First Site – Seventh Trip – Planning the Tour
Our seventh trip on 30.6.2018 to the first wreck park site was very productive. We found more frames of the clinker wreck, found a boom or gaff of the rigging and planned the wreck tour on the Barrel wreck. On the short helmet video below, one can see three to four stepped frames of a clinker built vessel. According to one viking ship specialist, they somewhat resemble the frames of the viking ship known as Skuldelev 3. More research and dating is needed of course, before any valid interpretations should be made.
Below is the first plan for a “park tour” on the Barrel wreck. Needless to say, this is just the first preliminary version on most likely will be cahned without warning :-). The project team is very gratefull for any feed back of it.
First Site – Sixth Trip – Surveying the Bay
The sixth trip to the first site 24.6.2018 was again very brief one, just one dive by Rupert Simon and Markku Luoto, but nevertheless an important one. The purpose of the trip was to survey the Träskö’s northern bay area for remnants of the plausible Ruoto-wreck and other potential wreckage, in order to verify the security of the first mooring buoy placement.
Just about two minutes into the dive, we found a single frame depicted in a video linked here. The frame clearly belongs to a clinker built ship of shape and size not matching any of the known (Alko or Barrel) wrecks in the area. Hence I’ve now changed my mind about the existence of the Ruoto-wreck. I find it very likely, that at least a third ship has wrecked on the Träskö reef too.
It remains a mystery however, whether the “clinker wreck” still has a “skeleton”, i.e. keel and bottom timbers lying somewhere to be seen, or whether they have been buried into the bottom silt and only some scattered fragments remain visible.
The curvature of the frame resembles that of many frames lying on the reef just south-southwest from the Barrel wreck, but it it’s almost impossible to determine whether they are from the same vessel without a scientific dating of the frames.
First Site – Fifth Trip – Searching for Ruoto Wreck
On the Fifth trip to the first site on 14.6.2018 we had a Maritime Archaeologists Kalle Virtanen on board. He verified the Cannonside wreck site to be that of a hull fragment of a war ship and not an individual vessel. Thus the name “Tykkijolla” (Cannon sloop) for this wreck site can be scratched for good. Here you can watch Markku’s “helmet video” of a 25 min. dive to Cannonside wreck with Kalle Virtanen.
The primary goal of this trip was, however, to investigate the potential wreck site between Alko and Barrel wrecks known as Ruoto Wreck (Skeleton wreck). Markku Luoto surveyed the prospected area, but found only some separate wood remnants in the vicinity of the Alko wreck. No keel or hull frames were found. This casts a serious doubt to the existence of the Ruoto wreck, as the area is dived a lot and not a single verifiable find – nor a picture – of a vessel skeleton has been found. Topi Sellman did some initial videomosaic of the area and for the sake of inventory the whole find area will be made into a unanimous mosaic in the future.
First Site – Fourth Trip – Cannonside Photomosaic
Our fourth trip to the first site on 6.6.2018 was a very brief one, just one dive. The sole purpose of trip was to take good video coverage of the Cannonside wreck, in order to create a photo-mosaic and a 3D model of the wreck; Alko and Barrel wrecks already having such. Topi Sellman, the author of both of the previous ones, spent about an hour videoing the wreck. Below is an image of the result: an orthogonal image of the Cannonside wreck. This image was also used for creating the “edge-enhanced” background image for the Cannonside dive slate and wreck park information board.
The PDF image below is intended to be used as a dive slate while exploring the wrecksite. This is only an initial draft, so there is a signifficant risk associated with some of the namings. There’s e.g. not much proof, except the location between main gunports, that the gunwale hatch was that of a deck gun. Some of the open issues can’t be solved by examining this fragment of a ship alone, but only by finding the rest of the ship or by finding out its fate.
First Site – Third Trip – More Buoys and New Pictures
The third trip to the Träskö-project’s first site was made 3.6.2018. During the trip, the places of the diver buoys and anchor weights were rearranged to safer locations and the potential mooring buoy places were inspected by divers. New pictures – maybe the first ever(?) of the Cannonside wreck – were taken by Rupert Simon from Nousu ry.. All the descend/ascend ropes and knots thereto were inspected for wearing and found to be OK.
