Le Dragon Wreck 2018 Project

The Wreck Site

Buen Hombre, where the wreck is located, is about 1.5 hrs drive each way from Monte Cristi. Each day the Team would load up the vans with the Teams dive equipment, 22 tanks weights, geophysical equipment, survey equipment, food, water, petrol for the trash pumps and head off. Once on the beach a daily routine had been established. The dredge, tail and tail gate was left on the wreck but the trash pumps which powered the archaeological water dredge were stored over night at a locals house, which reduced some of the transportation requirements.

The sea was beautiful and warm. In fact it is the first project where some of the Team were complaining that it was too warm, even after being underwater for up to five hours per day! There were a few fish including two lion fish which had to be “relocated” for the safety of the Team.

When we first inspected the wreck site we did not know what to expect. There was a lot of excitement. Dr Spooner had waited 18 years to get back to working on this historic wreck site, and Florence Prudhomme who was writing her doctorial thesis on the ship and her Captain had never been on the wreck site, so obviously she was delighted to finally be working on the wreck.

Normally it was covered with many feet of sand with only the top of the ballast showing. However when we arrived we were surprised to see that the port and starboard amidships section was uncovered by storms. Whilst the bow was totally buried by at least eight feet, canons two and three were completely uncovered. Cannon one was just beyond reach in liquid sand and cannons four and five were totally buried again by say four feet of sand.

Due to the algae growth on the frames and cannons we estimate that it must have been uncovered for a few months at least. The ends of the frames were covered with algae. We noted that the sandbags from the 2000 survey were partly in place but the ones covering the frames had been moved by the storm. We found the tags for frames 19 & 25 on the port side which were good to see, and that the markers had remained on the plastic tags for 18 years underwater.

The storm and worms have slightly affected the ends of the floors and futtocks which is to be expected. All the visible floors were re tagged from 19 to 37 on the port side. They were measured and drawn and then re-covered with interlocking sandbags. Then we did the same for the starboard side.