Mystery solved

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On Sunday November 22, 2009 we went back to the Mediator for the first time since a long time. The reason for the long period of absence is that we are lacking sufficient volunteers to do the regular things. But this time 5 members of the hard core of the volunteers were present plus a number of guests for a guided tour. The idea was to check the status of the airlift, to find out what is blocking the entrance to the front hold (under the bow deck) and to restart the guided tours. This all with the intention to work at the Mediator at least every other weekend.

My goal was to find out what mysteriously blocked the portside entrance to the hold under the bow deck. Swimming under the bow deck from portside to the starboard side is one of the attractions during the guided tour, but last time we found out that this was no longer possible. I took some pictures of the area last time but apparently missed the essential piece. 

Mediator_20091122_014_kleinSo I went in as the first diver. I had my photo camera with me and my video light; no flash. The visibility was reasonable, but there was a lot of fine dust in the water. That made working with the video light almost impossible. At the bow deck I was able to look more closely to what happened. It appeared that a metal piece was resting against the right hand side of the left opening under the bow deck. That piece was definitely never there in the past. I took several pictures of it and tried to lift it. It is a heavy piece so lifting takes probably a lift bag.

Portside_bow_cleaned_overview_kleinThen I started checking were the piece could have come from, but was unable to determine that under water. So I took a number of pictures of the bow deck and surroundings to compare these with pictures from the past. With these I was able to determine where it came from. This piece was originally on the bow deck at the portside of the ship resting against the hull and apparently it was moved by some unknown force to its present location. As you can see in the picture at right (taken on June 17, 2007) the piece is still there (left arrow shows the piece, right arrow shows an object behind the piece) and in the following picture (taken during this dive) Mediator_20091122_023_kleinthe piece is clearly gone (the arrow shows the objct that was behind the piece). The shape of the piece on the deck is also the same as the one that is currently blocking the entrance. What has caused this displacement remains a mystery but at least we know now where the object came from.

Sam Pieter went to inspect the airlift. He wanted to bring one end of the airhose to the surface so that we could test if air was still able to pass sufficiently well through the hose. But unfortunately the airhose was not easy to unwind under water so he had to bring up the airlift including the airhose to the surface for a closer inspection. Both are completely covered with sea pocks, so everything needs to be cleaned before it can be used again.

Theo and Karel each went with a group divers for a guided tour. Ellen stayed on the quay as security officer. All in all a successful event. Hopefully we will be able to continue this every other week so that we once again can achieve some progress in conserving and showing off this historical wreck.