Island of Mozambique - 2018March 16 2018
The Island of Mozambique is a long-forgotten legendary place. Since the end of the 15th century, it became a major Portuguese settlement, where most of the ships on the sea route to India would stop before crossing the ocean.
Today, a local archaeologist fights against treasure hunters to preserve the outstanding historical heritage. Under his supervision, an underwater archaeology learning center and a museum will soon open.
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Today, we share the amazing 3D bird's eye view of the Fort of São Sebastião.
Built on the Northeastern tip of the Island of Mozambique by the Portuguese sailors of the 16th century, it is a marvel to visit from the land and from the air.
Will you be able to find the Chapel of Nossa Senhora de Baluarte, oldest European building in the Southern hemisphere ?
It's time to process all of the data collected during our 2018 mission to Mozambique.
The first nugget comes in the form of a beautiful 3D model of the ancient Portuguese cannon we photographed at 23m deep.
The ship that was transporting this incredible piece of artillery sank near Mozambique island on her return from India mid 16th century. It was loaded with Chinese porcelaine from the Ming dynasty, unfortunately looted by a Portuguese treasure hunter company that sold most of the pieces at Christie’s auctions in Amsterdam in 2004.
It is possible to see on the side 3 symbols that allow to date the ship. The first one is the coat of arms of King Manuel 1st. The second symbol is an armillary sphere that was used by the kings of Portugal when they launched a vast world exploration. The third symbol is the smelter of the cannon.
After 15 days on the Island of Mozambique, we can finally look back on the work done.
The team went diving more than 10 times, and thoroughly explored and documented three important sites.
Also, the above-water team used a portable sonar to create this highly accurate bathymetric chart. It will be an important tool for the soon-to-be-created underwater archeology center. The very first in Mozambique.
For its last few days in Mozambique, the team of divers if focusing on a specific piece of reef.
Along the main pass to access the bay, this precise zone has been the responsible for many wrecks, according to the dominant winds.
Once underwater, the predictions are confirmed by many objects dating back several centuries.
At low tide, the normally submerged reefs reveal their presence around the pass.
The treacherous access to the Island of Mozambique proved to be fatal to dozens of ships, throughout the centuries.
Some of the dramas that unfolded can know be studied and documented, thanks to the work of local archeologists helped by the Octopus Foundation and other associations.
After 6 days on the Island of Mozambique, the crew just clocked in its 5th dive !
Three shipwrecks have been documented, in various conditions. Some have apparent pieces, which are therefore under the attack of oxygen and current. In an experimental effort, some wrecks have been covered in geotextile to slow down their decay.
Here, Christophe is surveying the surroundings of a 16th-century Portuguese galleon.
With its various skills such as underwater photogrammetry, the Octopus Foundation is currently helping local archeologists to document an ancient shipwreck.
The strong current and below-than-average visibility are two of the many challenges that need to be addressed.
Second day of our Mozambique mission, and we dived straight into the serious stuff:
- Underwater survey of an ancient shipwreck
- Underwater photogrammetry of the site
- Aerial photogrammetry of the site
- Drone footage of the island and various landmarks
- Island exploration on foot
- Meeting with various officials to announce our collaboration
- Visit of the 16th-century fortress
If we keep this rythme throughout the entire two weeks, we’ll probably come home with terabytes of data. Enough work for several months or years of processing.
First post from the Island of Mozambique !
It was an expedition in itself to get all the way down here. But we made it and it’s extraordinary !
Today’s highlight was the meeting with Ricardo and Yolanda Duarte, two local archaeologists with whom we will be collaborating during the next two weeks.
They will use our help to document several shipwrecks with various tools such as drones, photogrammetry and 3D computer models.
There are also interesting land vestiges that need to be catalogued, as they are slowly disappearing. Locals are taking the ancient stones to help build their homes.
The bay around the island is littered with shipwrecks, thanks to its highly strategic location since the 16th century (and maybe even earlier). Stay tuned.
Currently applying for visas at the Mozambique Embassy in Geneva (for the Swiss) and in Paris (for the French). Lots of documents required, it's a little bit more complicated than for our Greek mission !
Working hard with the Trident, testing all kinds of different settings.
In order to capture 1080p footage, we tried strapping a Paralenz camera to its side. We did several dives, the first one at a depth of 55 meters (see video), and the second we went down to 78 meters ! Both the Trident and the Paralenz responded perfectly to the challenge. More info soon.
The Octopus Foundation is excited to announce its most ambitious project so far: in July of 2018 the operational team will fly all the way to the tiny little island of Mozambique, in the Indian Ocean.
There, we will assist a local archaeologist who has been fighting treasure hunters for the past 20 years. His tireless work has allowed to locate several dozens shipwrecks in the bay surrounding the island. For centuries, it was a highly strategic and disputed island, a perfect stop for vessels on their way to India. This exceptional maritime history has never been studied by underwater archaeologists. A study center and a museum will be created for this purpose. Preparing for the mission, we have been diving in the Leman Lake in Lausanne, to test various gear such as underwater cameras, diving equipment and the beta version of the Trident from OpenRov ! Stay tuned.