First Site – Second Trip – Initial Diver Buoys
The second prestudy trip was made 27.5.2018, during which the Cannonside wreck was located and initial “diver” buoys for the safe descend/ascend were placed on all three before mentioned wrecks. The Cannonside wreck was also surveyed to the extent, that it became evident, that it is not a wreck of any individual/whole vessel, but a hull fragment of a fairly large warship with cannons.
As depicted above, wreck & environment friendly 25 liter polyethylene canisters were used for both: the descend/ascend line buoys and anchor weights, the latter filled with sand of course. The anchor weights were placed only 2-3 meters outside the wrecks for safety reasons and guide lines into the wrecks were installed. Four liter sand filled polyethylene canisters were used as fittings in the wreck end of the guide lines, to minimize the risk for damage to the wrecks in situations, where the diver buoys would be used for mooring against all instructions. No lines were attached to the wreck itself.
A novel idea, of utilizing simple rope ascenders for adjusting the descend/ascend rope tension according to the current sea level, was also tested and deemed very easy to use. This kind of setup provides more counterweight (approximately 30kg), than any diver could reasonably be expected to have buoyancy – even in emergency situations. The opposite applies to the positive buoyancy (25N) as well, as the buoy canisters are adjusted to stay fully afloat. Professional fishing markers with double flags were attached to the buoys, to comply with regulations and to provide contact information of the project.
First Site – First Trip – Diver Wear Proves the Need for Action
Once we got the diving vessel Vuoksi of Nousu ry. into the water after an exceptionally cold spring, the first prestudy trip was made 23.5.2018 to the planned “first site” of the Träskö-project i.e. to the Stora Träskö island’s northern reef, where Alko and Barrel wrecks lie. It was soon discovered, that a small buoy was again attached to the capstan of the Alko wreck, which had been dragged to the stern of the shipwreck the summer before. Likewise, some makeshift lines were placed between the Alko & Barrel wrecks and the reef itself. None of these were properly marked, guided or attached. The extensive mooring damage to the Barrel wreck (as mentioned in the project plan) was observed. All this verified the need for action very well both in terms of protection and accessibility – not to mention dive safety.
An idea evolved into a project plan
Diving -as anything- with teenagers, can be an eye opening experience. While visiting the Gustav Adolf Wreck Park in Helsinki with my sons last summer, I was confronted with the fact, that not much had happened for the last two decades in the accessibility, presentation or protection of the historic wreck sites in Finnish waters. While listening my sons listing the numerous highlights of the dive, I recalled Dr. Minna Koivikko hinting about “adopting” wrecks in a manner local NAS chapters had done in the UK. The final push to materialize the vague idea, came from Riikka Ahlvik in the Finnish Heritage Agency’s annual field days in February, where she was presenting the Baltacar project.
The vague idea was that of getting the third sector i.e. associations, clubs etc. to adopt historical wrecks, in order to enhance their accessibility and presentation for the divers, thereby increasing their appreciation of our maritime cultural heritage and its protection.
It was easy to start setting an example, as the idea was met with great enthusiasm in our diving club Nousu ry. Also the great work of Salla-Maria Tikkanen at Gustav Adolf and Hanna Halonen at Hanko area wrecks helped tremendously the way forward, as proofs of concept had already been done. Coincidentally, I had some spare time in March to write the project plan for the Träskö-project, which aims at creating a large wreck park of the numerous Porkkala area wrecks and facilitating maritime archaeological research into those wrecks.
As a not very hidden agenda, Träskö-project also aims to challenge other dive clubs and associations to adopt wrecks on their own. Thus all project materials are published as “public domain”, to be freely used as templates for similar projects. The images, logos and trademarks within the project material and on this website are nonetheless property of their respective authors and owners.
Below, one can find the latest version (21.5.2018 – currently a bit out of date, as the on going activities are not included therein) of the project plan as PDF. The Word version can be acquired freely from the author by sending a request to firstname.lastname@example.org.