At the ROM  - live broadcast from the deck of the wreck of the Erebus
got just one question in this afternoon at a packed media event, organized to watch in real time footage being shot on the wreck of the HMS Erebus under the ice in Canada's high arctic. When can sport divers like me dive on this recently discovered 19th century 4-masted schooner?
When the divers turned off their cameras underwater, Marc-André Bernier, underwater archaeologist and Head of the Underwater Archaeology Team at Parks Canada, held a Question and Answer session with Toronto reporters while standing in a tent, on the ice, near the dive hole over the wreck of the Erebus.

" The 9 ft of ice not withstanding, today's dive on the Erebus looked pretty easy - good viz, sport diver depth and current free." I asked Bernier, " will sport divers be allowed to dive on the Erebus?"

The answer? "We hope so. Parks Canada has a good track record (of giving divers access to shipwrecks managed by the Federal Service)." Bernier said that Parks Canada want Canadians to see this national treasure!

Although today's dive meant diving through the ice into -2 C degree salt water, with the warming of the Arctic there is a small window each year where divers could get to the Erebus without having to pack chain saws. Most years by late August and early September there are open seas around the Erebus. This April's mission is wrapping up in two or three days because of warming Spring temperatures.

According to Parks Canada the "role in the April ice dive mission: Examine and document the archaeological site, take measurements and document the wreck with photos and videos, and participate in the retrieval of artifacts, if this takes place."
Federal cabinet minister Tony Clement said that this current mission in the arctic is important,
not just in terms of history but in terms of ownership of the Arctic
The live coverage of divers swimming over and around the ship, showed an relatively intact ship. Her masts are gone because of the ice, and some of the decking was removed by the crew after she sank, the cold water has kept her well preserved.
Bernier told the media that they haven't recovered anything so far this April but he hopes to send remote controlled cameras into the holds of the Erebus to look for artifacts.
Following the Question and Answer Period MP Tony Clement, in attendance at the Media briefing held at the ROM, also answered questions. The number one thing the Treasury Board Chairman was asked? How much is this expedition costing? He didn't give out figures, but said it was too important a mission not to undertake and that it is also a matter of Arctic Sovereignty now that the Northwest Passage is open to shipping.


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