Paul Palmer Photomosaic Project

In July, August, and September 2004, the sanctuary and NOAA Maritime Archaeology Center staff documented the 5-masted coal schooner Paul Palmer to obtain a better understanding of the site's features. A total of 640 diver minutes were logged during this project to capture digital still and video imagery of the Paul Palmer. Divers obtained nearly complete video coverage of the site for management purposes and frame grabs from the video were made into a site photomosaic for public interpretation.

Historical image of Paul Palmer
Historical image of the schooner Paul Palmer. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.


In 2000, the sanctuary located the remains of a large sailing vessel embedded in a flat sandy bottom at a depth less than 130 feet. The site measures 300 feet long by 40 feet wide with 5 feet of vertical relief. The vessel's wooden frames protrude from the sand around the perimeter of the site, while a large wooden keelson runs the length of the site. A large steam-powered windlass and chain pile sit at one end of the site indicating that it is a bow.

Vessel Stern and Chain Pile
The vessels stern (left) and chain pile near the windlass (right) make up the two ends of the wreck site.

A considerable number and variety of marine animals inhabit the site. Longhorn sculpin, monkfish, sea ravens, and flounder dwell on the bottom around the site, while cod, cunner, and pollock hide under the overhanging portions of hull. Anemones, sponges, and mussels have affixed themselves to the schooner's hull presenting a beautiful garden-like image. Like many of the archaeological sites in the sanctuary, pieces of fishing nets and recreational fishing jigs are entangled in the wreck's structure.

Archaeologist Divers
Archaeologists prepare to descend to the Paul Palmer
shipwreck to document the site's remains.

This project was made possible through support from NOAA's Maritime Heritage Program and Maritime Archaeology Center.

For more information on the schooner Paul Palmer click here.




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