‘It’s not often you make history’
Friday, June 14, 2024

“Beautiful image.”Sonar Image

That’s how David Mearns described the sonar image that confirmed the final resting place of Ernest Shackleton’s last expedition ship, Quest.

The search director of the team that located the famed Antarctic explorer’s vessel that sank off the coast of Labrador in 1962 says the image, captured by Marine Institute of Memorial University specialists, was the definitive proof.

“That confirms on sonar alone that this is Quest,” Mr. Mearns said during a news conference at the Marine Institute in St. John’s, N.L., on June 12. “And the reason why we know that is because from that image, we were able to actually measure the precise dimensions of the target and compare those to the known dimensions of the ship — and they’re spot on.”

On June 9, the Royal Canadian Geographical Society of Canada, leading an international team with specialists from Canada, the U.K., Norway and the U.S., found the schooner-rigged vessel that served as Shackleton’s expedition ship six decades after it went missing.

Eyes into the deep

Setting sail from St. John’s on the LeeWay Odyssey on June 5, the team discovered Quest five days later on the floor of the Labrador Sea 390 meters down and not far from the community of Battle Harbour.

Aboard the vessel to provide sonar expertise were Sarah Walsh, geomatics specialist, and Craig Bulger, project engineer, with the Marine Institute’s Centre for Applied Ocean Technology.Sarah Walsh and Craig Bulger

They captured the deciding image of the Quest’s hull.

Ms. Walsh and Mr. Bulger were responsible for operating the sonar.

“I am so very honoured to have been a part of such a historic finding by the Royal Canadian Geographical Society,” said Ms. Walsh. “The picture of the wreck shown around the world is a target image I took myself from our side scan sonar.”

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