Regiment Divers Help Safeguard Sea Venture

August 9, 2015

Bermuda Regiment divers at the weekend helped safeguard the remaining timbers of Bermuda’s founding ship the Sea Venture. Divers from the Regiment’s Underwater Task Force sandbagged exposed wood at the site of the 1609 wreck, which led to the permanent habitation of Bermuda.

A total of 14 Regiment divers worked with custodian of wrecks, Dr Phillipe Rouja of the Department of Conservation Services, and the Historic Wrecks Authority to protect the remaining wood from attack by teredo worm, which eats wet wood, but which is unable to destroy wood protected by sand.

The Governor and Regiment CO Lt/Col Michael Foster-Brown fill sandbags on St Catherine’s Beach


Regiment divers placed around 50 sandbags – made of biodegradable jute sent specially to Bermuda by the British Army to avoid using ocean polluting plastic sandbags – on the exposed timbers on Saturday [Aug 8].

Sergeant Major James Self, who leads its dive team, said the Sea Venture dive was “the signature event” of the 50 wreck dives in 50 days event, launched to commemorate the armed services’ 50th anniversary.

He added: “It went very well and it was a privilege for the Regiment to help protect such an important part of the Island’s history.”

Regiment dive team member Jarrod Zancanella, 32, a veteran bandsman with the Regiment from Hamilton Parish, said: “Bermuda has amazing diving and I wanted to check out the wreck myself. It’s part of history and it’s good to help preserve it for future generations.

“There’s not much left now – but I’ll always be able to say I’ve been to the Sea Venture.”

Regiment diver Pte Satyra Robinson loads a sandbag on a Regiment boat at St Catherine’s Beach


Sergeant Marquisha Douglas, 35, from Pembroke and group sales manager at the Fairmont Southampton, said: “I’ve never been near the Sea Venture before. It’s such an important site and it was something new for me today.”

Governor George Fergusson and Regiment CO Lieutenant Colonel Michael Foster-Brown, although not scuba divers, donned fins and diving masks to make a personal inspection of the work and the remnants of the vessel.

Mr Fergusson said: “It’s extraordinary to be so close to something so symbolic to Bermuda in the flag and the crest. There aren’t many places whose history starts with a single boat.”

Regiment divers load a boat with sandbags at St Catherine’s Beach


He added: “It’s fascinating to see the work of conservation services, which has done so much to find and preserve Bermuda’s maritime history, seeing what the Regiment is doing and the work of its dive team at start of its 50 wrecks in 50 days event.”

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Comments (15)

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  1. Terry says:

    Great symbolic effort.

    But a farce and no disrespect to the participants.

    I am sure some/many were out with video and phone and cell et al.

    Some fool will put it up and we loose out last timbers.


    • Mariner says:

      Said “farce” event also resulted in the removal of a large illegal pot containing a protected species of grouper.

    • mangrove tree says:

      Territ,I don’t know how you start off by calling this a great effort, and then followed by “a farce “.
      You must try really hard to be so miserable.
      The Regiment divers are trying to do something positive.
      You as far as I know ,are not even living here, you are not contributing anything positive , by your actions or words.

      The wreck site of the Sea Venture is no secret, it is after all on the “Sea Venture Flat”.
      No one is going to go and raise its timbers and destroy it after seeing leaked footage , you really are being ridiculous.

  2. Onion Seed says:

    Well done, Conservation Services, Regiment divers and Wrecks authority and dive operators. The 50 Dives project is a wonderful team effort. It’s amazing that the Sea Venture passengers and crew were able to salvage much from the vessel. What a leap of faith it must have taken to set off across the Atlantic to unknown lands in such a small, heavy, craft.

  3. Toodle-oo says:

    ** Mr Fergusson said: “It’s extraordinary to be so close to something so symbolic to Bermuda in the flag and the crest. There aren’t many places whose history starts with a single boat.” **

    I recall seeing a Bermuda documentary some time back that revealed that it is a common misunderstanding that it is the Sea Venture symbolized on the Bermuda flag.

    It was supposedly a much earlier incident in which the wrecked vessel was somehow repaired and eventually continued on its way that is depicted in the flag.

    Perhaps Dr Rouja can clarify this .

    • mangrove tree says:

      The wreck on the crest would be the Bonadventura, a Frenchman(ship) wrecked in 1595 with Henry May on board.This occurred near North rock.

    • Thomas Mahoney says:

      The wreck depicted on the crest is supposed to depict a 1593 wreck on which Henry May, the first Englishman to set foot in Bermuda, was sailing. The Survivors including May built a small vessel and sailed to Newfoundland where they eventually found a fishing ship willing to take them back to Europe.

    • consider says:

      You can see the film here.

    • Toodle-oo says:

      Thanks guys . The names and dates are coming back to me now . I have a strong feeling that this is a part of our history that at least 90% of locals do not know . The ship depicted then is the Bonadvantura and that cliff like mini island is north Rock

      Hell ,even the Guv was wrong .. lol

  4. Anna Swann says:

    I was wondering if they took any photos of the wreck that the public would be allowed to see? I would really love to see what it looks like.

    • Mariner says:

      There are pictures and video footage. The wreck itself is miniscule, most of the ship was salvaged in order for the Deliverance and Patience to be built. Just a few wooden beams peeking out of the sand.

  5. Raymond Ray says:

    This had been “a bitter sweet” exploration. Why I say this? It’s because many will now know where this wreck lies and they may attempt salvaging “items”, either for their person “conversations” or financial gain. Remember, countless people dive and these are shallow waters…
    With there now being sandbags surrounding the wreck, this will make the Sea Ventures remains more visible to any diver wishing to locate the historical wreck :-( Food for thought…

    • Mariner says:

      There is very little to be taken. All valuable or historical artifacts have already been documented and removed. Most of the ship was salvaged in 1610. The wreck consists of a few wooden beams and some ballast. The excitement of diving this wreck is solely due to the knowledge of it being the “starting point” of an inhabited Bermuda. It is not visually exciting.

    • Raymond Ray says:

      Note: When mentioning, “It’s because many will now know where this wreck lies and they may attempt salvaging
      “items”, either for their person “conversations” or financial gain.” I was NOT referring to them that assisted in this act of preserving the wreck; I was meaning the site is on maps and now with the bags encircling the site this makes it easier for a diver to dive…

    • mangrove tree says:

      Raymond Ray , you are completely out of touch with reality.
      The wreck site is no secret, by mounting a conservation effort on the wreck, the direct result is not going to be hordes of nameless faceless divers arriving to loot and plunder the (previously excavated)wreck.