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Vintage Diving Stories?

Discussion in 'Vintage Equipment Diving' started by RickI, Nov 27, 2009.

  1. RickI

    RickI Manta Ray

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: SE Florida
    Here's another diving story from the past, about an expedition to Haiti to try to find Cristóbal Colón's lost caravel, the "Santa Maria."

    "We returned from Cap Haitian, Haiti today 35 years ago from a diving expedition to find what was thought to be Christopher Columbus' vessel the Santa Maria entombed beneath a finger coral mound on the barrier reef five miles offshore from Le Cap. The location was uncertain from what records existed for many reasons. Many efforts had been expended over the years including extensive towed magnatometer surveys. Trouble is this is a wreck rich environment, I recall a large sunken steel vessel near the mouth of the harbor and lots of wrecks from almost five centuries salted over the barrier reef in the area.

    A depiction of the grounding of the Santa Maria. The vessel was later salvaged with components used to construct Navidad.

    We were working on the barrier reef outside the harbor east of Pointe Picolet. I was impressed with the major winds that came
    in sideshore from the east each afternoon. We almost struck the reef in roiling waves awash over a poor passage through the reef.
    We were heading back to harbor and the strong winds and subsequent waves pretty much came out of nowhere. Little did I realize
    what a boon these thermal winds would be for some next door in Cabarete, DR in windsurfing in a decade or so and almost
    twenty-five years later in kitesurfing.

    I am extracting the coral barrel to then run it over to the support boat where it can be opened and the contents inspected and classified. Had more hair in those days, thinner too! You can see the diver operated hydraulic core head on the bottom to the right and the dreaded "monkey-on-a-stick" hand hammer on the left. Lots of memories of driving rebar stakes into the bottom with the 35 pound hand hammer in all seas and conditions on a few projects. It is sort of a consensual torture device. Papa Doc would have loved it."

    Continued with more images and description of retro diving gear, tectonics, voodoo loas, island social strife and more at:

    The Search For Columbus' Santa Maria Off Haiti - FKA Kiteboarding Forums

    DebbyDiver, Paladin and Luis H like this.

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