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Billy Kenon Site Plan of One of the Padre Island Wrecks of 1554

In 1554 at least three Spanish vessels sank in the vicinity of Padre Island, Texas. In the 1960s, Billy Kenon and the Znika brothers excavated one of them using Billy's "Little Lady", a converted landing craft fitted out with a propwash deflector devised by Billy himself. After the successful recovery of many coins and silver bars, the state of Texas confiscated all the trove, leaving Kenon and the Znika brothers with nothing from their discoveries. Billy's site plan of the wreck is seen here modeled in SketchUp. The model is based solely upon the Kenon site plan and is built to scale. This site plan is the only one known to exist. There is a possibility that Mendel Peterson, one of the consulting archaeologists on the project, might have had a copy, but it has yet to reach the public eye. There is conjecture that a number of coins that might have been part of the same shipment have been located on a wreck by Global Marine Exploration near Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic.

 

 

RV Osprey per Global Marine Exploration, Inc.  Showing New Booms and Sensory Gear

R/V Osprey
Official Number: 908166
Built in 1968 by Sewart Marine – Berwick, LA
Hull: Aluminum
Length over all: 98 ft.
Beam: 22.9 ft.
Draft: 8 ft.
Engines: 2 x Detroit Diesel 1271
Reduction Gears: Twin Disk
Propellers: 50 x 52 three blade bronze, counter rotating
Shafts: 4” Stainless steel
Fuel Capacity: 6000 + gallons total in three separate tanks

Equipment:
Side Tech Dual Frequency Depth Sounder
Northstar GPS with Chart Plotter
Furuno LC90 Loran Radar
Satellite 406 EPIRB
Sea Nav Differential Global Positioning Systems (DGPS)
Sea Ranger SR 5561 and Standard Horizon Eclipse VHF Radios
8.6 CFM Dive Compressor with 2200CF storage bank system
Aluminum Dive Cylinders and Surface Supplied Air System (Hookah)

 

 

Deadman Hydraulic Jet Assembly

I posted this material in static view some months ago, but the concept is worthy of consideration as it would apply to an injection dredge assembly as well. I had this device in mind specifically for excavations in very shallow water near shore where a boat can not go. When I say "near shore", I mean literally as you see depicted in the animation. Regardless of intent, the use of this equipment would make it possible to excavate wreckage in water 4 feet deep, no matter how far from shore, and removes the risk to a support vessel in that depth.

Handling a jet hose like this can be a real chore, and the thing can be very difficult to control by a diver. I've used this method myself in the offshore oilfields to uncover pipe crossings and buried valves. Anchoring the jet to a deadman that can be adjusted to near neutral buoyancy would mean the diver(s) would have exacting control of the dredgeing process. This whole assembly can be towed to and from port, or hoisted as necessary. The 3 inch portable pump is light enough to be handled by a single individual. In this model, the air used to adjust buoyancy of the deadman is being supplied by a Brownie regulator/80 cu. ft. SCUBA tank, but any similar supply would work at 30 psi. over bottom pressure of the working depth.

 

 

A Sample Dipole Mag Target

This model is based upon real SeaSpy magnetometer data collected at the Cabin Wreck near Sebastian Inlet in Florida.  The hosted map is a screen shot taken from the MagTrakR program written by Signum Ops PA, Terry Armstrong.  MagTrakR was written especially for use of SeaSpy magnetometer data.  In this model the El Salvador is shown towing tandem SeaSpy sensors, to scale, over the hosted screenshot.  The cannon are in position as they actually occupy the seafloor, and the illustrated dipole target is, in fact, a cannon from the Cabin wreck as is the monopole target illustrated.  MagTrakR can post process data, or plot in realtime.  Only one single track of data is shown in this illustration.  In the case of the El Salvador, which is owned by Global Marine Exploration, Inc., there would be two separate files to process, one for each sensor.

The magnetometer fluctuates its signal as positive or negative readings.  As one passes near a target going in one direction, the signal will be positive or negative, and making the next pass in the opposite direction that same target might register a signal of the opposing strength.  When passing directly over a target, the magnetometer will register a signal in both polarities immediately as positive-negative, or negative-positive, depending upon the direction of travel at that instant. This is called a dipole signal, and is the best indicator of an anomaly's true position on the seafloor.  Therefore if a positive signal, for example, is registered at a particular location and a negative signal of equal strength is registered in the same vicinity while towing in the opposite direction, the operator would suspect that the target being sensed lays somewhere between the lines just traveled.  The strength of the signals registered by the magnetometer are measured in nanoteslas, abbreviated as nT.  The term gamma  is interchangeable with nT.

 

 

Bronze Cannon from Site 2

Here is a scale model of one of the bronze cannon found by Global Marine Exploration, Inc. along the coast of Cape Canaveral in 2016. The following descriptive data comes from Mendel Peterson's Green Book series:

Bronze culverin of the reign of Henri II. The decorations on the top face include: The initial "B" around the vent which might be either the initial of the founder, unidentified or of the foundry. Higher: The crescent of the Goddess Diane the Huntress, which was also the emblem of Diane de Poitiers (the life-long mistress of King Henri II, who had been transferred to him by his father Francois I), surrounded by two hunting bows (referring to the same Goddess), the ropes broken and graciously twisted as befits a fierce huntress that has laid down her weapons, being tamed by love (the Editor's own poetic interpretation). Above again: The crowned initial "H" of King Henri. Note that the crown this time is covered, as befits a royal crown (not always the case earlier). Above again: A monogram consisting of two opposite "D", the two vertical legs of the letter joined by a horizontal bar, to mean "DH" (Diana & Henri).

