm so far and the weather is beautiful, so we’ve been out every day since September 1st. We’ve had two positive hits on modern wrecks so far, and two targets that remain unidentified as of yet. Some of our unidentified targets are covered with net and are dangerous to get close to with the ROV. We take HD footage of these and try to get a clearer idea of what the target is when we review the footage at the end of the day. We hope to identify as many targets as possible, and not just shipwrecks either- today we took a member of Israel’s MIA research and recovery unit on board in case the target we investigated was a hoped-for missing aircraft.
We will try to make regular updates over the next three weeks, please join us via the web on our project!