Stay Dry And “Dive” Historic Wreck
BEFORE LAST SEPTEMBER, if you wanted to see the wreck of the USS Hatteras, you were out of luck. First off, it’s in 60 feet of water and partially buried under bottom sands, 20 miles from Galveston, Texas, in the Gulf of Mexico. And second, “ 20 miles
from Galveston” is about as exact a location as the people who know are willing to divulge.
James Delgado, NOAA’s director of maritime heritage for the National Marine Sanctuaries
program, thinks that’s a shame. Part of his job as a marine archaeologist, he says, is not only
to educate the public, but also to get them excited about historical finds like the Hatteras.
That’s tough to do when they can’t experience the thrill of discovery and exploration for
themselves. To remedy that, last year he and a team of students, scientists, and technicians
used a 3-D sonar camera to document the wreck, putting the images online where anyone
can “dive” the wreck from the comfort of their own computer screen.
The 1863 sinking of the steam-driven paddle wheeler ended a brief but successful career
hunting down Confederate blockade-runners in the Gulf of Mexico. The ship helped blockade Galveston, then gave chase to a vessel that turned out to be the CSS Alabama. After
a firefight, the Union ship surrendered, and survivors were taken to the Alabama. Holed by
cannonballs, the Hatteras sank in approximately 60 feet of water, largely forgotten until the
iron-hulled ship was rediscovered in the 1970s.
Delgado mapped the wreck with 3-D sonar and says, “What we’re ultimately going to
get is a high-resolution scan of the wreck. Graphically you can fly through and flip it, and
manipulate it, to get a 3-D sense of the wreck.” The imaging was timed to coincide with the
anniversary of the sinking, on January 11, 1863, but hurricane activity last year exposed more
of the ship and Delgado wanted to finish the imaging before shifting sands again covered the
Hatteras. With the digital images scanned and cleaned up, Delgado hopes the information will
find a broader audience online at sanctuaries.noaa.gov. “You’re actually going to get a better
look at it than if you dived it,” he says. — C.L.
WATER STILL DOWN
OF ALL THE INGREDIENTS that go into recreational boating, water tops the list. Great Lakes boaters tend to
watch water level trends on a seasonal basis,
and given the unseasonably dry summer of
2012, coupled with a mild winter the previous year, water levels in the Great Lakes are
predicted to hit an all-time low. Great Lakes
water level recording began about 1860,
with sporadic records dating back to the
early 1800s, so setting new record lows is
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers predicts that record-low levels for both Lake
Huron and Lake Michigan will be reached
sometime in early 2013. All Great Lakes
water levels are forecast to continue falling
over the early months of 2013, so boaters
should prepare for very low water levels for at
least the early part of the coming season and
A pattern of lower-than-normal precipitation, higher-than-normal air temperatures,
and increased winter evaporation from the
Day Cruisers. Coastal Cruisers & Hardtop Coupes. Inflatables and Center Consoles. Express Sedans & Flybridge Cruisers.
Visit us at a Boat Show near you this season – Boston, Miami, Palm Beach, Maine, Newport, Norwalk, and Annapolis
Since 1946 we have been delivering the rush of power and exhilaration on the water. Pushing limits without compromise,
designing luxury without constraint, delivering uncanny agility.
The Surfhunter 25CC by Hunt; as individual as your fingerprint with choice of inboard, outboard, jet, sterndrive.
Experience your joy – fishing, harbor hopping, chasing the sails or cocktail cruising.