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Divers Identify Historic Shipwreck Off Alaska - St Herman's legacy?

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  • Rev. Fr. John-Brian Paprock
    Divers Identify Historic Shipwreck Off Alaska July 27, 2004 Tuesday Alaska - Divers working 80 feet below the surface of Monk s Lagoon off Kodiak Island,
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 27, 2004
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      Divers Identify Historic Shipwreck Off Alaska

      July 27, 2004

      Alaska - Divers working 80 feet below the surface of Monk's Lagoon
      off Kodiak Island, Alaska, have identified a shipwreck first
      discovered in July of 2003 as the Russian-American Company ship
      Kad'yak, lost in 1860. The team mapped the wreck and recovered more
      artifacts for diagnostic purposes through July 26. The National
      Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Science
      Foundation are funding the missionNOAA is an agency of the U.S.
      Department of Commerce.

      Bradley Stevens, a diver from NOAA Fisheries' Kodiak, Alaska
      laboratory, led the team of volunteers who first discovered the
      wreck, but the remains of the wooden ship and pieces of the structure
      they found could not confirm the origins or name of the ship. Stevens
      subsequently conducted an extensive search of records, charts and
      maps trying to determine the identity of this wreck, to no avail.

      An East Carolina University-led dive team from this current mission
      solved the mystery on July 15 when they recovered a brass object
      believed to be the hub of the ship's wheel with the ship's name
      clearly inscribed in Russian.

      "It is extraordinary for underwater archaeologists to identify a 144-
      year old shipwreck this quickly," said Timothy Runyan, director of
      the Maritime Studies Program at East Carolina University and co-
      principle investigator on the mission.

      The cold Alaskan water has helped preserve a good portion of the ship
      and researchers believe there may be other significant well preserved
      historic shipwrecks among the estimated several thousand that lie in
      Alaskan waters. This is the first professionally conducted maritime
      archaeological project in Alaskan waters and is also supported by
      NOAA's Maritime Heritage Program in Newport News, Va., the Alaska
      Office of History and Archaeology, and several volunteers.

      The 132-foot bark built in Lubeck, Germany, in 1851 departed Kodiak
      headed for San Francisco carrying 350 tons of ice when she struck an
      uncharted rock and quickly filed with water. Captain Illarion
      Archimandritof ordered the crew into the boats, saving all hands. The
      ice kept the vessel afloat for three days but attempts to tow the
      ship toward shore using rowboats failed and the Kad'yak drifted about
      six miles before settling to the bottom at Monk's Lagoon on Spruce

      The town of Kodiak was a center for the trading activities of the
      Russian-American Company operating under a charter from the Russian
      czar. Kad'yak is the only Russian-American Company ship ever
      discovered and will provide new information on the period of Russian
      control of Alaska prior to its purchase by the United States in 1867.

      The shipwreck figures prominently in the history of Native Alaskans
      and is part of the oral tradition of the villagers of Ouzinkie.
      Russian Orthodox missionaries converted most of the local people, the
      most prominent missionary being Father Herman who established a
      chapel and orphanage on Spruce Island. Father Herman died in 1836 and
      was later canonized as St. Herman.

      Before sailing on that fateful voyage, Captain Archimandritof
      promised to pay homage to Father Herman at his chapel, but he did
      not. Local tradition suggests that it was divine retribution when the
      Kad'yak hit an uncharted submerged rock and then drifted to Spruce
      Island before sinking to the bottom immediately before Father's
      Herman's shore-side chapel. The top of the mainmast and a yardarm
      stood above the surface forming a cross, the natives taking this as
      an admonition to the captain for his failure to hold the promised
      service before sailing.

      A permit to investigate the site was issued to East Carolina
      University by the Alaska Office of History and Archaeology,
      Department of Natural Resources. The state claimed the wreck because
      it lies within three miles of shore and the state historic
      preservation officer has declared the Kad'yak eligible for the
      National Register of Historic Places.

      Source of News Release:
      Web Site
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