The search effort went really well today. We had an excellent day weather wise but we did NOT find the locomotive. Visibility was poor (Approx 1m or 3ft.) but the diver managed to locate pier remnants and pieces of train rail. The rail he found was what the magnetometer survey picked up in April. Luc also brought up some old steel spikes which he found near one of the piers.
I'm still not entirely convinced yet that the train was retrieved. Here are a few things to consider:
1) Let's say it was retrieved. Why has it not been documented?...no pictures?....no newspaper articles? nothing? Bizarre? Not interesting enough back then? I don't think so! It's still interesting 103 years later. The bridge collapse event is fully documented right down to the passenger names, how many cars it was hauling, date, time, etc.
2) Still assuming it was retrieved. How did they get it out? With what? When? and how did they pull that off back in 1900 without even a picture being taken? I know cameras where a commodity back then but we also know they had been invented.
I plan on meeting with the Director of Operations for Ocean Group again next week and discuss alternate search methods which he brought up last week in case we found nothing today. They have all the high tech gear needed for a project of this nature and they are also experts in underwater salvage projects. I have put a lot of effort in finding answers and I am not convinced of either outcome at this time. What I really like is the fact the strangers and companies seem to be as interested as I in finding out what happened to the locomotive.
I also wanted to get the FIRST dive documented on video and Pierre Morin of Grand Falls agreed to tape the event and he created a really cool video of the effort.
In attendance today was: Eric Ouellette, Christine Mulherin, Luc Pelletier, Gaetan Poitras, Pierre Morin, Maggie & Cyr Lebel, Dick Merritt.
I'd like to thank Luc Pelletier (our diver), Gaetan Poitras (our entertaining Captain) and Pierre Morin (our camera man) for making this all happen. Luc used up two oxygen tanks and came here all the way from Baker Brook (a full hour away)!! Gaetan canceled his bookings in order to lend us his pontoon boat for the day!! Pierre used up two tapes filming our adventure and re arranged his work schedule to make it. Thank you all very much! It's not all about money and these gentlemen went out of there way today to prove that volunterring can be a blast.
Here are a few pictures from today.
ABOVE: Our boat and Captain Gaetan Poitras (left). Also in the picture is Dick Merritt owner of the Merritt Press Print store in Grand Falls.
ABOVE: Our Diver, Luc Pelletier
ABOVE: Me and my lovely wife to be in August, Christine Mulherin. I am holding a spike the diver found.