The Uranie Expedition Location Diary

Code to the Location Diary

WA Museum Team

CA: Carmelo Amalfi
GK: Geoff Kimpton
Hugh: Hugh Edwards
JL: John Lashmar
Mc: M. McCarthy
Les: Les Moss
JW: John Williams


BA: Bob Arber
CR: Craig Robertson
DY: Duncan Young 

Falkland Island Sub Aqua Club

Paul Carrier
Debbie Carrier
Pete Gruncell
Dave Gwinneth
Duncan Young.

Dave: David  Eynon

Wednesday 7th March

Arrived c. 4pm after a slow traverse of 'camp' - to meet Glenda and Neil Watson at Long Island Farm. Lots of Uranie timbers in the yard, coal, 2 hawse pipes (iron), cannon balls from Long Island and coal from the wreck. Note: Neil told of another wreck in the Bay @ the SW corner. Poss[ibly] Fortunata. Dave took us to a point opposite the site, 13th telegraph pole and we set up camp. To bed and rain but all neatly ensconced for the night. Rained on an off most of night.

Thursday 8th March

Began surface search of beach material from SE side of Berkeley side.

Note: JW to sketching

Joined by Flt. Lt. Bob Arber & Mr Craig Robertson of the RAF by the time we had got to the stream mid bay and video’d and photographed and GPS’d the frames etc.  Finished the plot for the day and GK, BA and CR dived GK in wetsuit, the Poms in dry suit  with all the gear - offered to assist and would dive regardless [they said]. GK in the meantime had located timbers and tried to lead the Poms to the site. Realised GK had found something and took marks (GK dive transit p.168) Site Description

1. Large piece of timber in 4 to 5 metres of water located on south edge of kelp.

Sketch here

[GK comments in itals]…Transit taken - rock visible on beach [Dog Rock] at low tide in line between the 5th and 6th lamp-post from the farm house.

2. Small piece of timber protruding from sand 45° angle (possible rib).

Sketch here

Transit taken rock visible on beach at low tide in line with 5th lamp-post from farm house.

Eventually after a long float back, Craig was assisted in and I sent GK back to look for Bob. Found him just tying rope buoy to the straight timber. GK found rib en route shore. Also added to site plan. Debriefed - JL had a snorkel also checking the kelp beds and ‘Dog Reef’ [of Maurin] finding nothing to the north and a pulley sheave with an inner coak in the reef. Confirms the Maurin ill[ustration]


JL (1) 1.30-2.00; (2) 2.15-2.45

GK and JL very good in gear and no after effects after quite lengthy dives for the 13°C conditions.

Caption: Maurin's rendering of the campsite and wreckage of the Uranie. The 'dog' is on the RHS.

Friday 9th March

Up. Concerned we had inadvertently camped on the Uranie camp and after breakfast rectified the matter and moved to the last piece of shelter north of the extremity of the camp itself.

Flat calm seas over cast, very cold. Joined around 11.00 by the RAF divers again [This time] in a RAF R.I.B. Bob, Duncan [Young] and Craig just as GK and RN were entering the water for video and photography of the timbers. Elected to proceed and it all became quite crowded as Dave Eynon and family; John, Anne and Megan [Museum staff] with Robert King [Receiver of Wreck] arrived for a visit. Discussed the place and our strategies and the possibility of further work later. Very positive.

Then joined by Les Hugh and Carmelo from Town. Showed all around and saw the divers back in. Dave had gone. The Falklands group departed and Mc, JL, GK joined the RAF team and searched the northern kelp bed. The RAF team somewhat haphazardly though good company and very welcome boat. Hugh also checked the timber. 7 metres deep.

Note: V. cold and bleak. 25-30 Kn[ot] winds (W).

GK: 2.05 (65) [minutes duration]

Bob/Craig (2.10 (35)

Bob/Duncan (35)

Hugh .20 [on] ‘Dog Reef’ and timber.

Back ashore - saw Hugh.Carmelo and Les off 4’ish. JV/JL: to Neil and Glenda’s. MMcC and GK to the Arago [actually the artist Pelion… substitute Arago with Pelion hereafter] drawing location showing the wreck and camp, the foreground after 2 hrs blustering we fixed it.

Now have checked the 3 drawings.

1. from Dog Reef ; Maurin

2. from across the bay : ? via Philippe [b/w]

3. from behind the camp : Arago

Now clear

(1) Hillocks didn’t exist as depicted or have eroded

(2) there are no trees as shown in the Arago [Pelion] drawing

(3) His depiction of the hills behind while having many similarities is not ‘photographic) He is foreshortening and is putting into one frame a much larger story. E.g. shag rock in the b/w. The expectations that Arago would lead us to the wreck are unrealistic though there are some clues especially evident in view 3. As over by John Williams on other sheets and myself on rough [estimates p. 21-22]. Becoming apparent is that the wreck buoy is near Uranie as depicted by Arago [Pelion].

Caption: Pellion's depiction of the same site

Saturday 10th March

Wet - hail and 30 knot winds am. No sign of RAF on account of winds - negates plan with magnetometer - a real disappointment as we have the position fixed with the Arago drawingsand GK location of timbers. Clearly too deep with RAF yesterday. Winds rising to 45-50 knots from west. White caps, very strong, v. difficult to work.

