page contains updates from July 2019 onwards on the search
for King Charles I's baggage ferry. The updates are
arranged in reverse date order, with the latest at the
Update - August 2021 (revised November 2021)
Diving with Stirling Sub Aqua Club and Forth Logistics Marine Services on 21st August 2021
Report from Ian Archibald, Project Manager and Convenor of Burntisland Heritage Trust (pictured right)
Yet another attempt to retrieve a core sample from our shipwreck site was arranged for Saturday 21st August. Once again we received the invaluable support from Sandy McPhail, the Director of Forth Logistics Marine Services, with the use of the jet boat ‘Wave Spirit’, skippered by Jim Tarvit.
On this occasion the team boarded at Port Edgar Marina.
Stirling Sub Aqua Club's Chris Lamb once again offered the club’s assistance with the diving. The Stirling club is a large branch of the Scottish Sub-Aqua Club, the governing body for Scuba Diving in Scotland.
Chris was in attendance with five of the club’s most experienced members made up as follows -
Dive team 1 with Alistair McCulloch (Branch Diving Officer) and Bryan Dermidy.
Dive team 2 with Duncan Blyth (Training Officer) and Keith Walton.
Surface cover with Stuart Cramb.
The team’s first task was to locate the seabed marker probe. This was identified on a previous dive as a suitable location for coring for a wood sample. The position correlates with the outline image of a buried wooden wreck which was produced using high resolution imaging spectrometry.
Alistair reported for the first dive with buddy Bryan: “Down shot, about to clip buddy/search line to it and start sweep but saw old probe/corer tube so moved shot to it. Clipped search line to the bottom line and moved up and back the bottom line then continued sweep search and verified the other end of the bottom line could be found out of the mud when extending search. Back to shot location but could not see it in the low vis Unclipped buddy line then headed up, Bryan deployed delayed surface marker buoy at 6m.” And summarises with: “We found the line and the old corer and left the shot at the right place for Duncan Blyth and Keith Watson to take a new core sample on their dive”.
Keith takes up the story of the next dive with his buddy Duncan. Keith reports: “I was first on the bottom and I awaited Duncan a few seconds behind. Visibility was very poor and I could only make out Duncan’s position from his torch despite him being less than 2 metres away. Once together I took hold of one end of the probe and pulled Duncan to the rope 2m easterly from the shot line. By this time the visibility was virtually zero. I grabbed Duncan’s hand so he knew the rope's position. Duncan raised the probe and together we pushed it into the bottom adjacent to the rope. The probe went in to the silty bottom to circa 30cms from the top of the tube at which point it hit a hard substrate. Duncan released the drill and started turning. The drill did not seem to penetrate the hard substrate but nevertheless he extracted it and locked it in place. The probe took a lot of effort to extract from the silty bottom. Duncan rocked it and then between us we managed to extract it with a fair bit of effort”.
Dive time was only 13 minutes and water temp 13c.
Both dives were to a depth of 27.9m.
The probe auger was retrieved and a seabed sample was obtained from the target buried at a depth of 2.0m below the seabed.
This was sent off to the Adrok lab in Edinburgh and the next day it was scanned and microscopically examined. It was reported that the sample contained “microscopic samples of wood fibres. Some of the fibres are carbonised wood relics and there is a lot of evidence of carbonised wood in the 8gm sample. The subsequent type casting of wood fibres also correlates with the wet wood data from both of the earlier sub bottom sea bed surveys.”
Dried out sample retrieved from the top of the probe auger which connected with the wreck at a depth of 2.2m. This relates precisely
with analysis of results from scan 2 of 2013 survey. The sample has subsequently been type casted as Baltic Oak.
I feel that we have reached another milestone with this long lasting project. Over the years exciting new technology has been developed which in the course of time will reveal much more about this site.
Alistair McCulloch and Bryan Dermidy surface after first dive to 27.9 metres and successfully locating the marker probe. Dive time 21’ 57”.
The probe/core auger is deployed to Duncan Blyth and Keith Walton for the second dive.
Wave Rider skipper and dive team on 21 August 2021.
Update - November 2020
Covid 19 has put a stop to the diving that was planned for November and probably for the rest of the year. Chris Lamb, the Dive Leader from the Stirling Sub Aqua Club, has assured us that the team remain committed to getting a result.
Update - April 2020
The shipwreck project continues to frustrate with four dive trips cancelled due to a combination of bad weather and poor visibility. The good news is we now have a dedicated team of divers and support from Forth Logistics Marine Services, and the Stirling club divers are still very keen to get the wood sample this year. However, diving planned for April 2020 has had to be cancelled.
- July 2019
After seeing Ian Archibald's presentation "The Search for the Lost Treasure of King Charles I" at the Burntisland Sailing Club, Stirling Sub Aqua Club's Chris Lamb offered the club’s support to assist with the diving. The Stirling club is a large branch of the Scottish Sub-Aqua Club, the governing body for Scuba Diving in Scotland.
Ian Archibald is also very grateful to Burntisland Sailing Club who offered the use and access to the club’s pontoon for the divers to embark and disembark the “Wave Spirit”.
Five of the club’s most experienced members, Alistair McCulloch (Branch Diving Officer), Duncan Blyth (Training Officer), Stuart Cramb, Linda Milne and Greig Matula dived the Burntisland site on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th July.
The team’s first task was to locate the seabed marker probe. This was identified on a previous dive as a suitable location for coring for a wood sample. The position correlates with the outline image of a buried wooden wreck which was produced using high resolution imaging spectrometry. The marker probe was successfully located on Saturday 13th July. The following dives on Sunday 14th July were however once again seriously hampered by very poor visibility (less than half a metre). No coring could be undertaken.
The team are very keen to try again and are hoping to return, weather permitting, in August.
None of this would have been possible without the support of Forth Logistics Marine Services whose jet boat ‘Wave Spirit’ skippered by Jim Tarvit provided invaluable assistance.
Please click here to see the full search timeline for the period 1997 to 2019.
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