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A. E. Vickery Project: Report, 2012, Part 1

NEUE Project Baseline Wreck of the A. E. Vickery - Photo by Warren Lo

Aerial view of the bow section showing the relation between the bow, windlass, and chain spill. Photo by Warren Lo.

Report by Kelly Rodgers and Warren Lo

When: June 18 – 23, 2012

Where: St. Lawrence River, wreck of the A. E. Vickery

Who:

  • Bob Sherwood – Project Leader
  • Chris Malinowski
  • Piotrek Kulczakowicz
  • Steve Millington
  • Karim Hamza
  • Heather Hamza
  • Joanna Helon
  • Vince Malardi
  • Nate Kwiatek
  • Damion Chojnowski
  • Tim Feeney
  • Warren Lo
  • Kelly Rodgers

Why: To create a baseline of the wreck of the A. E. Vickery by surveying, measuring, photographing and video taping the wreck.

Introduction

The Northeast Underwater Explorers embarked on their first project to create a baseline of measurements and observations of the shipwreck, A. E. Vickery. The information will be documented and posted for future reference for the purpose of evaluating the deterioration over time and making decisions about its conservation.

The A. E. Vickery was a three masted schooner built and launched in 1861 as the J.B. Penfield. She was renamed in 1884 as the A. E. Vickery. She was sailing from Chicago to Prescott carrying a cargo of 21,000 bushels of corn. On August 15, 1889 in the St. Lawrence River she had to make a tack to clear the lighthouse on Rock Island but missed stays in coming about and struck a shoal. She hung on to the rocks for 4 hours before slipping beneath the waters. No one on board was injured.

General Project Goals

  • Document the position of the wreck
  • Set up photo stations
  • Photograph and Video the wreck
  • Install line to the stern
  • Install down-current safety line
  • Replace existing lines
  • Explore debris field
  • Mark position of Oconto/O’connel (wreck nearby)
  • Run line to Oconto/O’connel
  • Measure points on wreck from bottom
  • Zebra mussel count
  • Establish control points
  • Sediment depth inside wreck
  • Survey wreck
  • Sidescan sonar of wreck
  • Document mast
  • Clean off zebra mussels to photo section of ship

Writer’s Team Assignments:

  • Document the position of the wreck
  • Set up photo stations
  • Video and photograph the wreck (Photography only)

Challenges:

  • At any one time 13 people were on the wreck performing their various pieces of the project objectives. Photographing the wreck was challenging to get shots without people obstructing the views. We decided to spend the last 2 days on the wreck before anyone arrived (having the advantage of our own boat) where we could get some shots of just the wreck
  • Negotiating stages, scooters, camera with strong current was very challenging

General Notes:

  • Wreck is accessible by boat only and is located in fairly strong current.
  • Wreck starts at approximately 60′ at the bow and sits on a slope rendering the stern railing at approximately 100′.
  • There is a debris field consisting of one of the masts, dead eyes, block and tackle pulleys that range from +/- 120′ to +/- 150′.
  • Aside from having training to this depth a diver needs to be comfortable carrying stages, measuring/tagging supplies, scooters, camera’s in some cases while dealing with the strong current.
  • The team met every morning to review the goals of the day.
  • A debrief was had at the end of each day to review the accomplishments of the day and any shortfalls/challenges for the next days goals.

Wreck Position:

We took a GPS co-ordinate off a green channel marker # 215, as well as the mooring connected to a block at 24’ below with a line that leads to the bow of the wreck. The teams below shot surface markers from 3 positions on the wreck: The bow, the starboard stern, and the tip of the mast lying in approximately 150’. A fourth marker was raised from a stern mooring that was broken. The co-ordinates were entered on Google maps.

Position Point GPS Coordinates
Mooring 1 N44.27993
W076.01894
Mooring 2 N44.28014
W076.01855
Bow N44.27993
W076.01894
Starboard Stern N44.28037
W076.01903
Tip of the Mast N44.228046
W076.01920
Green Channel Marker #215 N44.27975
W076.01983

Vickery position points on Google Earth

Vickery position points on Google Earth

Go to Project Baseline: A. E. Vickery Report, 2012, Part 2.

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