MM/GK/JL - Finished beach GPS survey and desc[riptio]n. JW did sections through each camp site and Arago Point drawings b/w, and water colour …very neat and useful. PM - Cold/50 knots westerlies, gusting, real heavy duty glove and mitten weather. Temperature 5-8 max or less (GK) - 0°. Plotted camp and very difficult conditions - 5°c and 50-60 kt winds. Photographed Arago [Pelion] and ‘Labrador Reef (Dog) locations and all finds including fastenings - a section of cabin timber - with nut bolts, spikes etc and an iron knee. All photographed.Bed to 40/50 kt winds and mutton sandwiches. Thick and very tasty indeed.

Sunday 11th March

Up, smooth seas. Poor visibility. GK and JL GPS’ing the beach Mc and JW on the site plan of the camp. Finding thanks to John more indications of the extent of the camp itself with 120 people. Becoming clear it extends well beyond all expectations. Added today the camp area to the north consisting of stone walls facing the sea. Hitherto missed elected to examine area north of Dog Rock. Note: (sketch)

GK and JL gearing up for a dive - snorkel the other scuba. GK again finding wreckage in the kelp 100 m east of the end of Dog Reef. JL finding more simultaneously and buoyed. RAF had arrived and Mc on magnetometer with Paul and Dave at same time. Not working.


GK 1.05h

JL 40min

After 30 m, disappointed and no anomaly near the GK/JL site - though the magnetometer appeared OK when Paul revved up the motors to produce > 12V as J. Clarke suggested. GK signalling more wreckage. Wind westerly increasing but underwater viz. looking good. JW on site plan. Les/Hugh and Carmelo arrived all well. Had given some victuals and grog to the Watsons and were thankfully and warmly received. All met.

G Kimpton drawing of timbers and transit of timbers. Wreck opposite 7th [pole] approximately. JL and JW elected to return and so did Les/Hugh and after loading gear they departed for town. I asked the RAF crowd to closely search and examine the newly buoyed area. Note: FISAC Service (Falkland Island Sub Aqua Club 3.4 m max (7.5 m)

Paul Carier I/C

Pete Gruncell

Dave Gwinneth

Debbie Carrier

Duncan Young.

They also asked if they could examine the timbers closely and I authorised them to hand fan them. After well over an hour they returned to indicate they had removed kelp and had uncovered more timbers in the area of the buoys saying ‘this is it’. They described it and it was apparent that the wreck had been found.

Note: RAF team c. 3 hrs total. Taking turns diving. MM and GK geared up after briefing the service team on a means of recording the wreckage and while we were preparing they did a dry run on the sand.

Note: Mack 50 m in

GK 40 min

All dived. GK video’ing and MM inspecting and photographing. Confirmed the site and had the site plan done [by RAF]. See p. 155. Dive finished v. late. Sketch here

This is certainly the main part of the site cf the Eynon report and is very close to the Arago/position and it fits in very well with the crew/salvors? Camp and its ‘Bastions’ [of JW], the Maurin drawing which shows he had reason to be on that side of Dog Reef i.e. on going from the wreck to the camp where Rose deF states the small boats were moored. Paul and Co departed hurriedly* fearful of their curfew and we all retired (CA, MM, GK) to a Sicilian chips, pasta of some quality of cognac. Read from Rose’ Journal noting the full moon which coincided - quite an awesome sight. To the strains of Ave Maria.

Note: *After detouring over wreck to drop in a brick one of their divershad raised.

Monday 12th March

With the RAF not returning and our aims of a non-disturbance search and survey achieved we packed up next day and while awaiting Les and Hugh with the 4WD. Helped Neil and Glenda herd cattle… quite fun. Also examined the large structure [opposite their farm] dating from 1870/80 at lest (from the bottles on the surface) and is very substantial indeed and full of sand. Hugh indicated he saw horse bones and there were oven bricks similar to Uranie’s. The Armoury??

Had an excellent lunch with Neil and Glenda of thick mutton chops, tangy potatoes, gravy and cabbage—wonderful and snug. Then back to Stewart’s and a great evening of ‘Slum Gullions’ and drinks though CA and I did not attend writing up and filing stories.

Caption: Horses on the beach, with the line of Dog Reef in the background. Photo by Hugh Edwards.

Tuesday 13th March

Packing, touristing, buying and visiting Stanley sights. Mc writing up, [and] to Lady Elizabeth for a quick squiz. After a long chat with Dave Eynon on the history of the location of the wreck - We both accept that he and Ken Halliday first found wreckage 30 years ago and he dived on it since and that the WAM team located another substantial section - I think he realises that this is the main site, GK, JW and JL treated to a day at the penguins and JW cadged a trout off an unsuspecting fisherman. Hugh/Les and Carmelo each participated and the talks and the plate were a great hit for the 25 people there - Had some of John’s excellent trout and joined the mob’ at the Upland Goose ..... where Dave, Carol etc all were in high spirits. Dave especially linking to JL and (as I was afterwards told).

Wednesday 14th March

Up at 6 for breakfast and a 7’ish bus pick up. Met Paul Carrier and gave him my old dry suit for RAF training. He gave me some more signs and was most pleased with his team’s important (essential!!) contribution cf Dave’s ‘no show’ and hiding the inflatable, but all is forgiven and agreements have been reached. I really do understand his reluctance to help and he did apologise via JL.

11.00. Away after a ‘shearing shed sheepish snaking in’ from airport check in to waiting lounge. Writing up and preparing for Dampier/de Freycinet next while en route. Pippa from the British Atlantic Survey who had heard of our work came and saw us on disembarkation and hoped to see our Museum when next in Oz.

Caption: An RAF Panavia Tornado F3, acting as escort off the Port wing of our L-1011 Tristar.

Caption: Timbers from the wreck on Long Island.

Caption: The main wreck near the kelp bed.