Archive for 10/14/2011

Stornoway Gazette –

Fishermen, beachcombers, divers and local people in the Western Isles are being urged to report anything unusual they’ve spotted at the shoreline or under the sea to a new archaeological project, launched this week.

The project – a partnership between RCAHMS, WA Coastal & Marine, Historic Scotland and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (CNE-Siar)– is searching for the prehistoric and historic remains of the coastal and marine areas of the Outer Hebrides.

Rising sea levels and coastal erosion make the search for previously undiscovered archaeology in the Western Isles a priority, as there is always the real danger that it could be lost for good.

A key feature of the project is getting local people involved in sharing their knowledge of potential sites of archaeological remains and involving them in research work.

The team hopes to make some discoveries of previously unknown sites as a direct result of ‘tip-offs’ from the local community.

That’s why they’re inviting local people to a talk this week to find out more [Taigh Chearsabhagh Arts centre on North Uist at 7pm on 12 October] and holding regular sessions in a local venue to encourage people to come forward with their stories.

By working with local people the project aims to explore the rich coastal and maritime history of the Outer Hebrides which spans thousands of years

Evidence of the remains of ancient settlements, fish-traps , even tree stumps that may now lie submerged, and other finds and fragments from the inter-tidal zone, are all part of the puzzle that the project wants to hear about, in order to piece together stories of the past.

Full story…

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Frank Walker – 

Imagine you are five metres underwater on a hostile shore where there is an enemy who will kill you if he gets the chance.

The cold water is so murky that you can’t see your hands, even when you hold them up to your face mask.

You are groping along the muddy sea floor with your fingers, feeling about for something solid and metallic.

The only consolation is that if the mine does go off, you won’t know about it. You will be obliterated in a flash.

Now imagine that what you are looking for is a mine packed with enough explosives to sink a battleship.

Your job is to disarm the mine or rig it so that you can retreat to a safe distance and blow it up.

Those who placed the mine don’t want you to do that and have booby-trapped it so that the slightest tremor will set it off.

Your fingers touch the hard shell of the mine. You trace the mine’s outline and find the entry plate. Ever so gently, you unscrew the plate and carefully insert your fingers to find the detonator wires. You have the wires in your hand – now which one to cut ?

You can’t even see which wire is red and which is blue. Welcome to the world of the elite Australian navy clearance diver.

Full story…

Michael Martz – 

Herb and Mildred Webb ran their fingertips over the name of their son, Buddy Webb, on a metal plaque commemorating 17 Richmond-area scuba divers who had died 10 years earlier when their boat capsized in a hurricane in Belize.

Then Joshua Pike approached the plaque, which the Richmond Dive Club was about to place on a platform 20 feet below the surface of Lake Rawlings on Saturday to honor the club members who died on the Wave Dancer on Oct. 8, 2001.

Pike touched the names of his parents, Charlie and Cindy, and then that of his cousin, Jimmy Topping. He sat sobbing, consoled by diving club members who have been family to the families of those who died when he was just 15 years old.

“I’m glad I conquered this,” said Pike, a Midlothian native who now lives in western Henrico County. “Their passing away at such an early age was extremely hard, but it made me grow up fast.”

It touched him, he said, that “everyday people are never forgotten.”

The ceremony marked the 10th anniversary of the worst accident in the history of recreational scuba diving, but some 50 people gathered to remember friends and family with joy as well as sorrow.

Herb Webb of Midlothian said of his son, “One thing consoled us – he was with the people he loved and doing absolutely what he loved. If it had to happen, what better way ?”

The three members of the diving club who survived the capsizing – David DeBarger, Mary Lou Hayden and Richard Patterson were among those who attended the ceremony.

Full story…