Sylvia Caproni - Duty Log - Nautical Archeology

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Sylvia Caproni
UFS Civilian
UFS Civilian
Posts: 10
Joined: 220117.1455
Duty Post: Nautical Archeologist
Ship/Station Posted: Denkiri Centre
Grid: Second Life Grid
Location: Maine
Been thanked: 15 times


<spoken in a cool, calm slightly accented female voice, deeper than expected in timbre>

Begin log.

Reporting Science Officer for Nautical Archeology LT Syl Caproni. Stardate 220829. After arrival at Astraios Colony, a substantial amount of time was spent acquiring appropriate dive gear in order to commence investigation and preservation of maritime wrecks in the fjord closest to Takaar Valley. It appears that this is a somewhat dated and outmoded form of investigation, diving wrecks, but to this officer's mind it remains the most accurate. Not to mention the most hands-on, quite literally. A good nitrox and trimix generator and pump was needed, as well as obviously the gear. Those materials have just arrived, and I have spent the past few days testing them on shallow dives, in preparation for the first dive on the first wreck one comes to as one enters the fjord from the docking facility. Those dives went well, and I was able to conduct my first DECO (decompression required upon ascension) dive of Wreck Alpha.

Wreck Alpha, so named because it is the first to be investigated and logged, appears to be strikingly similar to Earth's ancient Nordic vessels, around the time of the Vikings. This wreck is remarkably well preserved, despite being in only approximately 40 meters of water. Oh, it bears noting that the salinity of the water here on Astraios is a bit different than back on Earth, so buoyancy took a while to master. At any rate, the vessel appears to rest on its hull, as if it dropped straight down, though at a bit of a list to starboard. Thus, her port hull is exposed, while her starboard side is more submerged in the ocean floor detritus. She measures approximately 6 meters in length, so by our standards she'd be a smaller "day sailer" type of vessel. And she does appear to be just that, as her mast stump (the mast itself was lost to the ravages of the ocean apparently some time ago) is quite narrow, approximately 6 cm in diameter. There isn't any boom or beam, though of course that would have been the first to go in the disintegration order. Her sides are slatted, much like the old Viking ships, which serves to enhance the sea-worthiness of such a vessel. I have taken samples of the construction material, which appears to be wood with some type of metallic cinctures, almost like riveting. But quite large. The main "rivets" measure approximately 2 cm in diameter and are quite corroded. The slatting itself measures approximately 12 cm in height, and of course runs the full length of the ship. Those slats appear to overlap by approximately 3 cm in a "shingling" manner, and I have taken samples of what might be a tar-like substance that could have been used to further seal the slats and hull, adding to the waterproof nature of the vessel. I counted 10 slats on the port side, in varying degrees of rot and degradation. Towards the bow and stern they were in better condition, of course that is where there was less strain on the wood with bowing. The bow itself, as also the stern, appears to consist of the same wood as the slats, but in approximately a 4 cm x 4 cm molded piece to form the curvature of the relevant ends of the vessel. There doesn't appear to be any decorative work, though of course that could have worn off many years ago.

There seem to be four cross vessel benches for humanoids to sit. The mast, as noted above, sits almost dead center of the vessel, and is based in what is apparently a tarred plug into the bottom of the vessel. Now, this is interesting, and I wonder if this served as the harbinger of the ultimate fate of Wreck Alpha, because the tarring on one side, the port side, of that mast plug is quite far gone. In fact, I'd suspect it had failed while the vessel was on the surface. So, this leads me to wonder if this vessel was abandoned, and left to decay, finally succumbing to the waves when the mast plug let go. There doesn't appear to be any war-like damage to the boat. There does appear towards the stern of the boat to have been a rudder system, but there doesn't seem to be any centerboarding. The rudder, however, is lost. The bottom of the boat, from what I can see, seems to be one large piece of wood that is somewhat flat.

As another note, the slats themselves are approximately 2 cm thick, and the topmost one (which would serve as the side of the boat, the top side) is capped by another 4 cm x 4 cm piece of shaped wood, curved to the slats. All in all, she's elegant, and would have been a beauty when in service. I couldn't tell in this dive what exactly the vessel had been used for, other than perhaps as a pleasure craft, because there didn't seem to be anything relating to shipping or cargo involved. As she is entirely open, and her size is so small, Wreck Alpha was most likely a recreational vessel.


1 (a) through 1 (j) - wood from the midships point of each port slat, with (a) being the topmost slat and working down
2 - wood from the shaped piece at the bow/prow
3 - wood from the stern
4 (a) through 4 (d) - wood from the benches, starting from the bow and working to stern
5 - wood from the bottom of the vessel
6 - wood from the mast stump
7 - tarring from the mast stump
8 - tarring from port slat 1 (c)

Photographs were taken of each sample location, as well as of course the entire wreck in pieces, then as a whole. The wreck was grid laid, and we will start the ocean floor dig with a very light air gun soon, to see if we can find any items within that grid.

What would I like to know?

A) We need to determine the age of Wreck Alpha. So, carbon-dating is critical. The samples have been provided to the relevant authorities for this purpose, and I look forward to the results.

B) What kind of wood was used? Were there different woods? If so, why? If not, why not?

C) How did the ancient Astraiosians form the curvatures in this boat? This would have required a good deal of work, steam systems, pressure and vises, basically forming molds to work the slatting and other pieces of wood into the desired curves

D) What did they actually use the vessel for?

E) What kind of sail would have been used? I don't think I'll be able to answer that probably, at least not from Wreck Alpha, but perhaps other officers can advise as to the types of cloth that the civilization used, and we can surmise what they must have used here.

At this point, that's about all I can think of. For dive data, the following is the log:

Time commenced (local time): 1205
Time ended (surface): 1255
DECO reached: 6
Max depth reached: 42 meters
Time spent at DECO 6: Approximately 7 minutes
Pressure at start: 3045, standard 1 liter tank of nitrox, plugged
Pressure at end: 2003
O2 mix: 20%

I believe at this time that is all, computer. End duty log of 220829. LT Caproni out.

<a faint bleeping is heard as the computer shuts down the recording>
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