The reference to Diane de Poitiers is common on most of the guns of the reign of Henri in
(crescent, initial and bows). It is common also as stone carvings on all castles and buildings
of his reign (1547-1559).

 

 

Propwash Deflector versus Airlift

In this cut-away 3D sandbox model, the Ais King, owned by Joel Ruth is shown over an excavation typical of that craft.  The artifacts exposed are covered with about 3 feet of sand and occupy a square area of approximately 613 square feet.  The overburden that needs to be removed in order to expose the artifacts (ballast stones included) amounts to about 68 cubic yards, or between five and six 12-cubic- yard dump truck loads.

 The Ais King features a "duck bill" propwash configuration that actually pushes an apron of displaced overburden behind the boat as the excavation occurs.  In this model, the exposed area seen is an ellipsoid of about 8.2 square feet.  This excavation would take the Ais King about 5 minutes to complete.  Based upon this square foot exposure, the entire 613 square foot artifact scatter field could be exposed in about 6 hours, provided the excavation was continuous.  Of course that is not the case as divers are sent below to examine the excavation after every blow, and there are observations to be recorded.  Basically this would amount to roughly 70 some excavations, but because the overburden piles up as the boat moves around, it takes longer to make successive excavations.  Sea state also plays a large part in this type of operation as waves rock the downstream from the propwash, dissipating its effect. 

The Florida State Bureau of Archaeological Resources only permits the use of propwash with special permission and recommends the use of an airlift instead, with a maximum bore of ten-inches.  The airlift sucks up sand using a vacuum created by injecting compressed air inside a plenum tube, which creates a vacuum, expelling the sand at the upper end of the airlift tube.  The bore of the Ais King propwash deflector is about 30-inches, giving it a square volume area 10 times greater than the ten-inch bore airlift, and in this model the comparative excavation between the two methods is accurately illustrated for a five-minute excavation. Based upon the ratio of ten to one, it would take the airlift just short of an hour to perform the same scale of excavation, provided it were possible to keep the sides of the crater from collapsing, given all factors being equal.  It would take 60 hours to excavate the 613 square feet using an airlift.  The airlift works well enough in still water, but it's definitely not suitable for large-scale removal of overburden as seen in this model.  Aside from requiring a compressor, the airlift is also labor intensive as it must be man-handled continuously on the face of the excavation.

 

 

GME Sandbox Model

This sandbox model is staged for illustrations in the second edition of "A Hundred Giants", due out on Amazon this spring. The entire model is built using SketchUp 15. The excavation vessel is the El Salvador owned by Global Marine Exploration. The items excavated include a stone monument believed to be part of the Huguenot's cargo of 1562 originally, according to Bobby Pritchett, CEO of Global Marine Exploration, Inc. There is also a bronze cannon bearing the cartouche of Henry, the French King, and possibly a marking attributed to Catherine de Medici. Currently, the wreckage awaits further investigation, pending a claim on it by the Republic of France.

The model is to scale and based upon a GME video per BarryMP4 as seen HERE.

 

 

Overview of a Galley circa Mid-16th Century

European naval powers of the 16th century used galleys and the larger galleass, both distinguished by the use of oars as well as sail.  This model of a galley has 16 gun ports, 24 oars, and is about 100 feet long from stem to stern.  Typically rigged with lateen sails, these types of vessels were used by both the French and the Spanish.  The San Pelayo, a galleass owned by Pedro Menendez was used in the attack on the Huguenot ships at Fort Caroline.  The Triniti, the vessel under the command of Ribault, was also described as a galleass.  The Ribault fleet of 1565 may have used galleys like that shown here.  The Triniti is described as having 34 guns, however, this count does not necessarily mean there were 34 gun ports on the vessel, as the count might have included a number of versos (rail guns) in the armament. This model was built using SketchUp Rev 15 as a stage for illustrations in the forthcoming second edition of "A Hundred Giants".

 

 

Google Earth Pro Tour of the setting for A Hundred Giants, second edition

Short video as a flying tour of the locations covered in the second edition of A Hundred Giants, from Port Canaveral, to Fort Caroline and then southward throughout Cape Canaveral.

 

 

The French Monument Discovered by Global Marine Exploration

The stone monument discovered by Global Marine Exploration along Cape Canaveral bears resemblance to at least a piece of the monument described by Le Moyne and later produced in print by Theodore de Bry.  In this model, the page shown is from the Vander Aa manuscript reprint of the Huguenot saga, and the illustration is a copy of the de Bry engraving.   According to Jeannette Thurber Connor, one of the Frenchmen, Rouffi, described the monument to wit: 

"The said pillar/' says the Spanish relation concerning Rojas, "is of white stone, as tall and large as a man, more or less; and at the top thereof is graven an escutcheon with a crown surmounting it, and within it are three fleurs-delys; and farther down, an R(I R) which the said Guillermo said was the name in cipher of the queen mother of France; he said she was called Catalina; and farther down, four figures in numerals which read 1561."

The piece found by Global Marine Exploration, while degraded over its long period of submersion, still displays all of the appropriate features as described by Rouffi, sans the bottom half.  In this model the bottom half is presented here without any warrantee of fidelity, however, the monument may have looked like this, based upon the piece found at sea, and the description by Rouffi.