An­chor find has his­tor­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance

Pilbara News - - News - Ali­cia Per­era

A ma­rine re­search team has ac­ci­den­tally dis­cov­ered an an­chor thought to be up to 150 years old dur­ing a field trip on Nin­ga­loo Reef.

A StarBug au­ton­o­mous un­der­wa­ter ve­hi­cle op­er­ated by the BHP Bil­li­ton-CSIRO Nin­ga­loo Outlook Deep Reefs team recorded video footage of an old an­chor on the ocean floor while sur­vey­ing Nin­ga­loo Reef ear­lier this month.

Deep Reefs team lead re­search sci­en­tist Russ Bab­cock said the WA Mar­itime Mu­seum be­lieved it to be the type of an­chor used 100-150 years ago on early trad­ing ves­sels, and could have be­longed to a ship bring­ing sup­plies from another part of WA to a nearby pas­toral sta­tion such as Yardie Creek.

He said the team had come across the an­chor by ac­ci­dent, while watch­ing video footage of the reef col­lected by the AUV.

“It wasn’t just a speed­boat an­chor, it was a to­tally old-school sailor’s an­chor,” he said.

“So we thought ‘wow’ and had a bit of a closer look at it.”

Team mem­bers traced the arte­fact us­ing co-or­di­nates col­lected by the AUV and dived down to take pho­tos.

The WA Mar­itime Mu­seum has since reg­is­tered the an­chor on its data­base, but has opted to leave it in place in Nin­ga­loo for the time be­ing.

Dr Bab­cock said it was un­usual dis­cov­ery for both the re­search team and the Nin­ga­loo area.

“This is def­i­nitely the first time we’ve found some­thing like this with the AUV, although I know that peo­ple who op­er­ate AUVs in other parts of the coun­try are in de­mand by ma­rine ar­chae­ol­o­gists,” he said. “Usu­ally, the clos­est thing to an arte­fact we would find is a old bit of fish­ing line.

“The an­chor’s ac­tu­ally quite close to one of the busiest parts of Nin­ga­loo and no one’s found it be­fore. So we feel pretty chuffed and it’s one of those lucky things.”

The Nin­ga­loo Outlook Deep Reefs field trip in­volved sur­vey­ing 4km of reef at depths of 18-50m to col­lect data about en­vi­ron­men­tal con­di­tions.

Pic­ture: Russ Bab­cock, CSIRO

The old an­chor found by the Nin­ga­loo Outlook Deep Reef re­search team.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.