www.thebermudian.com 52 | THE BERMUDIAN
The Divers’ Contribution
Interestingly, both Drs. Delgado and Rouja
noted the important role that divers play in
adding to the narrative of shipwrecks. Divers
are often the first to locate a wreck, the first to
explore them, and also the ones who provide
scientists with the initial data used to begin
identifying a shipwreck. This was the case with
the Robert J. Walker. In the 1970s, local divers
had first been alerted to a possible wreck by
fishermen and purchased the coordinates for
$25 so they could explore it. The divers in turn
alerted marine archaeologists and shared the
information they found over the years, eventually leading to the identification of the wreck.
Dr. Rouja works closely with local Bermuda
divers and credits them with contributing
substantial amounts of information that is
used in identifying and understanding wreck
sites. Take for example, the Mary Celestia. She
has long been one of Bermuda’s most popular
dive sites. Knowledgeable local divers knew
that items were regularly exposed on the ship
after heavy storms. After a particularly strong
winter storm event that saw huge swells pound
the south shore of Bermuda and the site of
the Mary Celestia local divers quickly alerted
Dr. Rouja of the potential for artifacts to be
exposed. Quickly diving the site, he found
signs of a stash of contraband that had been
hidden deep in the bow, and covered by sand
for nearly 150 years! The artifacts included
perfectly corked wine, perfume, cologne, and
even shoes. Local divers quick action lead Dr.
Rouja to team up with Dr. Delgado, the Waitt
Institute, and local volunteer divers to perform
a proper investigation of the newly discovered
artifacts. All of this was possible because of the
local divers who first made the discovery.
Kristina Kenniker is a passionate advocate
for ocean exploration and conservation. Her
primary focus has been on fisheries issues,
particularly understanding the global impacts
of their health and well-being. She got her start
as a research assistant to the executive director
of the Waitt Institute where she worked with
explorers and scientists from around the world.
Currently serving as codirector on two documentary films that focus on fishery concerns,
Kristina is also the director of research for a
pharmaceutical research firm in Princeton,
New Jersey, where she lives with her two favourite explorers, her children, Grace and Jack.
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